FIU establishes Barley Professorship in Everglades Research

Rudolf Jaffé, environmental chemist at FIU, has been named the first George Barley Professor in Everglades Research.

FIU recently established the professorship to recognize an educator within the College of Arts & Sciences dedicated to research that focuses on the preservation of America’s Everglades.

Jaffé is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and holds a joint appointment with FIU’s Southeast Environmental Research Center (SERC), which focuses on research for the greater Everglades ecosystem. From 2002 until 2009, he served as director of SERC and, prior to that, served as associate director.

Since his arrival at FIU in 1992, Jaffé has mentored 27 graduate students, many undergraduates and several post-doctoral students. His research funding as principal investigator and co-principal investigator exceeds $14 million and includes the National Science Foundation-funded Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research program. In 2006, Jaffé received the FIU Research Award for his efforts.

“This professorship is about Florida’s commitment to preserving and restoring one of the most unique ecosystems in the world,” said Kenneth G. Furton, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “During his career, Dr. Jaffé has made significant contributions to FIU through his research and service. And he has always done so with a strong commitment to the Everglades.”

The professorship is named in honor of George Barley, a Florida real estate developer and ardent environmentalist who co-founded the Everglades Foundation in 1993. Barley dedicated nearly two decades of his life to environmental causes, and largely focused his efforts on Florida Bay and Everglades’ preservation and restoration. He died in 1995 at the age of 61 in a plane crash while en route to a meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss Everglades restoration.

“Everglades scientific research is making an impact as scores of restoration projects break ground and findings from ongoing studies are put to use in determining best practices,” said Kirk Fordham, CEO, Everglades Foundation. “It’s admirable to see that George Barley’s legacy will be continued through Dr. Jaffé’s work and that his contributions will allow the River of Grass to be saved for future generations.”

A contribution by the Everglades Foundation provided the initial funding for the endowment, which also is supported by funding from a variety of other sources. The Everglades Foundation has been a long-standing supporter of SERC through grants that further its research in the Everglades.

Jaffé graduated from Indiana University with post-doctoral experience in organic geochemistry from the Universite Louis Pasteur, France, and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles in fields ranging from organic geochemistry, biogeochemistry, marine chemistry and environmental/analytical chemistry.  Of these, more than 40 percent are related to the greater Everglades ecosystem. Jaffé’s research is nationally and internationally recognized in the area of organic geochemistry of wetlands, estuaries and aquatic ecosystems in general.

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