Frazer named director of UF/IFAS School of Natural Resources and Environment
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Tom Frazer, a University of Florida professor in aquatic ecology, has been named director of the School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, announced the appointment this week.
“I can’t think of a better scientist to help UF/IFAS position us as a leading institute in environmental studies,” he said. “Dr. Frazer has dedicated his career to researching threats to vital aquatic ecosystems and the resources they provide.”
Frazer has been with UF since 1996 and has been the department’s interim director since July 2012.
The SNRE degree programs focus on ecology, environmental science and sustainability and prepare students for careers in a suite of environmental and natural resource-related fields.
Frazer said he’s come to believe, as do many researchers, that traditional, disciplinary-based science will not be enough to solve current and future problems. It will take “vibrant” interdisciplinary programs to transform the way scientists, decision-makers and citizens understand and use natural resources, he said.
“My primary objective is to promote and foster an academic environment that facilitates and rewards activities embracing interdisciplinary research, education and knowledge transfer,” Frazer said.
Frazer’s research has as its overarching goal a mechanistic understanding of the effects of human-induced impacts on the health and ecological integrity of aquatic systems.
He said he will continue his research work, despite the added administrative responsibilities involved in leading a school with more than 300 affiliated faculty and more than 100 graduate students.
“My interest in this position stems from a concern for resources threatened by a suite of human-induced stressors,” he said. “As a result of these threats, our society faces big challenges with respect to resource allocation, use and sustainability. As a scientist I feel compelled to address these challenges.”
Frazer’s studies have been carried out across the globe and include, for example, understanding the effects of climate change on sea ice dynamics and Antarctic food webs, the effects of invasive lionfish on coral reefs in the Caribbean and the consequences of increased nutrient delivery on Florida’s spring, rivers and estuaries.
He co-chaired the UF Oil Spill Task Force that was formed following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to coordinate faculty research and outreach related to the disaster.
Frazer was named a UF research foundation professor for 2007-2010.
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