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Philip  Van Beynen

Philip Van Beynen

Philip Van Beynen
Associate Professor


Office: NES 313
Phone: 813/974-3026



Born in New Zealand, my interest in the physical environment grew from the spectacular scenery of that country. I spent time there researching climate change using stalagmites, This was followed by a move to Ontario, Canada, to continue this type of research. I taught at Central Connecticut State University from 2000-2003 before taking my current position at USF.


  • 1994 – 1998 Ph.D. in Geography, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 1992 – 1994 Master of Arts (Geography) First Class Honours, Auckland University, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1989 – 1991 Bachelor of Arts (Geography), Auckland University

Professional Experience

  • 2009-current Associate Professor: Department of Geography/Environmental Science and Policy Program, University of South Florida
  • 2008-2010 Graduate Director: Department of Geography/Environmental Science and Policy Program, University of South Florida
  • 2003-2009 Assistant Professor: Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of South Florida
  • 2000-2003 Assistant Professor: Department of Geography, Central Connecticut State University
  • 1998-2000 Post–Doctoral Fellow, School of Geography and Geology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


My research focuses on different components of karst environments. A major interest of mine is reconstructing paleoclimates using isotopic analyses of calcitic speleothems or sediments found in caves. I have published work done in North and Central America. A different thrust of my research is the construction and application of environmental indices examining both human disturbance and sustainability for the karst landscape.

Graduate Students

Elzbieta Bialkowska-Jelinska, Jackson McGraw, Arsum Pathak, Yasemin Tasci, Ethan Upton

Youzhu Wang

Specialty Area

Karst environments pertaining to paleoclimate change, human disturbance, environmental indices and sustainability

Recent Journal Articles

  • Polk. J.S., van Beynen, P.E., Polyak, V., and Asmerom, Y. (2013), Reconstructing Past Climates using Carbon Isotopes from Fulvic Acids in Cave Sediments. Chemical Geology Vol. 360-361, 1-9.
  • van Beynen, P.E. and Bialkowska-Jelinska, E. (2012), Human disturbance of the Waitomo Catchment, New Zealand. Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 108, 130-40.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Brinkmann, R. and van Beynen, K.M. (2012) Creation of a sustainability index for karst environments. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies vol. 74. No. 2, 221-234.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Niedzielski, M.A., Bialkowska-Jelinska, E., Alsharif, K., Matusick, J. (2011) Comparative Study of Specific Groundwater Vulnerability of a Karst Aquifer in Central Florida. Applied Geography, Vol. 32, No. 2. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog2011.09.005
  • van Beynen, P.E and van Beynen, K.M. (2011) Human disturbance of karst environments. In van Beynen, P.E. (ed) Karst Management. Springer Publishing, Utrecht: pp. 379-398.
  • Harley, G., Polk, J., Reeder, P., and van Beynen, P. (2010) Using a GIS-based inventory for cave management implementation at Withlacoochee State Forest, Florida. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. v. 72, no. 1, p. 35–42.
  • North, L. and van Beynen, P.E. Parise, M. (2009). Interregional comparison of karst disturbance: West-Central Florida and Southeast Italy. Journal of Environmental Management, 90 (5), 1770-1781.
  • Ortega, L.A., Heupel, M.R., van Beynen, P.E. and Motta, P. (2009). Home range, movement patterns, and water quality preferences of juvenile bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) in a Florida nursery. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 84 (4), 361-373.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Soto, L., and Polk, J. (2008) Variable calcite deposition rates as proxy for paleo-precipitation determination as derived from speleothems in Central Florida. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 70 (1).
  • van Beynen. P.E., Soto, L., and Pace-Graczyk, K., (2007). Paleoclimate reconstruction derived from speleothem strontium and ?13C in Central Florida. Quaternary International doi:10.101016/j.quaint.2007.03.019. Available online.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Asmerom, Y., Polyak, V., Soto, L., and Polk, J.S. (2007) Variable intensity of teleconnections during the Late Holocene in Subtropical North America from an isotopic study of speleothem from Florida. Geophysical Research Letters 34, L18703, doi:10.1029/2007GL031046.
  • Polk, J.S., van Beynen, P.E., and Reeder, P.P., (2007). Late Holocene environmental reconstruction using cave sediments from Belize. Quaternary Research 68, 53-63.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Feliciano, N., North, L. and Townsend, K. (2006) Application of a Karst Disturbance Index in Hillsborough County, Florida. Environmental Management 39, 261-277. Published online November 2006, in print Feb 2007.
  • van Beynen, P.E. and Febberollio, P.J. (2006) Stable isotope record of precipitation and cave water for Indian Oven Cave, NY. Hydrological Processes 20, 1793-1803.
  • van Beynen, P.E. and Townsend, K.M. (2005) A Disturbance Index for Karst Environments. Environmental Management 36 (1) 101-116.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Schwarcz, H.P. and Ford, D.C. (2004) Holocene climatic variability recorded in a speleothem from McFail’s Cave, New York. The Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 66 (1), 20-27.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Ford, D.C., Schwarcz, H.P., and Timmins, G.T. (2002) Annual laminae in speleothems: their production and significance. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 39, 279-284.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Bourbonniere, R.A, Ford, D.C., and Schwarcz, H.P. (2001),Causes of colour and fluorescence in speleothems. Chemical Geology 175, 319-341.
  • van Beynen, P.E., Ford, D.C., and Schwarcz, H.P. (2000) Seasonal Variability in Organic Substances in Surface and Cave Waters. Hydrological Processes 14, 1177-1197.