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DeSantis taps UF professor as chief science officer

Florida governor names Thomas Frazer to serve in newly created role

On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas K. Frazer as Florida’s first chief science officer. Joining DeSantis at the announcement were Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein and leadership of Florida’s environmental organizations. (Photo Credit: Governor’s Press Office)
On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas K. Frazer as Florida’s first chief science officer. Joining DeSantis at the announcement were Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein and leadership of Florida’s environmental organizations. (Photo Credit: Governor’s Press Office) (Governor’s Press Office)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With the state facing water-quality and other environmental concerns, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday named a University of Florida faculty member to serve in the newly created role of state chief science officer.

DeSantis selected Thomas K. Frazer, who has worked since 2012 as director of the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

DeSantis in January said he would appoint a chief science officer as he issued a series of proposals aimed at improving water quality. The proposals came after parts of Southwest Florida and Southeast Florida had major problems last year with red tide and toxic algae in waterways.

“As one of Florida’s leading environmental researchers, Dr. Frazer understands the unique water issues facing our state and the actions we must take to solve them,” DeSantis said in a prepared statement Monday.

Frazer’s research at the University of Florida has focused on the effects of nutrient enrichment in aquatic systems, particularly spring-fed rivers and estuaries along Florida’s central Gulf coast, according to his university biography.

In January, DeSantis described the role of the chief science officer as coordinating and prioritizing “scientific data, research, monitoring and analysis needs to ensure alignment with current and emerging environmental concerns most pressing to Floridians.”