Home : Our Work : Areas of Research : Ocean Sciences
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Phone: (228) 688-4670




The Ocean Sciences Division conducts basic and applied research in description and modeling of biological, physical, and dynamical processes in open ocean, regional, and littoral areas; in exploitation of satellite, airborne, and in situ sensors for environmental characterization; and in investigation and application of microbial processes to Navy problems. The oceanographic research is both theoretical and experimental in nature and is focused on understanding and modeling ocean, coastal, and littoral area hydro/thermodynamics, circulation, waves, ice dynamics, air–sea exchange, optics, and small and microscale processes. Analytical methods and algorithms are developed to provide quantitative retrieval of geophysical parameters of Navy interest from state-of-the-art sensor systems. The Division work includes analysis of biological processes that mediate and control optical properties of the oceans, coastal, and littoral regions, and microbially induced corrosion/metal–microbe interaction. The Division programs are designed to be responsive to and to anticipate Naval needs. Transition of Division products to the DoD, Navy systems developers, operational Navy, and civilian (dual use) programs is a primary goal. The Division’s programs are coordinated and interactive with other NRL programs and activities, ONR’s research programs, and other government agencies involved in oceanographic activities. The Division also collaborates and cooperates with scientists from the academic community and other U.S. and foreign laboratories.


Focus Areas 

  • Ocean Dynamics and Prediction
  • Ocean Data Assimilation
  • Coupled Environmental Models
  • Physical Oceanographic Processes
  • Bio-optical Modeling
  • Ocean Lidar Applications
  • Marine Geology
  • Marine Geophysics
  • Geospational Sciences and Technology
  • Marine Related In Situ and Laboratory Sensors

Major Research Capabilities and Facilities 

  • Towed sensor and advanced microstructure profiler systems for studying upper ocean fine and micro-structure
  • Integrated absorption cavity and optical profiler systems for studying ocean optical characteristics
  • Self-contained bottom-mounted upward-looking acoustic profilers for measuring ocean variability
  • Acoustic Doppler profiler for determining ocean currents while under way
  • Satellite receiving stations for AVHRR, MODIS, DMSP, and JPASS ocean color processing facility
  • Environmental scanning electron microscope, confocal laser scanning microscope, and Inspect S low vacuum scanning electron microscope for detailed studies of biocorrosion in naval materials
  • Slocum Electric Gliders for performing wide-area ocean surveys of temperature, salinity, and optical characteristics
  • Real-time Ocean Observations and Forecast Facility for monitoring and tracking of ocean physical and bio-optical conditions