Claudia Benitez-Nelson


Claudia Benitez-Nelson is an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and Carolina Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair in Marine Studies at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus and carbon and how these elements are influenced by both natural and anthropogenic processes. She is a diverse scientist, with expertise ranging from radiochemistry to harmful algal bloom toxins and is highly regarded for her cross-disciplinary research. Over the past 2 decades, Dr. Benitez-Nelson has authored or coauthored more than 120 articles. She has been continuously supported by substantial, multiyear research and education grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, among others. Her many research honors include the Ocean Sciences Early Career Award from AGU and Fulbright and Marie Curie Fellowships. In 2015 she was named an AAAS Fellow, and in 2017 she was named an ASLO Sustaining Fellow. Dr. Benitez-Nelson is also highly regarded as a teacher and mentor, having received the National Faculty of the Year Award from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the University of South Carolina’s Distinguished Professor of the Year Award, SEC Faculty Achievement Award, and Outstanding Faculty Advisor of the Year. In 2014, she received the Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring from the Biogeosciences section of AGU. Dr. Benitez-Nelson is regularly called upon by national and international scientific and policy agencies for her expertise and currently serves or has served as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Geoscience Directorate of NSF, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Ocean Studies Board.


  • 2017 Sustaining Fellow, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
  • 2015 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow
  • 2014 Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring, Biogeosciences section, AGU


University of South Carolina


Columbia, S.C.