Joseph S. Ramus

Joseph S. Ramus

Professor Emeritus

The theme of my research is the ecological response of a large estuary, the Pamlico Sound system, to watershed scale natural and anthropogenic perturbations. The information will be used in predictive modeling to guide policy and management actions, e.g., river basin nutrient management plans. A specific program, initiated in 2000 with Hans Paerl (UNC-CH-IMS), is FerryMon. This is time and space intensive measurement of water quality parameters, and is designed to fast track status and trends analysis for the Sound. It utilizes fully automated sonde and grab sampler systems aboard NC DOT ferries which ply the Pamlico Sound and its tributary rivers. A high priority is the coupling of the FerryMon program to coastal remote sensing (IR, VIS and LIDAR). FerryMon data are an ideal calibration tool for remote sensors, the latter offering 2-D coverage of the Pamlico Sound system. FerryMon is sufficiently time intensive to coincide with remote sensor flyovers without scheduling logistics, and therefore is the ideal complement to remote sensing programs.


Paerl, Hans W., Karen L. Rossignol, Rodney Guajardo, Nathan S. Hall, Alan R. Joyner, Benjamin L. Peierls, and Joseph S. Ramus. “FenyMon: ferry-based monitoring and assessment of human and climatically driven environmental change in the Albemarle-Pamlico sound system..” Environmental Science & Technology 43, no. 20 (October 2009): 7609–13.
Lin, J., L. Xie, L. J. Pietrafesa, J. S. Ramus, and H. W. Paerl. “Water quality gradients across Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system: Seasonal variations and model applications.” Journal of Coastal Research 23, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 213–29.
Paerl, H. W., L. M. Valdes, A. R. Joyner, B. L. Peierls, M. F. Piehler, S. R. Riggs, R. R. Christian, et al. “Ecological response to hurricane events in the Pamlico Sound system, North Carolina, and implications for assessment and management in a regime of increased frequency.” Estuaries and Coasts 29, no. 6 A (December 1, 2006): 1033–45.
Buzzelli, C. P., J. Ramus, and H. W. Paerl. “Ferry-based monitoring of surface water quality in North Carolina estuaries.” Estuaries 26, no. 4 A (2003): 975–84.
Ramus, J., L. A. Eby, C. M. McClellan, and L. B. Crowder. “Phytoplankton Forcing by a Record Freshwater Discharge Event into a Large Lagoonal Estuary.” Estuaries 26, no. 5 (2003): 1344–52.

Recent Grants

Contact Information

135 Duke Marine Lab Rd
Beaufort, NC 28516


Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley (1968)
B.A., University of California at Berkeley (1963)