Environmental Fluid Mechanics / Physical Oceanography

Our group studies physical processes (fluid dynamics) that occur at scales of centimeters to kilometers in estuaries and the coastal ocean. These processes are important for transporting materials like pollutants, nutrients, larvae, and sediment. They determine rates of nutrient delivery to sessile organisms, affect larval settlement, and exert forces on organisms on the benthos and in the water column. Understanding physical processes at these scales is therefore critical to understanding the functioning of marine ecosystems and the impact of human activities on these systems. We use a combination of field measurements, numerical modeling, and theory to understand and predict these processes.

Current projects include:

  • Relating topographic complexity and circulation patterns on coral reefs from colony scale to reef scale.
  • Using computer simulations to develop methods for measuring turbulence beneath waves.
  • Understanding wind-driven transport and mixing in estuaries with very small tides.
  • Understanding how physical processes affect oyster reef growth using coupled physical-biological models.