OC - Research Thrusts


Research Thrusts


  1. Coastal Ocean Monitoring using Autonomous and Remote Sensing Instruments
  2. Ocean Acoustics
    • Coordinated Arctic Acoustic Thermometry Experiment (CAATEx, FY20-21)
    • New England Seamounts Coherent Acoustics Fluctuation Experiment (NESCAFE, FY22-24)
  3. Expeditionary and Mine Warfare Applications in the Littoral Zone
  4. Observations and Predictions of Arctic Change
  5. Numerical Modeling
OC - CLASI Experiment

Coastal Land-Air-Sea Interaction Experiment (CLASI)

The CLASI Defense Research Initiative primary objective is to improve the modeling of evaporation ducts through extensive measurements of wind, momentum and heat flux variability as it cross the shoreline.  This will allow for "coast aware" improvements to numerical weather prediction models.  Field experiments are scheduled in FY21-22 throughout the Monterey Bay region, and will be followed by the Florida Gulf Coast (FY23).

CLASI is a joint experiment with investigators from the Naval Postgraduate School, University of Miami, Ohio State University, University of Minnesota, and the Naval Research Laboratory, and funded by the Office of Naval Research.

Contact: Jamie MacMahan


Rocky Shores Experiments and Simulations (ROXSI)



The ROXSI is a multi-university research initiative focused on the littoral ocean dynamics along rocky shores, from the coastline out to ~1km offshore.  Limited measurements of the wave transformation and resulting wave-driven circulation patterns that occur along the extreme rough bottom and shorelines, and these experiments will provide new observations to modify oceanographic models for rocky coasts.  Local field experiments are scheduled for 2022, oceanside of the Monterey Peninsula, and 2023 along the northern coastline of Big Sur.

ROXSI is a joint experiment with investigators from the Naval Postgraduate School, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD), Oregon State University, University of Delaware, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Stanford University / Hopkins Marine Station.   ROXSI is funded by the Office of Naval Research.

Contact: Prof. Jamie MacMahan for potential thesis opportunities.

OC - MarineMammalMonitoring

Environmental Soundscape Monitoring

Three  hydrophones are deployed in different regions of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  These long term underwater recordings will provide baseline data on the acoustic soundscape: vessel noise, marine mammal vocalizations, geologic events (earthquakes, sediment slumps), wind, waves, and weather.

Thesis topics available.  Contact John Joseph

Map showing monitoring locations near Monterey Bay

OC - Research - Coastal Morphodynamics

Coastal Morphodynamics

Carmel River Beach breach event animation

Connections between land and the coastal ocean are complicated by changes in morphology near river mouths.  These systems pose challenges to characterizing the coastal ocean environment (sediment concentrations, salinity, temperature, etc) as well as characterizing the coastal morphological response (coastal flooding, beach hazards, beach breaching, etc.).  We monitor intermittently breaching systems using remote sensing and in-situ methods including structure-from-motion (SfM), multispectral aerial imagery, circulation (water level and velocity), and water quality (temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen).  Waves and river discharge play a critical role in modulating outputs from these systems. 
Thesis opportunities in this lab include UAS (drone) imagery analysis, machine learning with multispectral images, lab experiments on submerged granular flow, mapping of plume/surfzone dynamics, to name a few.  Other opportunities could include morphodynamic modeling of these systems.

Contact: Mara Orescanin


OC - Research - New England Seamount

New England Seamounts Coherent Acoustic Fluctuations Experiment (NESCAFE)


Atlantis II Seamounts map image.  Data courtesy of NGDC Undersea Feasture Names Gazetteer

Located in the dynamic currents of the Gulf Stream, Southeast of Georges Bank, the New England Seamounts provide a challenging environment for studying acoustic variability, signal detection, localization and tracking in a high turbidity region with complex topography.

Beginning March 2022, two exploratory environmental moorings will be deployed at the Atlantis II seamounts to begin characterizing the ocean environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, currents vs. depth & time), ahead of the 2023 pilot experiment and larger 2024 main experiment efforts.

Funded by the Office of Naval Research, part of the Task Force Ocean, Department Research Initiative.   Contact: John Colosi