CARICOOS is the American Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System


CARICOOS is committed to the academic and professional development of its students. We thank all those students who have been an essential part of our research projects and we congratulate them for completing their academic degrees and for transitioning from being students to becoming highly valued colleagues.


  • Christian A. Rojas Vázquez

    Christian A. Rojas Vázquez

    He completed his master's degree in Civil Engineering. As a graduate student, he collaborated in the collection of bathymetry, wave, tide, and sediment data. He also assisted in the validation of numerical simulations that help us understand the hydrodynamics of our coasts and their effect on sediment transport. As part of his research he evaluated the Bajo Blanco sand shoal, located just offshore of Rincón beaches, as a possible beach nourishment borrow site for eroding beaches. Currently, he works as a coastal Engineer at SNC Lavalin - Atkins Global.

  • Gabriela Salgado

    Gabriela Salgado

    She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where she completed both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. As a student, as a member of CariCOOS, she studied beach morphology changes at Rincón due to storm surge events using RTK surveying technology and nearshore dynamic numerical modeling (with wave and current coupling).
    Since 2017 she has worked as a research hydraulic engineer at the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) of the US Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) where she has worked with numerical wave models, such as FUNWAVE-TVD, to evaluate cases involving run-up, overtopping, harbor resonance, and ship wakes. Currently, Gabriela is a Phd student at the Coastal Engineering program at the University of Delaware.

  • Omar López

    Omar López

    As an undergraduate student of the Civil Engineering Department, he offered support to CARICOOS in the collection of surf zone drifter’s data, waves and currents modeling, installation of ocean sensors and support in the logistics of installation and maintenance of buoys. In addition, he performed beach profiles and participated in CARICOOS sedimentation surveys and analysis. Omar completed his master’s degree in Ocean Engineering, and is currently a PhD candidate at Stevens Institute of Technology. He currently works as an engineer in the company Waterfront Engineer where he works mainly in the inspection, design and supervision during the construction of structures in front of bodies of water.

  • Edward Cruz-García

    Edward Cruz-García

    Edward completed a bachelor's and master's degree in civil engineering from UPRM. In addition, he has a master's degree in coastal engineering from the University of Pau and Pays de L'adour, Anglet Campus, France – College STEE. Edward has provided support to CARICOOS from the time he was an undergraduate student to the present. While an undergraduate student he worked on a research that analyzed sediment transport on the coast of Rincon after Hurricane María. In this project, topographic and bathymetric measurements and aerial images were analyzed. In addition, he collaborated in the validation of the numerical model (DELFT 3D), which contributed not only to the CARICOOS research projects but also to research projects of other graduate students of the Department of Engineering. He is currently working for CARICOOS in data analysis as well and providing support in the logistics of deployment and recovery of the buoys.

  • Peter Rivera

    Peter Rivera

    While pursuing his bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering, he collaborated in water quality research projects. He helped develop predictive tools that were incorporated into CARICOOS website and assisted with the maintenance of the database for water quality research projects. During his master's degree, he collaborated in the Hurricane Maria Rapid Response project, where topographic and
    bathymetric data were collected in order to analyze the recovery (if any) of the coast of Rincón after the hurricane. In addition, he assisted CARICOOS in the generation of 3D numerical models for currents, waves and sediment transport. These models were used to simulate Hurricane Maria and Winter Storm Riley and to run the water quality simulations in the thesis project of graduate students. Peter Rivera is currently working forthe Information Technology Lab at the US Army Corps of Engineering Research and Development (USACE ERDC ITL), where he develops Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning tools

    • Physical Oceanography

      • André Amador

        André Amador

        While pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering, he collaborated with CARICOOS in the design and development of miniature-instrumented drifters equipped with inertial measurement units to probe the hydrodynamics of breaking waves. He also assisted in calibrating and maintaining HFR stations, as well as near shore water quality climatological products for the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Puerto Rico. André recently completed a PhD in Applied Ocean Science and Mechanical Engineering at UC San Diego and is currently working for the Coastal Observing Research and Development Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. As NOAA UxS CalCOFI project lead, his research focuses on advancing data collection capabilities for unmanned systems to enable new modes of observational research in remote marine environments.

