Robert (Bob) Virnstein grew up in Southern Maryland on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. He earned his B.A. at The Johns Hopkins University and his M.A. at the University of South Florida. He went on to earn his PhD in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in 1976, after which, he relocated to Florida.
His professional career started as a research scientist at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, doing research on invertebrates for ten years. He we went on to form Seagrass Ecosystems Analysts (SEA) and became involved in seagrass mapping.
In 1988, he joined the staff of the St. Johns River Water Management District in Palatka, Florida where is served as an Environmental Scientist for 20 years and was responsible for the development and operation of the District’s seagrass program for the Indian River Lagoon. He also initiated the Indian River Lagoon salt marsh restoration program. Bob “retired” in 2008, but remains involved in research and consulting through SEA. He enjoys conducting “Hobby” science centered on the St. Johns River, ecological economics, and impacts of sea level rise on estuaries. Although Bob considers himself an Estaurine Ecologist professionally, has always been River rat at heart; he has spent much of his time on, if not in, the water. He has always been interested in athletics; competing in official competitions in at least ten sports and still swims competitively.