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Coral Reef Studies

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Mario Conde-Frias

Mario Conde-Frias

PhD Candidate

Bachelor degree in Physics, Master degree in Applied Physics with a concentration Physical Oceanography

My primary research interest has been in the observation and modeling of nearshore processes, including the evolution of waves across the continental shelf to the shoreline, the corresponding wave-driven circulation generated by wave breaking, and subsequently changes to coastal morphology (e.g. sediment transport, beach erosion and accretion). For my PhD research, I am particularly interested to investigate the near-bed flow and sediment transport in large and complex bottom roughness that is common in coastal ecosystems, such as in coral reefs and seagrass meadows. Improving predictions of sediments transport in these environments is critically important to control the stability of the seabed (including coastal erosion) and the health of marine communities that form these ecosystems. However, the mechanics of sediment transport in the large and complex bottom roughness remains poorly understood, in large part because knowledge of sediment transport has been based largely on studies of sandy beach environments that ignore the effects of large bottom roughness. Therefore, it has become clear that the use of numerical models used to predict coastal sediment transport severely breakdown when applied to many coastal ecosystems. The goal of my research is to help advance our understanding of hydrodynamics and sediment transport process in these types of environments using innovative experimental techniques, and then use this knowledge to develop improved models to more accurately predict sediment transport.

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