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Dr. James J. O'Brien, the Robert O. Lawton Professor of Meteorology and Oceanography, founded COAPS. He is internationally known for mentoring young scientists and under his guidance 42 students have completed their Ph. D. degree and over 80 students have completed their M.S. degree. He also has supervised more than 25 post-doctoral assistants. Dr. O'Brien's early emphasis was in ocean modeling which led to new breakthroughs in understanding coastal upwelling, El Niño, La Niña, and hurricane effects on the ocean. His most recent research interest is on the impact of climate variability on our everyday life. Dr. O'Brien retired in December 2006 and Dr. Eric Chassignet, from the University of Miami, is now the new COAPS director.