Global Navigation Links

Welcome to Physical Oceanography at MLML!



 The physical oceanography group at MLML, under the direction of Dr. Erika McPhee-Shaw, focuses primarily on observational studies of dynamics of the coastal ocean and continental margin. Dr. McPhee-Shaw's research specialties include interaction between internal tides and topography, turbulent mixing and boundary layers, sediment and nutrient transport in the coastal environment, and physical forcing of coastal ecosystems. 

(Scroll to the bottom of the page for a full listing of publications)

FOMLML WAVE article: "Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Researchers Install New Water Quality Monitoring Station in Monterey Bay"

National Science Foundation project: Continental Shelf Benthic Exchange Events 

NEWS about our LAB

Dr. McPhee-Shaw was selected as a 2013-2014  Leopold Leadership Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.  See MLML story.

Katie Morrice was awarded a prestigous 2013 California Sea Grant State Fellowship in Marine Policy and Resource Management!  See story.

Ashley Booth recently landed a great job as the Coastal Water Quality Lead for the Environmental Monitoring Division of the City of Los Angeles. Winter 2012-2013.

Dr. McPhee-Shaw was elected chair of the governing council of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) and will serve on the board of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System Association. November 2012.

Diane Wyse was awarded the MLML Drew Gashler internship to work with the MBARI autonomous underwater vehicle group, summer 2012.

Dustin Carroll started a PhD program at the University of Oregon and is working on understanding seawater melting and circulation under Greenland glaciers. 2012.

A new theory about waves and near-coast phytoplankton blooms (pdf). McPhee-Shaw, E. E. Nielsen,K.J.  Largier, J. L. and B. A. Menge, "Nearshore chlorophyll-a events and wave-driven transport"  in Geophysical Research Letters vol 38, L02604. January 2011. 

LISTEN  to MLML's Dr. McPhee-Shaw and Dr. Ferry-Graham wax poetic about  waves, coastal dynamics, fish physiology and local marine issues on KUSP radio! (Santa Cruz NPR, 'Talk of the Bay', 09 January 2008) (an m3u file that will play on itunes and other audio programs)

Congratulations to graduate student Ashley Booth, who won the best graduate student poster award at the SIMON Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Currents Symposium at CSUMB April 18, 2010, for her work entitled: "Naturally occurring coastal hypoxia: A decade of oxygen in the Monterey Bay" authors: A. Booth, E. McPhee-Shaw, M. Denny, R. Phillips, P. Chua, S. Bograd and W. Gilly.

Dr. McPhee-Shaw joins marine scientists and Philippe Costeau in a Discovery Channel special "The Loch Ness Monster Revealed" , providing some fun commentary on geology and evolution, and some specific insights into how boat wakes, internal waves, and winds might cause false sightings that look like a swimming monster. 

Bill Watson, Craig Hunter, Stephanie Flora, Dr. Erika McPhee-Shaw, Dr. Olivia Cheriton

Grad students: Katie Morrice, Tanya Novak, Shandy Buckley, Ashley Booth, Melinda Nakagawa


Shandy Buckley, 2012. The Effect of Wave Variability on Bedform Dimensions Katherine Morrice, 2011. Dynamics of Bottom Boundary Later Thickness in Monterey Bay Canyon
Ashley Booth. 2011. Hypoxic and Low-pH water in the Nearshore Marine Environment of Monterey Bay, California: Characterizing a Decade of Oxygen and pH, and Drivers of Variability Tanya Novak, 2011. Nitrate Transport to Coastal Monterey Bay: Investigating Source Inputs from Elkhorn Slough
Dustin Carroll, 2009. Carmel Bay: Oceanographic Dynamics and Nutrient Delivery in a Small Embayment of the Central California Coast Francois Cazenave, 2008. Internal waves over the Continental Shelf in South Monterey Bay.


Physical Oceanography Temporary File Access








McPhee-Shaw, E., T. Maurer, and K. Johnson. The ocean response to fertilizer nitrate pollution during a “first-flush” runoff event on the Central California Coast. Manuscript in preparation.

