Research

Our computational research (data analysis, remote sensing, and numerical modeling)  tackles a wide range of interdisciplinary ocean and environmental science questions at the intersection of physics, chemistry, biology, and people. A particular focus is on natural and human-driven climate change and environmental impacts. The research spans from the open-ocean to the coasts and adjoining watersheds and from the shores of New England and the Virginia Eastern Shore to the Antarctic and Arctic (for details on specific projects download a pdf current_projects_doney_2018_10).

UVA Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) https://eri.virginia.edu/
The UVA Environmental Resilience Institute is a new pan-university effort bringing together folks from natural and social science, engineering, architecture, and humanities to solve some of the toughest environmental problems. Our group focus within the ERI is primarily on coastal and climate resilience. 

Virginia Coastal Reserve (VCR) LTER https://www.vcrlter.virginia.edu/home2/
The Virginia Coastal LTER program is based on the VA Eastern Shore and led by UVA Environmental Science faculty with collaborators across the region. We are spinning-up a research program on water-column modeling, data synthesis, satellite and drone remote sensing, and field measurements (e.g., nutrient dynamics; oxygen; inorganic carbon system and acidification; ocean color, plankton, and water clarity). 

Arctic biogeochemistry and carbon cycle
Our group is collaborating with scientists at the U. Alaska, Fairbanks on numerical models of the Gulf of Alaska and Arctic, focusing on how the regional ocean carbon system is impacted by changing climate, reduced sea-ice, altered freshwater input from land, and rising atmospheric CO2. 

Palmer, Antarctic LTER (Long Term Ecological Research): http://pal.lternet.edu
The Palmer LTER program explores the ecological impacts of changing climate and sea-ice along the Antarctic Peninsula. The program has generated a rich marine ecological and biogeochemical dataset from plankton to penguins and whales over more than two decades, with ship-based data and more recently mooring and robotic glider data and satellite remote sensing. Our group leads an active research component leveraging food-web, biogeochemical, and regional ocean-ice biophysical synthesis, modeling and remote sensing to address the program’s overarching science questions. 

North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) https://naames.larc.nasa.gov/ 
Our group leads the marine ecosystem and biogeochemical modeling component of NASA funded NAAMES project, which aims to better understand the controls on ocean ecosystem dynamics over the annual cycle as well as ecosystem controls on biogenic aerosols in the marine troposphere. NAAMES recently completed four field campaigns combining ship-based and airborne sampling. Our group is involved in a number efforts focused on: 1) using NAAMES data to evaluate existing regional and global models, and 2) integrating field data, remote sensing, and numerical simulations to constrain plankton bloom dynamics.

Linking marine fisheries and ecosystems
We are collaborating with folks in the UVA economics department to characterize the impact of marine fisheries on large-scale ecosystems. This is a “big-data” project combining ship-transponder data (fishing locations, intensity) with satellite ocean color. This work opens up many avenues for future study on coupled human-natural systems for the marine environment.

Bermuda ocean time-series and bio-physical gliders http://bats.bios.edu/
http://magic.bios.edu/
UVA is developing a new collaboration with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), and one set of projects involves working with BIOS scientists on analyzing and modeling their rich ocean time-series and biophysical glider data sets. 

Ocean transient tracers
We are finishing up an NSF project analyzing historical data and developing model simulations on tritium and helium isotopes (measures of ocean ventilation and circulation pathways) to better understand nutrient and oxygen dynamics. There is lots more to do on this project involving both the analysis of a new global data compilation and model simulations.

Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) http://www.marinebon.org/
http://www.marinebon.org/sanctuary-bon.html 
We are part of a large, multi-institutional effort trying to dramatically change how we observe the ocean and then use the wealth of new data to inform marine resource management and conservation. 

Ocean Acidification
We have a long-term interest in many aspects of ocean acidification from biogeochemistry and microbes to fisheries and socio-economics. One example is modeling studies of the US Northeast scallop fishery that link together water chemistry, scallop population dynamics, fishery operations, and physical and socio-economic drivers (e.g. climate change and acidification; human population and seafood demand; fuel prices).

 Coastal Climate Change, Water Quality & Ocean Acidification
http://www.whoi.edu/sites/coastal_climate_change_solutions 
We are just completing a project working on Buzzards Bay, MA with a NGO-based citizen scientist program. The field component of the project has wrapped up but there are still considerable opportunities for data analysis and modeling of water quality and its impacts (e.g., nutrient eutrophication, hypoxia, ocean acidification, water clarity, recreational shell-fishing and aquaculture). Recent projects include regional ocean warming, remote sensing of water clarity, drivers of shell-fishing trends, and acidification from sewage discharge.

Ocean Carbon Observatory (OCO-2)
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/oco2/index.html 
We have funded projects to analyze and model data from the NASA OCO-2 satellite, which measures the atmosphere column carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. The objective of the OCO-2 mission is to improve estimates of CO2 sources and sinks to the atmosphere including fossil fuel emissions and exchange with the land and ocean.

Community Earth System Model (CESM) http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/ 
We have a long-standing involvement with the earth system modeling and the ocean and biogeochemistry components of the CESM. Research opportunities span from development and testing of new model parameterizations (e.g. marine ecosystem plankton dynamics; zooplankton migration; etc.) to analysis of the existing model simulations.

Regional carbon removal approaches (negative carbon technologies)
We are part of a collaboration at UVA with folks in engineering and policy/economics to explore the potential impacts of carbon removal approaches (e.g., bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration) for the Mid-Atlantic region. The work involves combining natural and social sciences utilizing as a framework an integrated assessment model of energy, agriculture, and water systems.