Dr. Richard Garvine


Physical Oceanographer Receives 2007 Ketchum Award

Dr. Richard Garvine, a physical oceanographer who has specialized in the circulation of coastal waters and estuaries, has been named the 14th recipient of the Bostwick H. Ketchum Award from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Garvine is the Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies at the University of Delaware, while also holding a joint appointment as a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research has focused on circulation and mixing of waters on the continental shelf, particularly coastal upwelling, river plumes, estuarine circulation, and oceanic fronts.

Together with his graduate students, he discovered and named the Delaware Coastal Current. With his studies off Delaware and off the Connecticut River, Garvine pioneered the study of buoyant coastal plumes—lenses of lighter, fresher water that lay on top of denser, saltier ocean waters. Coastal plumes often support high levels of biological productivity and sometimes harmful algal blooms (also known as “red tides”). These freshwater plumes can also carry oil and pollutant spills to long distances away from their sources.

Garvine has investigated the physics of ocean currents and their relation to forcing by winds, tides, and runoff along the coast. He helped build models of how water masses and heat, salt, buoyancy, and crab and fish larvae are exchanged between estuaries, the continental shelf, and deep water at the shelf-break.

Garvine earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University. After a short stint at General Electric and eight years teaching at the University of Connecticut, Garvine joined the faculty of the University of Delaware in 1977.

He is the author of more than 65 peer-reviewed papers, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and The Oceanography Society.