Measurements of the physical state of the ocean are critical to understanding and predicting the ocean’s myriad impacts on society and its central role in the climate system. Research in our group centers on collecting fine-scale observations over periods of months to years and using those observations to understand the variability and dynamics of the ocean. Most of our work focuses on boundary current systems, where society frequently interacts with the oceans through fisheries, transportation, resource extraction, and recreation. Along boundaries, waters with disparate physical and biogeochemical characteristics are stirred and mixed under the influence of strong and variable currents and atmospheric forcing. We also examine similar processes in equatorial and open ocean regions.
Autonomous underwater gliders are the primary tool that our group uses to collect measurements in the ocean. These buoyancy-driven vehicles sample up and down through the upper kilometer of the ocean while flying along controlled paths. We operate a fleet of Spray gliders (pictured), typically having multiple gliders at sea at any time. In addition to standard sensors to measure temperature and salinity, our gliders usually carry Doppler current profilers to measure ocean currents and various sensors to characterize the biogeochemical characteristics of the ocean.