Vidal, J., S. MacIntyre, E. McPhee-Shaw, W.J. Shaw, S. Monismith, 2013. Temporal-spatial variabilty of the internal wave field in a lake with complex morphometry. Limnology & Oceangraphy. In-Press.

Kunze, E., C. MacKay, E. McPhee-Shaw, K. Morrice, J. Girton, and S. Terker. 2012. On the efficiency of mixing in bottom boundary layers over sloping topography. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 42, 910-926. DOI:10.1175/JPO-D-11-075.1.

Booth*, J.A.T, E.E. McPhee-Shaw, P. Chua, E. Kingsley, M. Denny, R. Phillips, S. J. Bograd, L. D. Zeidberg, W. F.Gilly, 2012. Natural intrusions of hypoxic, low pH water into nearshore marine environments on the California coast, Continental Shelf Research: vol 45, pp. 108-115. 
*graduate student first author

Cazenave*, F., Y. Zhang, E. McPhee-Shaw, J. Bellingham, and T. Stanton, 2011. High-resolution surveys of internal tidal waves in Monterey Bay, California, using an autonomous underwater vehicle.  Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 9, 2011, 571-581   *graduate student first author

Oliver, J.S.,  K.K Hammerstrom, E. E. McPhee-Shaw, P. N. Slattery, J. M. Oakden, S. L. Kim, S. I. Hartwell, 2011. High species density patterns in macrofaunal invertebrate communities in the marine benthos. (Marine Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2011.00461.x)

McPhee-Shaw, E. E. K. J. Nielsen, J. L. Largier, and B. A. Menge, 2011. Nearshore chlorophyll-a events and wave-driven transport. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, doi:10.1029/2010GL045810. (pdf)

Gough, M., N. Garfield, and E. McPhee-Shaw, 2010. An analysis of HF-radar measured surface currents to determine tidal, wind-forced and seasonal circulation in the Gulf of the Farallones, California, United States.  Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, C04019, doi:10.1029/2009JC005644.

Cudaback, C. and E. McPhee-Shaw. 2009. Diurnal period internal waves near Point Conception, California. Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Sciences, 83, 349-359.

McPhee-Shaw, E.E., D. Siegel, L. Washburn, M. Brzezinski, J. Jones, A. Leydecker, and J. Melack 2007 ‘Mechanisms for nutrient delivery to the inner shelf: observations from the Santa Barbara Channel’ Limnology and Oceanography, 52(5), 1748-1766. (pdf)

McPhee-Shaw, E. E., 2006. ‘Boundary- Interior Interactions: Reviewing the idea that internal-wave mixing enhances lateral dispersion near continental margins.’ Deep-Sea Research II, 53, 42-59.(pdf)

Bassin, C. J., L. Washburn, M. Brzezinski, and E.  McPhee-Shaw, 2005, Sub-mesoscale coastal eddies observed by high frequency radar: a new mechanism for delivering nutrients to kelp forests in the Southern California Bight. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L12604 doi:10.1029/2005GL023017.

McPhee-Shaw, E. E., R.W. Sternberg, B. Mullenbach, and A. S. Ogston, 2004, ‘Observations of intermediate nepheloid layers on the northern California margin.’ Continental Shelf Research. 24, 693-720.

McPhee-Shaw, E. E. and E. Kunze, 2002, ‘Boundary-layer intrusions from a sloping bottom: A mechanism for generating intermediate nepheloid layers.’  Journal of Geophysical Research. 10.1029/2001JC000801. (pdf)

McPhee, E. E., A. R. M. Nowell, and R. W. Sternberg, 1998, ‘Boundary layer measurements and their implications for sediment transport on the Eastern Norwegian Sea Continental Slope.’ Deep-Sea Research I, 45, 719-743.

Manuscripts in revision

Cheriton, O., M. A. McManus, E. McPhee-Shaw, J. Sevadjian, and D. Carroll. 2011, Insights into the hydrography of a coastal embayment from a decade of observational data (in revision)



Contact Info:

Dr. Erika McPhee-Shaw
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

8272 Moss Landing Rd.
Moss Landing, CA 95039
Phone #: 831-771-4470
Fax #: 831-632-4403