Combining Theory, Models, and Observations
Oceanography Across Disciplines
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I study the physics of the ocean, trying to understand the mechanisms that link water motion and life within it. These are my main research topics.

Ocean Physics

Man's interface with the ocean begins at the coast. Just from the open coastline to the shelf break, the ocean conjures up a myriad of processes with complex interactions. Oceanic motion mediates all these interactions at several scales: from surface waves to the network of currents of global circulation, from seasonal to decadal and beyond. These motions are important because ocean velocity and turbulence determine the transport, evolution, and fate of living particles and chemically active particles in the marine environment. These motions are important to understand how the physical, biological, and chemical state of the oceans might be changing as part of a changing Earth's climate or vice versa. One of my main goals is to understand what controls the structure and variability of ocean currents on scales of thousand of kilometers down to the swirls that mix waters on scales of millimeters.

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Interface between Ocean Physics and Biology

Physical motion is fundamental to understand the transport, evolution, and fate of organisms in the ocean. To study these nonlinear physical-biological interactions I use real observations and models that take into consideration the suspension, growth, death, transformation, behavior, and reproduction of thousands of organisms. One of my main goals and fascinations is to understand how turbulent eddies modulate the structure and function of marine ecosystems on scales less than 100 meters, where turbulence becomes three-dimensional and energy is dissipated as heat.

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Interface between Ocean Physics and Chemistry

Physical motion is fundamental to understand the transport, evolution, and fate of chemically active substances in the ocean. To study these nonlinear physical-chemical interactions I use real observations and models that take into consideration the composition, motion, and weathering of water parcels that represent discrete quantities of chemical droplets. One of my main goals is to improve the tracking of underwater oil plumes and surface microplastics, which will allow response teams to be better prepared for mitigation of pollution and restoration of marine ecosystems.

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I am an assistant professor in the The City University of New York, Department of Engineering and Physics at CUNY College of Staten Island and Doctoral Program in Earth and Environmental Sciences at CUNY Graduate Center. These are the courses I am currently teaching.

ESC 805 Physical Oceanography

This course applies the laws of physics to the study of the properties and circulation of the World's Oceans. The following fundamental concepts in the dynamics of rotating stratified flows are examined: physical properties of seawater, forcings of the ocean, conservation equations, equations of motion, scaling, Ekman layers and spiral, potential vorticity, f and beta plane approximations, Rossby waves, baroclinic and barotropic instabilities, wind generated waves and internal waves.

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ESC 110 Meteorology and Climatology

This course applies the laws of physics to the study of the properties and circulation of the World's Atmosphere. The following fundamental concepts in the dynamics of rotating stratified flows are examined: the Earth's atmosphere, warming the Earth, air temperature, condensation and clouds, air pressure and winds, air masses, fronts, and mid-latitude cyclones, hurricanes, weather forecasting, global climate, climate change, and air pollution.

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GEO 111 Geologic Hazards and Natural Disasters

This course is an introduction to geologic hazards, their causes, and the natural disasters that result. The following fundamental concepts of Earth's surface processes are examined: streams and flooding, shaping the coastlines, slope failure and soil movement, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes.

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Publish or perish. Get visible or vanish.

In Progress / Submitted

  1. Lindo-Atichati, D., J. F. Walter, M. Karnauskas, D. J. McGillicuddy, J. C. McWilliams, and J. Gula, 2017: Submesoscale eddies control fish productivity in the Florida Current System.

