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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Faculty and Staff Directory

Björn Kjerfve

Title: Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Department: School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 979-450-1832

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School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment

Bjorn Kjerfve
Professional experiences

Dr. Björn Kjerfve is a coastal physical oceanographer with extensive academic leadership experience in higher education. In 2013, he was elected as a corresponding member to the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. Kjerfve is presently (2023-2025) servings as visiting professor at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niterói, RJ, Brazil. Kjerfve has over the years held several university leadership positions:

•           Chancellor of American University of Sharjah (UAE), 20014-2019
•           President of World Maritime University (Sweden), 2009-2014
•           Dean College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University, 2004-2009
•           Director, Marine Science Program, University of South Carolina, 2000-2004

At the University of South Carolina, Dr. Kjerfve served as Director of the Marine Science Program for four years (2000-2004) and as Professor of Marine and Geological Sciences for 31 years. Dr. Kjerfve taught more than 7,000 students oceanography, environmental science, climate change, and human interactions with the environment; mentored/advised 20-25 undergraduate majors annually; supervised to conclusion 14 Ph.D. dissertations and 24 M.Sc. theses; and employed 79 undergraduate students as research assistants. He taught semester-abroad courses on tropical marine science for 24 years in Belize, Bahamas, Jamaica, and on Isla de Providencia, Colombia, as well as numerous coastal ocean short-courses in Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia, and Sweden.

As a PI or Co-PI on some 90 grants at USC and Texas A&M University, Dr. Kjerfve was awarded more than $20 million in grants to carry out ocean and environmental research in the US and around the world, much of the funding obtained from NSF and other Federal agencies. He has to date published more than 260 publications, including over 130 peer-reviewed journal articles and 60 book chapters, and has edited and authored 13 books. His research includes field research, using SCUBA diving, and small boat operations; numerical modelling of circulation in ocean and coastal areas, enclosed bays, estuaries, and lagoons; and analyses of large data sets. Much of his research is multidisciplinary in nature, including physical, biological, geological, and ecosystem processes.


  • PhD Marine Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
  • MS Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • BA Mathematics, with minor in journalism, Georgia Southern College, Statesboro, GA
Sample publications
  • Marland, F.C., Kjerfve, and Smith, J.S. 2023. Emergent sandy barriers formed Sapelo Island (Georgia, U.S.A.) during Heinrich events and in the Holocene. Journal of Coastal Research 36(6);1068-1081.

  • Campos, E.J.D., Kjerfve, G. Cavalcante, F. Vieira, and M. Abouleish. 2022. Water exchange across the Strait of Hormuz. Effects of tides and rivers runoff. Regional Studies in Marine Science 52. 11 pp.

  • Kjerfve, B., M. McField, D. Thattai, A. Giró. 2021. Coral reef health in the Gulf of Honduras in relation to fluvial runoff, hurricanes, and fishing pressure. Marine Pollution Bulletin 172: 112865.

  • Kjerfve, B., Dias, G. T. M., Filippo, A., Geraldes, M. C. 2021. Oceanographic and environmental characteristics of a coupled coastal bay system: Baía de Ilha Grande-Baía de Sepetiba, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Regional Studies in Marine Science 41:101594.

  • Miranda, L. B., F. P. Andutta, Kjerfve and B. M. Castro Filho. 2017. Fundamentals of Estuarine Physical Oceanography. Ocean Engineering & Oceanography Vol. 8, Springer. ISBN: 978-981-10-3040-6 (Print). 426 pp.

  • Molisani, M. M., Kjerfve, A. P. Silva and L. D. Lacerda. 2006. Water discharge and sediment load to Sepetiba Bay from an anthropogenically altered drainage basin, SE Brazil. Journal of Hydrology 331(3-4): 425-433.

  • Morris, J. T., P. V. Sundareshwar, C. T. Nietch, Kjerfve and D. R. Cahoon. 2002. Response of coastal wetlands to rising sea level. Ecology 83(10): 2869-2877.

  • Heyman, W. D., R. T. Graham, Kjerfve and R. E. Johannes. 2001. Whales sharks, Rhincodon typus, aggregate to feed on fish spawn in Belize. Marine Ecology Progress Series 215: 275-282.

  • Restrepo, J. D. and Kjerfve. 2000. Magdalena River: Interannual variability (1975-1995) and revised water discharge and sediment load estimates. Journal of Hydrology 235: 137-149.

  •  Kjerfve, B. (ed.) 1999. CARICOMP - Caribbean coral reef, seagrass, and mangrove sites. Coastal Regions and Small Islands Papers 3. UNESCO, Paris. 345 pp.

  •  Kjerfve, B., C. H. A. Ribeiro, G. T. M. Dias, A. M. Filippo and V. S. Quaresma. 1997. Oceanographic characteristics of an impacted coastal bay: Baía de Guanabara, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Continental Shelf Research 17(13): 1609-1643.

  • Kjerfve, B. (ed.) 1994. Coastal lagoon processes. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands. (ISBN 0-444-88258-8). 577 pp; 
  • Kjerfve, B. 1990. Manual for investigation of hydrological processes in mangrove ecosystems. UNESCO/UNDP, New Delhi, India. 79 pp.

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