      • Ernesto Rodríguez

        Ernesto Rodríguez

        He completed a master’s degree in Physical Oceanography from University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. As a student and research assistant, he focused on numerical modeling associated with storm surge, tsunamis and waves near the coast for CariCOOS. Currently, he is the Science and Operations Officer at NOAA National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he ensures the scientific integrity of the hydro-meteorological products and services provided to the public by the WFO and leads in joint research projects and developmental efforts. In addition, he oversees the transfer of new technologies from the research community to the operational environment, promoting the development of local forecast techniques. He also monitors and evaluates the accuracy and scientific basis of forecast and warning products and services provided by the WFO

      • Carlos Anselmi

        Carlos Anselmi

        He completed a master’s degree in Physical Oceanography from University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. As a student and research assistant, he oversaw the validation, development and operational implementation of the Simulating Waves Nearshore model (SWAN) that CARICOOS uses for wave forecasting and related impacts for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Currently, he is the Lead Meteorologist at DOC/NOAA/National Weather Service/Weather Forecast Office in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is responsible for analyzing meteorological data from a variety of sources to prepare and issue forecast products, advisories, and warnings concerning a number of hazardous weather conditions, such as severe weather, high winds, flash floods and storms

        • Chemical Oceanography

          • Melissa Meléndez

            Melissa Meléndez

            While pursuing a master’s degree in Chemical Oceanography at the University of Puerto Rico Marine Sciences Department, Melissa provided support in maritime operations for the installation and maintenance of the acidification buoy. In addition, she carried out laboratory analysis, sensor calibration and coordinated activities to disseminate important information on the impact of acidification on marine ecosystems. Melissa completed her PhD in Chemical Oceanography at the University of New Hampshire. She is currently an Affiliate Research Faculty at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

          • Erick M. García Troche

            Erick M. García Troche

            After obtaining a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) and completing a curricular sequence in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Erick accomplished a master’s degree in Chemical Oceanography. As a graduate student he supported CARICOOS in chemical laboratory analysis and maritime operations. He worked with CARICOOS PI's and external researchers in the coordination of several projects about ocean acidification. Upon graduation, besides working as an Auxiliary Researcher at CARICOOS he worked as the Marine Research Program Coordinator at Bluetide Puerto Rico. Currently, Erick combines his scientific background with his experiences working for non-profit organizations in the development of new business projects.

            • Marine Sciences

              • Pedro Matos Llavona

                Pedro Matos Llavona

                While studying his bachelor's degree in Geology at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, he assisted in the validation of High Frequency Radars data (from those located in Cabo Rojo and Ponce) and Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler data. After completing his bachelor’s degree, continuó investigaciones en geología costera, en particular, he studied the deposits of the 1960 tsunami in south-central Chile as part of his master's studies at Central Washington University. As a University of Massachusetts Amherst PhD student, he investigates sedimentation in mangroves in Ceiba, Salinas and Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, as well as sediments transported by Hurricane María to the Caonillas and Dos Bocas reservoirs.

              • Colin Evans

                Colin Evans

                His master’s thesis focused on High Frequency Radar (HFR) wave measurements during Hurricane Matthew comparing it with directional and triaxys wave buoys, as well as with SWAN model outputs in the Mona Passage and southeast coast of Puerto Rico. The purpose of this research was to analyze and understand how the HFR performs in varying sea states during the progression of Hurricane Matthew as it passed south of Puerto Rico. Along with his Master’s research, as a CARICOOS research assistant, he has participated in the IOOS Significant Wave Height (SWH) project which focused on real time HFR wave measurement comparisons compiled in monthly reports for the purpose of determining suitability for operational use. He is currently working as an assistant researcher for the CARICOOS regional association and recently finished a nearshore wave modeling project with the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

              • Haibo Xu

                Haibo Xu

                Haibo Xu is currently a PhD student in the Department of Marine Sciences at UPRM. His research interests are focused mainly on ocean circulation modeling using the FVCOM model. As part of his research, he uses the model to identify mesoscale currents with great precision and therefore contributes to knowledge increase about the hydrodynamic processes of the region of Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. In addition, he conducts validations using field observations, data from Doppler current meters, tide gauges and high frequency (HF) radars. As part of his doctoral studies, he
                developed the Particle Tracking Model (PTM) to monitor particle dispersion, such as fish larvae, which has been very useful for managers parto of the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council. The model evaluates the Marine Protected Areas larval recruitment effectiveness and determines possible sites where these processes can be carried out. On the other hand, as a result of the PTM, sargassum trajectories can be predicted using a combination of numerical modeling, satellite imageries, and surface drifters tracking. This allows for effective management responses, and thus, better mitigation actions.

                • Physics

                  • Luis Daniel Pérez Sequeo

                    Luis Daniel Pérez Sequeo

                    He participated in a research project that aimed to improve wind forecasts in Puerto Rico, using the WRF model. To do this, he ran several simulations of the WRF weather model, making changes in different physical parameters to obtain better wind forecasts in Puerto Rico. In addition, he collaborated in the validation of the wind stations model around Puerto Rico. He also assisted with the development of a domain of the XBeach hydrodynamic model to simulate waves on the coast of Rincón, Puerto Rico. Luis successfully completed his bachelor's degree in Physics and is currently.

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