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Research


Scientists and students at the School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) pursue a range of leading-edge research projects, both independently and in collaboration with some of the most highly regarded oceanographic institutions. 

‌Nearly all full-time students are supported by external research funds, and new assistantships are regularly available. We cultivate a combined emphasis on curiosity-driven and societal need-driven research and learning in an interdisciplinary environment that involves observations, modeling, experimentation, and theory. Research particulars are available on our inventory of SMAST laboratories below, arranged by major research themes.

SMAST investigators pursue cutting-edge research affecting the current and future wellbeing of the environment and humans.

Biochemical Cycling

Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics and Restoration

Computational Modeling

Fisheries Science

Biological Oceanography – Plankton Ecology

The Biological Oceanography & Plankton Ecology group led by Dr. Jefferson Turner is currently working on several projects involving plankton and water quality in coastal habitats, and toxic microalgal blooms commonly known as “red tides.” These projects include long-term monitoring of plankton communities, water quality, and environmental factors in Buzzards Bay, Boston Harbor, and Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays.

Fay Laboratory

Fay Laboratory research focuses on developing interdisciplinary modelling approaches to extend the scope of applications for fisheries and ecosystem assessment methods, and testing the performance of decision support tools for living marine resource management.

Fish Behavior and Conservation Engineering

Fish Behavior and Conservation Engineering in marine capture fisheries works with the fishing industry to develop practical solutions to fisheries problems. Collaboration with industry partners is vital to successful research.

Fisheries Biology and Assessment Lab

The Fisheries Biology and Assessment Lab studies all aspects of fisheries science, ranging from life history of fishes to fishery management strategies, and emphasizes collaborative research with fishermen.

Marine Finfish Dynamics Research Group

The Department of Fisheries Oceanography has a main mission of education and research in the interdisciplinary sciences related to the interactions between marine organisms and marine environments. This covers a wide range of categories including field exploration, laboratory experiments, theoretical research and modeling.

Marine Fisheries Field Research Group

The Marine Fisheries Field Research Group studies the population dynamics of marine fish and invertebrates, including their spatial distribution, abundance, life-history parameters, and habitat. They also study the impacts of harvesting, gear effectiveness, and developing alternative fishing strategies.

Marine Renewable Energy

Ocean Observing/Remote Sensing

Ocean Physics

Coastal Engineering & Fluid Mechanics Lab

The Coastal Engineering & Fluid Mechanics lab led by Dr. Daniel G. MacDonald, Principal Investigator, pursues research in a variety of areas related to coastal physics and engineering. Basic and applied research encompasses the areas of stratified hydrodynamics, turbulence and frontal dynamics—with specific emphasis on estuarine flows, river plumes, and industrial discharges.


Marine Turbulence Laboratory

Principal investigation is quantification of realistic turbulence regimes through the use of the SMAST Turbulence Remote Environmental Measuring Unit (REMUS). Acquired from Hydroid Inc. and retrofitted with a suite of microstructure and finestructure sensors, this Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is capable of a wide variety of missions.

Ocean Mixing and Stirring Group

Research areas of the Ocean Mixing and Stirring Group include vertical and horizontal mixing processes, dye release and Lagrangian drifter studies, numerical modeling of two- and three-dimensional turbulent flows, numerical modeling of physical and biological interactions. The importance of mixing and stirring processes in the ocean range from their influence on climate to their role in distributing nutrients and microscopic organisms that are the base of the oceanic food chain.

Upper Ocean Dynamics

Led by Dr. Amit Tandon, Upper Ocean Dynamics conducts process studies relevant to sub-mesoscale processes in the ocean, working with the Mahadevan lab at WHOI. One of the current major effort involves the Air-Sea Interactions in the Northern Indian Ocean – Regional Initiative (ASIRI Departmental Research Initiative). Another involves Role of mixed layer eddies on phytoplankton productivity in seasonally variable regimes.

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