Areas of Study

Following each description is a list of the MIT and WHOI faculty involved with that area of study.

Environmental fluid mechanics

Research on environmental fluid mechanics focuses on oceanic fluid motions and their interaction with waterborne substances. Research programs in this area of study address:

  • Surf zone dynamics
  • Dynamics of estuaries and embayments
  • Air-sea interaction
  • Turbulence
  • Mixing
  • Surface-wave dynamics
  • Sediment transport
  • Transport, interaction, and fate of waterborne nutrients, pollutants, and organisms

The undergraduate departments that feed this area of study include physics, any branch of engineering that involves fluid mechanics, and meteorology.

Faculty: Rafael Bras, Timothy Duda, Steve Elgar, Wayne Geyer, James Ledwell, Dennis McGillicuddy, Chiang Mei, Heidi Nepf, David Ralston, Britt Raubenheimer, Peter Traykovski, John Trowbridge

Ocean acoustics

Research on ocean acoustics addresses the propagation of underwater sound, both as an intrinsically important scientific problem and as a tool for observing and operating in the ocean. Research progams in this area of study address:

  • Propagation and scattering
  • Navigation
  • Seafloor mapping
  • Identification and enumeration of marine organisms
  • Inference of the physical properties of the water column and the sea floor
  • Underwater communication and signal processing

The undergraduate departments that feed this area of study include physics, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.

Faculty: Arthur Baggeroer, Timothy Duda, Kenneth Foote, Andone Lavery, Ying-Tsong LinJames Lynch, Nicholas Makris, Alan Oppenheim, Henrik Schmidt, Timothy Stanton, Peter Traykovski

Vehicles and submarines

Underwater vehicles and submarines facilitate exploration of the ocean and measurement and monitoring of oceanic processes. Vehicles and submarines contribute to investigations of hydrothermal vents, seafloor ridges and trenches, and undersea archaeology, while allowing close-up study of ocean life and processes. Research programs in this area of study include:

  • Autonomous and remotely operated vehicles
  • Towed vehicles
  • Navigation and control

The undergraduate departments that feed this area of study include physics, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.

Faculty: John Leonard, Jerome Milgram, Michael Triantafyllou, Kim Vandiver, Dana Yoerger, Dick Yue

Observing systems and sensors

Research on observing systems and sensors includes both the development of instruments to measure a specific oceanic property or process and the development of arrays of sensors to monitor a region of the ocean or a suite of related processes. Research in this area of study addresses:

  • Seafloor observatories
  • Moored observation systems, sensors and instruments
  • Optical and acoustical imaging systems

The undergraduate departments that feed this area of study include physics, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.

Faculty: Alan Chave