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Ocean Dynamics & Modeling


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The oceans are a place of constant motion, and the ability to characterize the movement of water in marine ecosystems is an essential part of understanding the functioning and health of these and other Earth systems. In addition to transporting plankton, larvae, sediments, nutrients and pollutants, ocean circulation helps determine climate patterns through storage and transfer of energy and greenhouse gases. The ability to observe and model these changes enables a broad range of descriptive and predictive capabilities.

Ocean dynamics and modeling research at Harbor Branch emphasizes numerical modeling of the key coupled physical, chemical and biological processes and their impacts on marine ecosystem functions and coastal environments. Topics under investigation include:

  • Characterization of the effects of river discharge, tidal exchange and wind on circulation, nutrient transport and ecosystems in the Indian River Lagoon estuary, Meso-American Reef (Honduras, Guatemala, Belize) and Everglades National Park in Florida Bay
  • Upwelling along the eastern continental shelf associated with variations in transport of the Florida Current induced at times by cold fronts in the Straits of Florida and the passage of coastal eddies
  • Circulation, water quality, carbon cycle and plankton dynamics in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay
  • Iron and carbon cycling in the Antarctic Peninsula, Drake Passage and Scotia Sea in the Southern Ocean
  • Island wakes and phytoplankton blooms
  • Identification of environmental indices to explain the variations observed in pink shrimp landings in the Florida Keys
  • Studies of key oceanographic features targeted by top reef fish predators such as groupers and snappers that form spawning aggregations in the Bahamas, Belize (Glover’s Atoll), Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Identification of oceanic corridors between healthy and non-healthy reefs to develop sustainable management beyond political frontiers for preservation or restoration of our reef ecosystemsRemotely operated vehicle

Research Areas

Last Modified 1/31/14