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Upper ocean biogeochemistry

Observing complexity coastal ocean
Project Manager/Lead Scientist: John Ryan
Lead Engineer: Hans Thomas

Understanding processes in the coastal ocean is very challenging and very important. People are closely tied to the coastal ocean economically, environmentally, and socially. We impact the ocean environment by our diverse activities of resource extraction, recreation, and dumping. The ocean environment impacts us through diverse processes such as sediment and pollutant transport, anomalous ocean/atmosphere phenomena, harmful algal blooms, and natural variation in fisheries. The array of coastal ocean processes and our interaction with them across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales creates tremendous complexity. We seek to enter that complexity and to extract knowledge that can not only guide environmental decision making, but also lead the ocean science community in the study of oceanic processes across disciplinary boundaries. Advancing this science requires diverse yet integrated methods of environmental sensing and merging of observational and theoretical approaches. 

This work seeks to build upon and advance observational approaches, i.e. platforms, instruments and methods, and to merge the knowledge gained from observational methods with numerical modeling to explore hydrodynamics underlying key processes. The focus of this 3-year effort is on the nature and consequences of two important processes that emerged from the 2000 MOOS Upper-water-column Science Experiment (MUSE): topographically-forced circulation and formation/evolution of physical and biological layers. These processes are central to coastal ecology in Monterey Bay and coastal marine systems around the world. Growth in our understanding of these processes locally is growth in our understanding of coastal ocean processes globally.