CWI Research

Hot topics in the Subtropics

From harmful algae to hurricanes, CWI researchers are busy studying the environmental issues that hit close to home. 

inland Estuarine coastal Marine

Inland Studies

Inland: Lakes, Rivers, Ponds, Wetlands, & Uplands

  • Community Pond Health (Thomas) & Sediment Dynamics (Fugate, Thomas)
  • Restoration of Aquatic Vegetation in the Caloosahatche (Everham)
  • Frog Monitoring (Everham) and Avian Ecology (Lefevre)

Name Member level  Member bios research and publications Contact Information
Dr. Darren Rumbold Director

Dr. Rumbold's Bio

ResearchGate Contact
Dr. Puspa Adhikari        

Learn more about how our researcher's efforts are making an impact.


Dr. Darren Rumbold, Director CWI

Access Dr. Rumbold's published papers and reports via ResearchGate here.

Dr. Darren Rumbold is Director of the Coastal Watershed Institute and Professor of Marine Science at Florida Gulf Coast University where he teaches courses such as Ecological Risk Assessment and Ecotoxicology. He earned a BS and MS in Biology and BA in Chemistry from Florida Atlantic University and completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). Navigating a twisting path to reach FGCU, he now has more than thirty years of experience in environmental science.

He began his career in 1986 as a government scientist monitoring the impact that construction and operation of a solid-waste incinerator and landfill had on a large wading bird rookery (at times >10,000 birds) that was situated next to the West Palm Beach Water Catchment Area. The site also served as a drought-related habitat and the largest roost in the U.S. for the endangered Everglades Snail kite. Besides monitoring their use of the roost/rookery, he initiated a program to biomonitor mercury, dioxin and other potential contaminants from the incinerator. This would begin a long-running interest in mercury. In 1991, he entered the Ph.D. program at RSMAS investigating pesticides and petroleum hydrocarbons along the Florida Keys. His dissertation examined the possibility of toxic materials concentrating in the sea-surface microlayer (SSML). To accomplish this, he developed bioassays using early-life stages of coral reef species. Ultimately, he documented brevetoxin, the toxin from red tides, concentrating in the microlayer. After earning his Ph.D., he took a position assisting Palm Beach County assessing the impact that beach re-nourishment had on sea turtle nesting. He was then awarded an Environmental Science & Engineering Fellowship with U.S. EPA to work at the National Center for Environmental Assessment in Washington, D.C. assessing nutrient fluxes across the air-sea interface fueling harmful algae blooms and its impact on zooplankton. From 1998-2006, he served as Senior- and, later, Lead Scientist with South Florida Water Management District overseeing a program to learn the influential factors controlling mercury biogeochemistry, fate and effects in the Everglades. He also obtained a grant from NOAA to extend this research into Florida bay. During his tenure, he served as Module lead under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) coordinating efforts of state and federal agencies working on mercury. He also served as Technical lead of the Water Quality Team for the Southwest Florida Feasibility Study.

He joined FGCU in 2006 where he uses this diversity of experiences as a teaching-scholar. He mentors students in taking a landscape-scale approach in assessing impacts of high-volume, freshwater discharges and the transport and fate of nutrients, mercury and other toxicants transported through the coastal watershed. He has been a consultant to the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, Maryland Sea Grant College, Tetra Tech EC, Inc., Camp, Dresser & McKee, Inc. and SFWMD. As principal investigator (PI) or co-PI he has secured over $3.5 million in extramural funding. He has authored or co-authored numerous governmental reports (many of which are published on the web), 29 articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and is now co-editing a book on Florida’s mercury problem.

CWI researchers working on the water

Recent Work

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

Multiple projects are designed to uncover the causes and implications of CFP, the most prolific form of a phycotoxin-borne seafood illness.

Publications and Presentations

  • 2020

  • 2019

  • 2018

  • 2017

  • 2016

  • 2015

  • 2014

  • 2013

  • 2012

  • 2011

  • 2010


Vester Field Station

Located in nearby Bonita Springs, Vester serves as an easy-access point to Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and is an important base of operations for studies of Southwest Florida’s coastal and watershed habitats. 


Students Conducting watershed research

We’re here to answer your questions.

Coastal Watershed Institute
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, Florida 33965

(239) 590-7526