The Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory (OPAL) seeks to better understand and predict the biochemical and physical dynamics of oceans and ocean ecosystems in estuarine, coastal, and open-ocean environments. Process studies, both observational and theoretical, are central to our research and address oceanic phenomena at spatial scales ranging from microscopic to global, and temporal scales ranging from minutes to decades. Our tools include field and satellite observations, laboratory analyses, and numerical modeling. OPAL’s primary academic affiliations are with the UNH Earth Sciences department and its Oceanography programs and with the Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRESS) PhD program and the Oceanography Graduate Program. We also look forward to fuller integration with the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering in the coming years.
Our vision is to maintain an interdisciplinary and integrated group of researchers focused on essential elements of the ocean ecosystem, and a group that provides a strong teaching and research role in the Ocean Sciences in support of UNH graduate and undergraduate students. OPAL currently comprises seven faculty members (two tenure track), three affiliate faculty, five full-time research scientists, associated staff, and both graduate and undergraduate students. Our expertise encompasses a range of ocean research areas including ocean remote sensing, coupled physical-biochemical interactions, the ocean carbon cycle, Gulf of Maine monitoring systems, coastal physical oceanography, trace metals and contaminant release from sediments, fishery sustainability and applied fisheries research, and air-sea interaction. Three focus areas of synergy and critical mass are ocean remote sensing, coastal processes, and ocean biogeochemistry. Future growth is desired in terms of gaining several new principal investigators as well as graduate students and expanding OPAL’s teaching contributions in the ocean sciences here at UNH.