New Water Institute Faculty Advisory Committee and Chair

New Water Institute Faculty Advisory Committee Members and Chair announced!


We are pleased to announce that Drs. Mike Allen, Bridget Baker, Johanna Engström, David Kaplan and Matt Whiles have been elected to a 3-year term on the Water Institute Faculty Advisory Committee beginning Fall 2023.  We are excited for the diverse expertise they bring to the Committee!

Dr. Tara Sabo-Atwood, a member of the FAC since 2020, will begin her appointment as Chair in Fall 2023. We are grateful for her support and leadership.


Mike Allen

Mike AllenProfessor, Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology and Director, Nature Coast Biological Station

Mike Allen’s research focuses on population dynamics and ecology of fishes. He currently leads a team of researchers from five UF departments, including Water Institute affiliate faculty, to evaluate how land use and climate change will influence estuarine natural resources in the Suwannee River basin. Mike has been a member of the Water Institute FAC over the past three years, serving as chair in 2021-2022.

Bridget BakerResearch Assistant Professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation IFAS 

Bridget Baker is a veterinarian and scientist with over 20 years of experience working on wildlife disease and conservation, animal welfare, and environmental toxicology projects, predominantly in a diverse range of aquatic species and ecosystems, and with particular interest in transdisciplinary research within a One Health context. As a member of the LGBTQ community, she is dedicated to fostering inclusion and accessibility within the classroom, among her advisees and colleagues, and more broadly within the veterinary medical and natural resource professions.

 Johanna Engstrom

Johanna EngströmAssistant Professor, Geography Liberal Arts and Sciences

Johanna Engström is a physical geographer, specializing in the hydroclimate of Southeastern United States with a focus on drought, climate variability and water resources management. She is particularly interested in large-scale atmospheric drivers of climate variability, with applications for water resources management and renewable energies on regional to continental scales.

 David Kaplan

David KaplanAssociate Professor, Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences; Director, H.T. Odum Center for Wetlands; Associate Director, Centre for Coastal Solutions

David Kaplan’s research focuses on linkages among the hydrological cycle, ecosystem processes, and human activities, with the goal of advancing natural resources conservation and management. He has worked extensively with water and environmental management agencies to tie hydrological modeling to ecological outcomes, predict restoration effects, and guide water management. David was a member of the Water Institute FAC in 2019- 2022.

 Matthew Whiles

Matt WhilesProfessor and Chair, Department of Soil, Water, and Ecosystem Sciences IFAS

Matt Whiles’ research focuses on quantifying the roles of animals in freshwater ecosystem function.  He has led numerous large, collaborative projects, including the Tropical Amphibian Declines in Streams (TADS) project examining the ecological consequences of stream-breeding amphibian declines. He has worked closely with government agencies and NGOs on stream and wetland management and restoration and served on numerous panels guiding management of freshwater habitats. Matt has been a member of the Water Institute FAC over the past three years, serving as chair in 2022-2023.


We are thankful for the support provided by outgoing FAC members Drs. Wendy Lin Bartels, Nancy Denslow and Sam Smidt.

The FAC consists of 15 affiliate faculty who advise the Water Institute on the formulation and execution of its programs, plans and policies. Ten members of the FAC are elected by affiliate faculty, and five are appointed by the Water Institute Director in a process designed to promote diversity across discipline, college, campus location, career stage and demographics.


For more information about the FAC including continuing and past members, please click here.

For more information on affiliate faculty, or if you would like to become an affiliate Water Institute faculty member, please click here.

June 7, 2023