Field of Focus
  • Climate Dynamics
  • Global Atmospheric Research
  • Natural and Man-Made Hazard Mitigation
  • Stratigraphy and Paleontology
  • Surficial Processes
  • Ecological Indicators
  • Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Invasive Species
  • Pollution
  • Public Health
  • Microbiology
  • Biological Oceanography
  • Marine Geology and Geophysics
Area of Expertise
Effects of African Dust on Down Wind Ecosystems including Caribbean Coral Reefs; Environmental Effects of Offshore Drilling; The Bimini Road; Geology and Sedimentology in the Persian Gulf; Tidal Flats; Limestone Compaction; Marine Burrowing Organisms
  • B.S. Zoology, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA, 1957
  • Ph.D. Earth Science, University of South Florida, FL, USA, 1998

Dr. Shinn recently retired from his position as a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Center for Coastal Geology in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently he is a Courtesy Professor at the University of South Florida, College of Marine Sciences. After obtaining his degree, Shinn spent a year at the University of Miami's Marine Laboratory. In 1958, he began working for Shell Oil Company as a research geologist. During his 15 year career with Shell he worked in Florida and the Bahamas, the Persian Gulf and Holland. He finished that career at Shell Headquarters in Houston, TX in the environmental affairs department. Gene joined USGS in 1974 and started the USGS Fisher Island Station off Miami, which he directed for 15 years. He and associates did extensive geological research on living coral reefs, carbonate sediment production,

Pleistocene geology and environmental effects of offshore petroleum drilling. In the early 1990s he installed over 100 groundwater monitoring wells in the Florida Keys, the reef tract and in Florida Bay, where he conducted dye tracer experiments to determine flow rate and flow direction of saline groundwater. His work highlighted the problems of sewage disposal in the porous limestone that underlies the Florida Keys. He recently published a study documenting the 500 year absence of the staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis about 4,500 years ago. His earlier studies showed that middle Keys reefs suffered from outpouring of Florida Bay water through large tidal passes created by rising sea level about 3,000 years ago. His specialty at present is the study of the effects of African dust on downwind ecosystems, including Caribbean coral reefs. He also studies the general health of coral reefs throughout the Caribbean and has photographically monitored two coral reef sites in the Florida Keys for the past 50 years. He has authored about 200 peer-reviewed publications and recent studies with the USGS include: Determination of Groundwater-Flow Direction and Rate Beneath Florida Bay, the Florida Keys and Reef Tract; and, Groundwater Seepage in the Florida Keys. He has also published 3 articles debunking the existence of Atlantis in the Bahamas. Shinn is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Global Climate Committee and serves on the Minerals Management Service Science Advisory Committee. In 2009 Gene received the Twenhofel Medal, the highest award given by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) for research on sedimentary processes.