Principle Investigators (PIs)

Dr. Craig Smith, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Craig Smith conducting research in AntarcticaCraig Smith is a Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawai’i. He has strong interests in marine biodiversity, disturbance ecology, and the impacts of humans and climate change on marine ecosystems. Craig has conducted research in Antarctica, mangroves, submarine canyons, whale-fall communities, cold seeps, continental slopes, and abyssal plains to obtain a broad perspective of natural and stressed marine ecosystems. To learn more about Dr. Smith’s past and current research, visit his lab webpage at:

Dr. Brian Powell, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Brian PowellPowell‘s research focuses on the predictability of the ocean from days to weeks. His research includes: determining which ocean observations best improve our current state, which observations improve our forecasts, and the ocean dynamics that are controlling the prediction. He applies his research to various regimes around the globe from fine-scale mixing of biogeochemical processes in Antarctic fjords, mesoscale/internal-tide/topography interactions in the Philippine Sea, wind-ocean turbulence in Hawaii, to fine-scale observations that tie to the ENSO climate over the past thousand years. He also leads the efforts of the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System to bring research into operational oceanography and provide daily ocean weather forecasts to the community at-large.

Dr. Mark Merrifield, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

MerrifieldMark Merrifield obtained his Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1989. At the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Mark is the director of the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) and the University of Hawai’i Sea Level Center (UHSLC). His research interests include coastal oceanography, surface and internal waves, and sea level changes. Mark will be working closely with Dr. Peter Winsor on the physical oceanography data obtained from moorings during the FjordEco project as well as with Dr. Brian Powell to incorporate these data into a detailed ecosystem model.

Dr. Peter Winsor, University of Alaska at Fairbanks


Peter Winsor earned his Ph.D. in Oceanography from Göteborg University, Sweden, in 2002. He went on to do his postdoctoral studies at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) where he was hired into the Physical Oceanography department and remained an Assistant and Associate Scientist, and taught within the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. Since 2008, he has been an Associate Professor of Oceanography at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF), leading research programs in the Arctic Ocean, Antarctica, and Greenland.

Dr. Winsor’s research focuses on high-resolution oceanography using novel and state-of-the art technologies such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, High-Frequency Radars and Autonomous Satellite-Tracked drifters. He is also leading efforts for long-term community-based science around Alaska. In his spare time he enjoys backcountry skiing, climbing, fishing and hunting, and fast cars.

Dr. Martin Truffer, University of Alaska at Fairbanks

MartinMartin Truffer is a glaciologist interested in glacial dynamics including subglacial processes, ocean-ice interactions, and glacial flow. Dr. Truffer obtained his Ph.D. from the Unviersity of Alaska at Fairbanks where he is currently a professor of physics. Martin’s research investigates processes in glaciers around the world, from Greenland and Alaska to Antarctica by applying modeling techniques and other geophysical methods to the field of glaciology. Dr. Truffer will be studying the dynamics of tidewater glaciers within Andvord Bay as part of the FjordEco project.

Dr. Maria Vernet, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

MariaMaria Vernet earned her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Washington in 1983 and went on to conduct postdoctoral research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her current research focuses on polar phytoplankton ecology and the affects of climate change on phytoplankton communities including the response of phytoplankton to low light levels and variable nutrient conditions. Maria is also interested in phytoplankton communities associated with the sea-ice edge and free-floating icebergs.

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