Faculty & Staff


Bob Swap

Research Professor · Ph.D. University of Virginia, 1997

Contact Information

My current research continues to be focused on understanding how global change, in its broadest form, helps shape regional environmental systems, especially in the developing world. I want to identify and understand relationships between environmental and human factors that underlie the biogeophysical / biogeochemical processes occurring in developing world ecosystems. Specifically, I study the aerosol & trace gas emissions, transports, and impacts at regional scales. I am also interested in the nexus of environmental sciences and human health issues in the developing world. I am moving in this research direction through collaborations with colleagues in the UVA Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Engineering.

My research and professional activities have led to interactions with governmental entities both in the U.S. and abroad (U.S. DOS, USAID, NSF, NASA; the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research – IAI), NGOs such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Conservation International, IUCN, World Wildlife Fund, Interciencia, the Air Pollution Information Network – Africa (APINA), START and the World Bank.

Teaching: I offer a six credit hour, interdisciplinary summer study abroad course entitled “The People, Culture and Environment of Southern Africa.” The course has an ‘in the field’ approach to demonstrating not only how people and their culture impact the environment in the developing world, but also how the environment influences people and their culture in the emerging world. I offer a January term that I developed with Prof. Michael J. Smith entitled “Ethics, Protocols and Practices of International Research.” This interdisciplinary course is an introductory course for students interested in conducting research / service learning abroad.

Since 2003, I have been actively involved in advising and supervising undergraduate and graduate students interested in conducting research, participating in international service learning projects, and experiencing educational activities in southern Africa and elsewhere. I believe that now, more so than ever, these types of educational experiences have emerged to be an essential component of a comprehensive University education.

Recent Publications

Stephen A. Macko, Thomas A. Szuba, Robert J. Swap, Harold J. Annegarn, Bane Marjanovic, Francisco Vieira and Rui Brito, Real-time interactive environmental teleducation between the United States and southern Africa, South African Journal of Science, 100, 5-8, 2004.

R.J. Swap, J.N. Aranibar, P.R. Dowty, W. Gilhooly, and S.A. Macko, Natural Abundances 13C and 15N in C3 and C4 Vegetation of Southern Africa: Patterns and Implications, The SAFARI 2000 Kalahari Transect Wet Season Campaign of Year 2000 Thematic Issue, Global Change Biology, 10:350-358, 2004.

R. J. Swap, H. J. Annegarn, J. T. Suttles, M. D. King, S. Platnick, J. L. Privette and R. J. Scholes, Africa burning: A thematic analysis of the Southern African Regional Science Initiative-SAFARI 2000 Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, (D13), 8465, doi:10.1029/2003JD003747, 2003.

R.J. Swap, Szuba TA, Garstang M, Annegarn HJ, Marufu L, Piketh SJ, Spatial and temporal assessment of sources contributing to the annual austral spring mid-tropospheric ozone maxima over the tropical South Atlantic, Global Change Biology 9 (3): 336-345, 2003.

R.J. Swap, H.J. Annegarn, and L. Otter, Southern African Regional Science Initiative (Safari 2000) summary of science plan, South African Journal of Science, 98 (3-4): 119-124, 2002

R.J. Swap, Annegarn HJ, Suttles JT, Haywood J, Helmlinger MC, Hely C, Hobbs PV, Holben BN, Ji J, King MD, Landmann T, Maenhaut W, Otter L, Pak B, Piketh SJ, Platnick S, Privette J, Roy D, Thompson AM, Ward D, Yokelson R, The Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000): overview of the dry season field campaign, S. African J. of Science, 98 (3-4): 125-130, 2002.

R.J. Swap, M. Garstang, S.A. Macko, P.D. Tyson, W. Maenhaut, P. Artaxo, P. Kallberg, and R. Talbot, 1996. The Long Range Transport of Southern African Aerosols to the Tropical South Atlantic. Journal of Geophysical Research 101:23,777-23,791.

M. Garstang, P.D. Tyson, R. Swap, M. Edwards, P. Kallberg, and J.A. Lindesay. 1996. Horizontal and Vertical Transport of Air Over Southern Africa. J. of Geophysical Research. 101:23,777-23,791.

R. J. Swap, S. L. Ulanski, M. Cobbett, and M. Garstang. 1996. Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Saharan Dust Outbreaks. Journal of Geophysical Research 101:4205-4220.

R. Swap, M. Garstang, S. Greco, R. Talbot and P. Kallberg. 1992. Saharan Dust in the Amazon Basin. Tellus 44(B):133-149.