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James Hench

James Hench


Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002
M.S., Civil Engineering, Stanford University, 1992
B.S., Civil Engineering, North Carolina State University, 1991

Research and Activities

Research in the Hench Lab focuses on fluid dynamics in the coastal ocean and its effects on transport processes. They use field measurements, computational models, and theoretical analyses to understand fundamental physical processes in these systems. They also work extensively on interdisciplinary problems that have a significant physical component to better understand the effects of water motion on the geochemistry, biology, and ecology of shallow marine systems.

Much of their research is on coral reef hydrodynamics and the lab leads the Physical Oceanographic component of the Moorea Coral Reef LTER project.

Current projects include:

  • wave-driven circulation and exchange in coral reef, lagoon, and pass systems
  • extreme events and their effects on coral reef systems
  • understanding the effects of rough bottoms such as corals on circulation and scalar mixing
  • the impact of stratification on vertical mixing in stratified wind-driven estuaries and lagoons
  • larval transport around a coral reef island
  • sponge excurrents