UM Rosenstiel School Appoints New Faculty in Ocean Sciences

New faculty members in the Department of Ocean Sciences conduct research in marine microbiology, marine carbon cycling

MIAMI—The University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has announced today the appointment of two new faculty members in the Department of Ocean Sciences, Assistant Professors Hilary Close and Kimberly Popendorf.

Close’s research investigates connections between marine ecosystem function, particle and carbon cycling using a combination of oceanographic sampling and organic and stable isotope geochemistry. Her recent work provided new insight on the potential effects of climate-driven ecological change on marine carbon cycling and was cited for the Raymond L. Lindeman Award by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

“My work exploits a diversity of natural chemical signatures in order to zero in on pathways of microbial degradation, trophic energy flow, and particle dynamics in the ocean.” said Close. “One of our big questions is why and how different types of biomass are degraded, producing CO2, versus sinking to contribute to the ‘biological pump.’"

Close received a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. Prior to joining the UM faculty, she held research positions at the University of Hawaii, University of California, Santa Cruz, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Popendorf is a chemical oceanographer interested in the role of marine microbes in global biogeochemical cycles, with an emphasis on linking the rates of chemical processes with the activity of microbes. She uses geochemical tools to target biochemicals in the environment that are representative of specific microbes and microbial processes.

“I’m interested in quantifying chemical processes in the ocean that are mediated by microbes, particularly understanding the important role that microbes play in the transfer and transformation of nutrients in the ocean and the ways in which these processes control the role of the ocean as a global carbon sink,” said Popendorf.

She received a Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. Prior to joining the UM faculty, Popendorf was a postdoctoral researcher in marine microbiology and biogeochemistry at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

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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:

Assistant Professors Hilary Close and Kimberly Popendorf

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