Marine Geoscientist Joins UM Rosenstiel School Faculty

Professor Sam Purkis’ research focuses on applied sedimentology and marine geology

MIAMI—The University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has announced today Professor Sam Purkis has joined the faculty in the Department of Marine Geosciences. Purkis has worked for more than a decade in the fields of sedimentary geology, marine biology and remote sensing, and his current science portfolio encompasses themes from satellite and aircraft observation, marine acoustics, GIS, carbonate geology and coral reef ecology.

Purkis’ research focuses on fundamental questions about the behavior of carbonate depositional environments and the role that spatial self-organization, the process where coherent spatial patterns emerge through internal interactions, plays in their patterning and architecture. Spatial self-organization is widely observed in natural systems, from ripple and dune formation in aquatic and terrestrial systems, to formation of patterned coral reefs and vegetation in arid regions.

Purkis is also the co-founder and chair of the Chagos Conservation Trust - US, a charitable foundation that along with partners successfully lobbied for declaration of Earth’s largest no-take marine protected area, surrounding the more than 600,000 square kilometers Chagos Archipelago, located in the central Indian Ocean.

He has authored over 85 peer-reviewed publications, is the first author of the book, titled “Remote Sensing and Global Environmental Change,” and has co-authored several other books in his research field. Prior to joining the UM Rosenstiel School, Purkis was a professor at Nova Southeastern University’s National Coral Reef Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for his work on satellite mapping coral reefs.

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About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit:

Professor Sam Purkis

Professor Sam Purkis
Photo: Rupert Hill

faculty •  appointments •  marine geology and geophysics •