• 3.13 Sciences

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am currently advertising a PhD studentship in physical oceanography through the ARIES Doctoral Training Partnership: Can extreme internal waves trigger turbidity currents and carbon transport in submarine canyons? Deadline: 12 January 2022. I also welcome enquiries from students with alternative sources of funding who are considering a PhD in internal wave dynamics, turbulent mixing, ocean gliders, or any of my other areas of interest.

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Personal profile


After an undergraduate degree in Oceanography at the University of Southampton, I completed my PhD in Physical Oceanography at Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the University of Liverpool, under the supervision of Profs John Huthnance and Ric Williams. I then spent three years as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Hawaii working with Dr Glenn Carter before being appointed Lecturer in Shelf Sea Oceanography at the University of East Anglia.


  • 2021: Challenger Society for Marine Science Fellow
  • 2018  present: Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer in Physical Oceanography, University of East Anglia
  • 2012  2018: Lecturer in Shelf Sea Oceanography, University of East Anglia
  • 2009  2011: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Academic Background

  • 2005  2009: PhD in Physical Oceanography, University of Liverpool
  • 2001  2005: MOcean (first class) in Oceanography, University of Southampton

Key Research Interests

My research is on shelf sea and deep ocean fluid dynamics, diagnosed from both observations and numerical model simulations. I have a specific interest in internal waves and internal tides, their interactions with complex topography such as submarine canyons, their effect on turbulent mixing, biogeochemical fluxes, and sediment resuspension, and their impact on pelagic and benthic ecosystems. As a leading member of the UEA Glider Group, I have led numerous Seaglider missions and developed methods to use these autonomous vehicles for the diagnosis of internal wave energetics and turbulent mixing rates. To support these observations and investigate process interactions, I run numerical model simulations using both the Princeton Ocean Model and MITgcm.

Current Research Projects:

  • Processes drIving Submarine Canyon fluxES (PISCES; NERC; PI)
  • Accelerating Thwaites Ecosystem Impacts for the Southern Ocean (ARTEMIS; NSF-NERC; PI)
  • Thwaites-Amundsen Regional Survey and Network Integrating Atmosphere-Ice-Ocean Processes affecting the Sub-Ice-Shelf Environment (TARSAN; NSF-NERC; Co-I)
  • The Maritime Continent – Driver of the Global Climate System (TerraMaris; NERC; Co-I)
  • Processes Influencing Carbon Cycling: Observations of the Lower limb of the Antarctic Overturning (PICCOLO; NERC; Co-I)
  • Climate-relevant Ocean Measurements and Processes on the Antarctic continental Shelf and Slope (COMPASS; ERC; Team member)

Significant Recent Publications:

  • Heijnen, M. S., F. Mienis, A. R. Gates, B. J. Bett, R. A. Hall, J. Hunt, I. A. Kane, C. Pebody, V. A. I. Huvenne, E. L. Soutter, and M. A. Clare, 2022: Challenging the highstand-dormant paradigm for land-detached submarine canyons. Nature Communications, 13, 3448, doi:10.1038/s41467-022-31114-9.
  • Dorrell, R. M., C. J. Lloyd, B. J. Lincoln, T. P. Rippeth, J. R. Taylor, C. P. Caulfield, J. Sharples, J. A. Polton, B. D. Scannell, D. M. Greaves, R. A. Hall, and J. H. Simpson, 2022: Anthropogenic mixing in seasonally stratified shelf seas by offshore wind farm infrastructure. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, 830927, doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.830927.
  • Spingys, C. P., R. G. Williams, J. E. Hopkins, R. A. Hall, J. A. M. Green, and J. Sharples, 2020: Internal-tide driven tracer transport across the continental slope. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125, e2019JC015530, doi:10.1029/2019JC015530.
  • Rollo, C., K. J. Heywood, R. A. Hall, E. D. Barton, and J. Kaiser, 2020: Glider observations of the Northwestern Iberian Margin during an exceptional summer upwelling season. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125, e2019JC015804, doi:10.1029/2019JC015804.
  • Gilchrist, R. M., R. A. Hall, J. C. Bacon, J. M. Rees, and J. A. Graham, 2020: Increased dispersion of oil from a deep water seabed release by energetic mesoscale eddies. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 156, 111258, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111258.
  • Sheehan, P. M. F., B. Berx, A. Gallego, R. A. Hall, K. J. Heywood, and B. Y. Queste, 2020: Weekly variability of hydrography and transport of northwestern inflows into the northern North Sea. Journal of Marine Systems, 204, 103288, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2019.103288.
  • Hall, R. A., B. Berx, and G. M. Damerell, 2019: Internal tide energy flux over a ridge measured by a co-located ocean glider and moored acoustic Doppler current profiler. Ocean Science, 15, 1439–1453, doi:10.5194/os-15-1439-2019.
  • Sheehan, P. M. F., S. L. Hughes, B. Berx, A. Gallego, R. A. Hall, K. J. Heywood, and B. Y. Queste, 2018: Shelf sea tidal currents and mixing fronts determined from ocean glider observations. Ocean Science, 14, 225–236, doi:10.5194/os-14-225-2018.
  • Aslam, T., R. A. Hall, and S. R. Dye, 2018: Internal tides in a dendritic submarine canyon. Progress in Oceanography, 169, 20–32, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2017.10.005.
  • Hall, R. A., B. Berx, and M. E. Inall, 2017: Observing internal tides in high-risk regions using co-located ocean gliders and moored ADCPs. Oceanography, 30, 51–52, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2017.220.
  • Hall, R. A., T. Aslam, and V. A. I. Huvenne, 2017: Partly standing internal tides in a dendritic submarine canyon observed by an ocean glider. Deep-Sea Research Part I, 126, 73-84, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2017.05.015.

 Current PhD Students:

  • Jack Mustafa

 Previous PhD Students:

  • Philip Leadbitter – Investigating Turbulent Mixing Processes Using High-Resolution Temperature Sensors on Autonomous Ocean Gliders
  • Callum Rollo – Shelf, Shear and Staircases: Glider Observations in the North Atlantic
  • Ryan Gilchrist – Dynamics and Impacts of Oil Spills From Seabed Releases in the Faroe-Shetland Channel
  • Peter Sheehan – Forcing and Variability of Northwestern Inflows into the Northern North Sea
  • Tahmeena Aslam – Internal Tides in Whittard Canyon

Teaching Interests

  • ENV-5017: Shelf Sea Dynamics and Coastal Processes (module organiser)
  • ENV-4007: Atmosphere & Oceans
  • ENV-5020/7030: Marine Sciences Fieldcourse

Administrative Posts

  • Marine Sciences Course Director
  • Collaborative Centre for Suatainable Use of the Seas (CCSUS) Deputy Director

Key Responsibilities

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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