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Dr. Armstrong has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Boston University and a master’s and a doctorate in Marine Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM). As a graduate student in the Department of Marine Sciences he pioneered the use of remote sensing technology for studies of the marine environment in Puerto Rico. After finishing his Ph.D. in 1990 he spent four years at NASA’s Ames Research Center as a National Research Council post-doctoral fellow and a Research Associate working with hyperspectral remote sensing. Upon his return to Puerto Rico, with funding from NASA and NOAA, he established the Bi-optical Oceanography laboratory at UPRM (http://bio-optics.uprm.edu). His research is highly interdisciplinary, being mainly concerned with water optics, airborne and satellite remote sensing, coral reef ecology and bio-optics, and the effects of Sahara dust aerosols in the eastern Caribbean.
For the last 12 years he has been the director of the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) at UPRM. This is a collaborative effort with Howard University and other institutions from the United States. With funding from NCAS he established a state-of-the-art instrumented station, AERADNET, at the Magueyes Island Field Station in La Parguera. This facility provides a unique observational platform for aerosol and radiation measurements. One of these instruments, a UV (ultraviolet radiation) radiometer, operational since 1996, has provided continuous monitoring of UV-A and UV-B radiation reaching our local area. This dataset has been used in studies of public health in Puerto Rican populations.
In 2002 he started collaborating with engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to study mesophotic coral reefs, which are present between 30 to 100+ meters deep, using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). He has been appointed as Guest Investigator at WHOI, where he conducts summer research using underwater robotics.
Dr. Armstrong has participated in many oceanographic expeditions including the AEROSE 2004 trans-Atlantic expedition on the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown, the 2007 AGAVE cruise to the Arctic Ocean aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden, a bio-optical sampling campaign aboard an Argentinian ship in the southern ocean, the 2013 E/V Nautilus deep-water exploration cruise around Puerto Rico, and numerous scientific cruises in the Caribbean Sea. He teaches three graduate-level courses in bio-optical oceanography and remote sensing and currently supervises eight graduate students at the Department of Marine Sciences. He has published over 45 papers in scientific journals and has given numerous presentations at national and international science meetings. He is an associate editor of the International Journal of Water and has participated in proposal panel reviews for NASA and the Consortium of Ocean Leadership. Dr. Armstrong has received several awards and distinctions from NASA, NOAA, and the Office of the President of the University of Puerto Rico.
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