Mark Rains, director of the University of South Florida’s School of Geosciences, was named Tuesday as Florida’s chief science officer.
Rains’ hiring was announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis during an event in Miami about Everglades restoration.
“His expertise in managing water in the state of Florida is going to be key for us dealing with blue-green algae blooms but also the impact of water flowing across landscapes like we see here in the Everglades,” Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein said.
Rains replaces Thomas Frazer, who has been named dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science.
After taking office in 2019, DeSantis said he would appoint a chief science officer as he issued a series of proposals aimed at improving water quality.
Rains, also a professor of geology, has a master’s degree in ecology and doctorate in hydrogeology from the University of California, Davis.
According to the University of South Florida, Rains’ research is focused on “hydrological connectivity, the role that hydrological connectivity plays in governing ecosystem structure and function, and the role that science plays in informing water-related law, policy, and decision-making.”