Melissa L. Ranhofer Furman University
  • Adjunct Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Adjunct Professor, Undergraduate Evening Studies
  • 864.294.3647
  • Rinker Hall 153
  • melissa.ranhofer@furman.edu
  •  

Dr. Melissa Ranhofer came to Furman in 2009 after finishing her Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. She is trained in the fields of geology, environmental science, and marine science. Her current research involves assessing the threat of invasive/non-indigenous species in Greenville County, phytoplankton ecology, and nutrient cycling in aquatic environments. Dr. Ranhofer is the educational outreach liaison for the EES department and one of the moderators for the department's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/EESDepartment). She is a member of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (A.S.L.O.), the American Geophysical Union (A.G.U.), and the Carolina Geological Society.

Academic Awards

  • 2009 - Center for Teaching Excellence: Preparing Future Faculty Award
  • 2007 - The F. John Vernberg Teaching Assistant Award

Community Outreach - Guest Lectures

  • 2012 “Using Geology in the Field of Marine Science,” Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • 2011 “Rock and Mineral Resources of South Carolina,” Greer Middle School, Greer, SC
  • “Life After the Bubble - A Student's Guide for Applying to Grad School and Jobs,” Furman University, Greenville, SC
  • “The Wonders of Phytoplankton,” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Furman University, Greenville, SC
  • 2010 “The Earth’s Biomes and Resources,” Greer Middle School, Greer, SC
  • “Environmental Hazards & the Geology of South Carolina,” Sterling School, Greenville, SC
  • 2009-10 “The Awesome Power of Phytoplankton,” The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Name Title Description

EES-110

Earth Systems

An introduction to Earth as an evolving, integrated, and cyclic system. Examination of major surficial and internal Earth processes that shape the human environment and control the distribution of geologic resources such as water, fossil fuels, strategic minerals, and soils.

EES-111

Earth and the Silver Screen

Basic concepts of earth and environmental sciences by exploring the portrayal of these concepts in mainstream television and film.

EES-112

Environmental Science

Study of human transformation of Earth as a trade-off for growth of the human enterprise. Topics include changes in population, land cover (agriculture, deforestation, urbanization), climate, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, biodiversity; limits of water, soil, energy and mineral resources; and links between population and consumption patterns.

Professional Publications

  • Ranhofer, M.L., E. Lawrenz, J.L. Pinckney, C.R. Benitez-Nelson and T.L. Richardson. (2009). Utilization of dissolved organic phosphorus by summer phytoplankton communities in Winyah Bay, South Carolina, U. S. A. Estuaries and Coasts 32:943-957.
  • Lawrenz, E., J.L. Pickney, M.L. Ranhofer, H.L. MacIntyre and T.L. Richardson. (2010). Spectral Irradiance and Phytoplankton Community Composition in a Blackwater-Dominated Estuary, Winyah Bay, South Carolina, USA. Estuaries and Coasts 33:1186-1201.

Published Abstracts

  • 2007 “Utilization of Dissolved Organic Phosphorus (DOP) by phytoplankton in Winyah Bay, South Carolina.” Baruch Institute Symposium Abstracts.
  • 2006 “Distribution, Fluxes and Potential Sources of Sinking Particulate Phosphorus in the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela.” ASLO Summer 2006 Meeting Abstracts.
  • 2003 “Characterization of phosphorus in sinking particles in Cariaco Basin, Venezuela." A.G.U. Fall 2003 Abstracts.
  • 2001 “A Comparison of Total Suspended Matter Fluctuations over an Eight-Hour Cruise and Two Thirty-hour Time Series Experiments, Winyah Bay Estuary, South Carolina.” S.E.E.R.S. Spring 2001 Abstracts.
  • “Evidence for Phosphorus Limitation in the Winyah Bay Estuary, Georgetown, South Carolina." S.E.E.R.S. Spring 2001 Abstracts.
  • 2000 “A Study of Surface Sediment Geochemistry and Fluctuations of Total Suspended Matter Over a Thirty-Hour Time Series Experiment, Winyah Bay, South Carolina.” S.E.E.R.S. Fall 2000 Abstracts.
  • “The Study of Water Chemistry to Measure the Effects of Point and Non-Point Pollution in Winyah Bay, South Carolina.” S.E.E.R.S. Fall 2000 Abstracts.
  • “The Geochemical Properties of Surface Sediments in Winyah Bay, South Carolina.” A.G.U. Spring 2000 Abstracts.
  • “ADCP Measurement of Flow Throughout a Tidal Cycle in the Winyah Bay Estuary of South Carolina, USA” A.G.U. Fall 2000 Abstracts.

Presentations

  • “Utilization of Dissolved Organic Phosphorus (DOP) by phytoplankton in Winyah Bay, South Carolina.” 2007, Baruch Institute Symposium, Hobcaw Barony, Georgetown, SC. (Oral Presentation)
  • “Distribution, Fluxes and Potential Sources of Sinking Particulate Phosphorus in the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela.” 2006, ASLO Summer Meeting, Victoria, Canada. (Oral presentation)
  • “Characterization of phosphorus in sinking particles in Cariaco Basin, Venezuela.” 2003 A.G.U. Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA. (Poster Presentation)
  • “Marine Aquatic Research Experience (M.A.R.E.), a student driven research program,” 2001, 2002 University of South Carolina Showcase, Columbia, SC. (Oral Presentation)
  • “Marine Aquatic Research Experience (M.A.R.E.): "Under the Estuary: Connecting the Land and the Ocean"” The South Carolina Academy of Sciences USC Bicentennial Midlands MESA Fall Workshop-Grades 4-8, Columbia, SC. (Oral Presentation)
  • “A Comparison of Total Suspended Matter Fluctuations over an Eight-Hour Cruise and Two Thirty-hour Time Series Experiments, Winyah Bay Estuary, South Carolina.” 2001 Spring S.E.E.R.S. Meeting, Charleston, S.C. (Poster Presentation)
  • “A Study of Surface Sediment Geochemistry and Fluctuations of Total Suspended Matter Over a Thirty-Hour Time Series Experiment, Winyah Bay, South Carolina.” 2000 Fall S.E.E.R.S. Meeting, Tampa, F.L. (Poster Presentation)
  • “The Geochemical Properties of Surface Sediments in Winyah Bay, South Carolina.” 2000 A.G.U. Spring Conference, Washington D.C. (Poster Presentation)

Dr. Ranhofer’s current research is a blend of both laboratory and fieldwork and focuses on the distribution, abundance, and use of the Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, as a bioremediation tool for improving water quality in eutrophic systems by reducing nutrient concentrations and controlling phytoplankton blooms. The addition of excess nutrients to an ecosystem can have devastating effects on water quality, including eutrophication, toxic phytoplankton blooms, shifts in food webs, fish kills, and periods of hypoxia/anoxia. When phytoplankton die, their decomposition reduces dissolved oxygen (DO) availability in the water; in some cases causing hypoxic (DO < 2-3 ppm) or anoxic (DO < 2ppm) conditions. Benthic suspension-feeding bivalves (such as the C. fluminea) act as natural water cleaners by filtering out plankton and other particulate matter from the water. This ability benefits the ecosystem by reducing turbidity, preventing unwanted algal blooms, and sequestering nutrients by burial of nitrogen and phosphorous in the form of biodeposits.

Education
Ph.D.
University of South Carolina, Columbia
M.S.
University of South Carolina, Columbia
B.S.
University of South Carolina, Columbia

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