In Press / Published

  1. Bergueiro, J. R., D. Lindo, S. Moreno, J. M. Calvilla, J. Gómez, and J. González, 2010: Study of the Geographical Boundaries for the Free Use of Dispersants. Journal of Maritime Research, 7, 41–54. | PDF
  2. Lindo-Atichati, D., F. Bringas, G. Goni, B. Muhling, F. E. Muller-Karger, and S. Habtes, 2012: Varying mesoscale structures influence larval fish distribution in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 463, 245–257, doi:10.3354/meps09860. | PDFonline
  3. Lindo-Atichati, D., F. Bringas, and G. Goni, 2013: Loop Current excursions and ring detachments during 1993–2009. International journal of remote sensing, 34, 5042–5053, doi:10.1080/01431161.2013.787504. | PDFonline
  4. Aman, Z. M., C. B. Paris, E. F. May, M. L. Johns, and D. Lindo-Atichati, 2015: High-pressure visual experimental studies of oil-in-water dispersion droplet size. Chemical Engineering Science, 127, 392–400, doi:10.1016/j.ces.2015.01.058. | PDFonline
  5. Muller-Karger, F. E., and others, 2015: Natural variability of surface oceanographic conditions in the offshore Gulf of Mexico. Progress in Oceanography, 134, 54–76, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2014.12.007. | PDFonline
  6. Lindo-Atichati, D., and P. Sangrà, 2015: Observational evidence for atmospheric modulation of the Loop Current migrations. Frontiers of Earth Science, 9, 683–690, doi:10.1007/s11707-015-0537-0. | PDFonline
  7. Socolofsky, S. A., and others, 2015: Intercomparison of oil spill prediction models for accidental blowout scenarios with and without subsea chemical dispersant injection. Marine pollution bulletin, 96, 110–126. | PDF
  8. Karnauskas, M., and others, 2015: Evidence of climate-driven ecosystem reorganization in the Gulf of Mexico. Global change biology, 21, 2554–2568, doi:10.1111/gcb.12894. | PDFonline
  9. Lindo-Atichati, D., C. B. Paris, M. Le Hénaff, M. Schedler, A. G. V. Juárez, and R. Müller, 2016: Simulating the effects of droplet size, high-pressure biodegradation, and variable flow rate on the subsea evolution of deep plumes from the Macondo blowout. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 129, 301–310, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2014.01.011. | PDFonline
  10. Domingues, R., G. Goni, F. Bringas, B. Muhling, D. Lindo-Atichati, and J. Walter, 2016: Variability of preferred environmental conditions for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) larvae in the Gulf of Mexico during 1993–2011. Fisheries Oceanography, 25, 320–336, doi:10.1111/fog.12152. | PDFonline
  11. Lindo-Atichati, D., M. Curcic, C. B. Paris, and P. M. Buston, 2016: Description of surface transport in the region of the Belizean Barrier Reef based on observations and alternative high-resolution models. Ocean Modelling, 106, 74–89, doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2016.09.010. | PDFonline


Computer scripts are the machinery for transforming raw data and ideas into scientific results.

The scientific community is becoming increasingly aware that open access to research code is an essential ingredient for scientific reproducibility and progress. I strive to publish all my resesarch code in online repositories, and I contribute to several open source projects. Python, Bash, Matlab, and GMT are my weapons of choice.

The projects listed at right represent my reasonably well organized, well documented codes suitable for general use. I have lots more code associated with specific papers and research projects available on my github site.

  • Python

    A Python package for the analysis of ocean model output

  • BASH

    Bash package to extract, combine, and manipulate data from netCDF files and ASCII files


    Matlab package for analysis of drifter data, wavelet analysis, and plotting of time series

  • GMT

    GMT package for plotting surface maps and vertical sections of oceanographic data

Research Group

These are the people who make the science in this group and spread it out there.

David Lindo-Atichati

Assistant Professor

Adam Hu

M.S. Student

Abhishek Naik

M.S. Student

Nadia Asfar

M.S. Student

Maria Ivanova

College Assistant (M.S. completed)

Tetiana Vasyleva

Undergrad student

Lillian Morales

Undergrad student

Jessica Scicchigno

Undergrad student

Other Collaborators

John Walter
John Lamkin
Yanli Jia
  University of Hawaii
Frank Muller-Karger
  University of South Florida
Kathryn Shulzitski
  University of Miami
Ricardo Domingues
  University of Miami
Jon Gula
  Université de Bretagne Occidentale
Raúl Laiz Carrión
  Instituto Español de Oceanografía
Manuel Miró Lladó
  University of the Balearic Islands
Evan Mason
  Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA)
Dennis McGillicuddy
  WHOI (David's WHOI Guest Investigator host)
Scott Doney
  WHOI (David's WHOI Guest Investigator host)
Claire Paris
  RSMAS (David's postdoc advisor)
Peter Buston
  Boston University (David's postdoc advisor)
Gustavo Goni
  RSMAS and NOAA (David's Ph.D. advisor)
Barbara Muhling
  SIO and NOAA (David's Ph.D. advisor)
Pablo Sangrà
  University of Las Palmas (David's Ph.D. advisor)