We begin with physical models of the dynamics of the coastal ocean and atmosphere. Then we collect data from a diverse array of sources — moored underwater instruments, ships, and satellites — and compare it to our predictions. The extent to which our models agree, or disagree, with empirical data helps us better understand the health of the coastal ocean. Some specific areas of interest are:

  • Water circulation on continental shelves
  • The effect of turbulence and radiation on heat exchange between the ocean and atmosphere
  • Buoyant coastal currents
  • Coastal-trapped waves
  • Wind-driven upwelling and relaxation
  • The effect of synoptic (large-scale) weather systems on coastlines

We are also interested in how these processes affect coastal ecosystems. How do they contribute to larval transport, nutrient transport, and carbon uptake? How do they interact with coral reefs, kelp forests, and salt marshes? Our job is to answer these questions.