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2013 Water Institute Faculty Fellow Dr. Rafael Muñoz-Carpena Completes Term ,

As a hydrologic modeler, Dr. Rafael Muñoz-Carpena concentrates on the intricacies of complex water systems. His work focuses on integrating water into larger studies by looking at its natural and human components, such as quantity and quality pollution.

His work has direct national and international implications. Muñoz-Carpena has worked on many of the world’s wetlands of importance recognized by the Ramsar convention including Everglades National Park and the Okavango Delta in South Africa. In Europe, his research is assessing the effectiveness of vegetation buffers towards the long-term effects of pesticides towards reducing the impacts of pesticides on water bodies. After the conclusion of his three year term in the inaugural class of the University of Florida’s Water Institute Faculty Fellows, his research will refocus on the Tempisque River watershed in Costa Rica.

Muñoz-Carpena is one of the faculty members of the 2017 Water Institute Graduate Fellows program. The goal of the 2017 WIGF cohort research is to understand how to induce resilience of water-subsidized human and natural systems. This will be done through a comprehensive systems analysis of interbasin water transfer into the Tempisque River watershed.

“We have a paradox,” said Muñoz-Carpena about the 2017 WIGF program research. “Water plays many roles for many people and institutions. Everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing and doing it well, but because the water cascades through the system from the top-down the impacts of the usage degrade particular parts of the ecosystems.”

One of the most pivotal aspects of the Water Institute, the ability to network across-campus, is highlighted through the WIGF program.

“An engineer working with a lawyer is probably a stretch, but it also very exciting because many of the interactions we are finding are related to humans,” said Muñoz-Carpena.

Aside from being involved in the 2017 WIGF program, Muñoz-Carpena looks forward to his future involvement with the Water Institute as chair of the 2017 USGS Unsaturated Zone Interest Group Workshop and engagement with the Distinguished Scholars Program. Overall, Muñoz-Carpena’s time as a Water Institute Faculty Fellow has allowed him to use his position as a platform to advance the Water Institute’s mission.

“Being named a Water Institute Faculty Fellow has been a real honor,” said Muñoz-Carpena. “As much as I have been able to, I’ve tried to promote the Institute’s goals of multi-disciplinary collaboration and developing relationships.”