Leesa Souto

Emeritus Faculty | Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences

Contact Information

Personal Overview

I am dedicated to saving Florida's water quality for all of us to enjoy. My professional career and research interest are focused on solving our water quality problems.  

My area of research applies multi-disciplinary methods and integrative approaches to address coastal management challenges. I use social and environmental sampling methods to integrate humans into the ecosystem and better understand human drivers of estuarine degradation. I am focused on identifying and addressing sources of water pollution, defining ecological health indicators, and accomplishing sustainable coastal planning. Past research has related groundwater and stormwater nutrient pollution to high residential fertilizer use. Current research explores sources of wastewater in groundwater and the potential impact it has on a coastal estuary. I am also the Executive Director of a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the Indian River Lagoon coastal estuary, where we directly apply science to planning and policy.


Educational Background

Ph.D. Conservation Biology from University of Central Florida

Masters in Nonprofit Management from University of Central Florida

B.S. in Biological Sciences and Minor in Interdisciplinary Sciences from Florida State University

Professional Experience

Executive Director of Marine Resources Council, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the Indian River Lagoon coastal estuary.  I have over 20 years of experience protecting Florida's water quality working in state and local government, for-profit industry, nonprofit sector, and academia.  

Additional Duties

Groundwater pollution study and its impact on nutrient loading to Turkey Creek, a coastal tributary.