Larry Mayer

Director, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping /Director, School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering
Phone: (603) 862-2615
Office: Center for Coastal & Ocean Mapping, Chase Ocean Engineering Lab, Durham, NH 03824
larry mayer

LARRY MAYER is a Professor and the Director of the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering and The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire. He graduated magna cum laude with an Honors degree in Geology from the University of Rhode Island in 1973 and received a Ph.D. from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Marine Geophysics in 1979. At Scripps, he worked with the Marine Physical Laboratory's Deep-Tow Geophysical package, applying this sophisticated acoustic sensor to problems of deep-sea mapping and the history of climate. After being selected as an astronaut candidate finalist for NASA's first class of mission specialists, Larry went on to a Post-Doc at the School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island where he worked on the early development of the Chirp Sonar and problems of deep-sea sediment transport and paleoceanography. In 1982, he became an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Oceanography at Dalhousie University and in 1991 moved to the University of New Brunswick to take up the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Ocean Mapping. In 2000 Larry became the founding director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire and the co-director of the NOAA/UNH Joint Hydrographic Center.

Larry has participated in more than 90 cruises (over 70 months at sea!) during the last 35 years, and has been chief or co-chief scientist of numerous expeditions, including two legs of the Ocean Drilling Program and eight mapping expeditions in the ice covered regions of the high Arctic. He has served on, or chaired, far too many international panels and committees and has the requisite large number of publications on a variety of topics in marine geology and geophysics. He is the recipient of the Keen Medal for Marine Geology and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Stockholm. He was a member of the President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration, National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for the Geosciences, and chaired a National Academy of Science Committee on national needs for coastal mapping and charting as well as the recently completed National Academies report on the impact of the Deepwater Horizon Spill on ecosystem services in the Gulf of Mexico. He was the co-chair of the NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Advisory Working Group, and the Vice-Chair of the Consortium of Ocean Leadership’s Board of Trustees, and is currently the Chair of the National Academies of Science’s Oceans Studies Board, a member of the State Dept.’s Extended Continental Shelf Task Force and the Navy’s SCICEX Advisory Committee. In 2016 Larry was appointed by President Obama to the Arctic Research Commission.

Larry's current research deals with sonar imaging and remote characterization of the seafloor as well as advanced applications of 3-D visualization to ocean mapping problems and applications of mapping to Law of the Sea issues, particularly in the Arctic.


  • Ph.D., Geology/Earth Science, University of California
  • Ph.D., Geophysics and Seismology, University of California
  • B.S., Geology/Earth Science, University of Rhode Island

Courses Taught

  • ESCI 875: Ocean Mapping II
  • ESCI 973: Seafloor Characterization
  • OE 990: Ocean Seminars I
  • OE 991: Ocean Seminars II
  • OE 999: Doctoral Research

Selected Publications

Weidner, E., Weber, T. C., Mayer, L., Jakobsson, M., Chernykh, D., & Semiletov, I. (2019). A wideband acoustic method for direct assessment of bubble-mediated methane flux. Continental Shelf Research, 173, 104-115. doi:10.1016/j.csr.2018.12.005

Jakobsson, M., Hogan, K. A., Mayer, L. A., Mix, A., Jennings, A., Stoner, J., . . . Stranne, C. (2018). The Holocene retreat dynamics and stability of Petermann Glacier in northwest Greenland. Nature Communications, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04573-2

Malik, M., Lurton, X., & Mayer, L. (2018). A framework to quantify uncertainties of seafloor backscatter from swath mapping echosounders. Marine Geophysical Research, 39(1-2), 151-168. doi:10.1007/s11001-018-9346-7

Ballard, R. D., Raineault, N. A., Fahy, J., Mayer, L., Heffron, E., Broad, K., . . . Krasnosky, K. (2018). Submerged Sea Caves of Southern California's Continental Borderland. OCEANOGRAPHY, 31(1), 30-31. Retrieved from

Stranne, C., Mayer, L., Weber, T. C., Ruddick, B. R., Jakobsson, M., Jerram, K., . . . Gårdfeldt, K. (2017). Acoustic Mapping of Thermohaline Staircases in the Arctic Ocean. Scientific Reports, 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-15486-3

Jakobsson, M., Mayer, L., Coakley, B., Dowdeswell, J. A., Forbes, S., Fridman, B., . . . Weatherall, P. (2012). The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) Version 3.0. Geophysical Research Letters, 39(12), n/a. doi:10.1029/2012gl052219

Jakobsson, M., Macnab, R., Mayer, L., Anderson, R., Edwards, M., Hatzky, J., . . . Johnson, P. (2008). An improved bathymetric portrayal of the Arctic Ocean: Implications for ocean modeling and geological, geophysical and oceanographic analyses. Geophysical Research Letters, 35(7), n/a. doi:10.1029/2008gl033520

Jakobsson, M., Backman, J., Rudels, B., Nycander, J., Frank, M., Mayer, L., . . . Moran, K. (2007). The early Miocene onset of a ventilated circulation regime in the Arctic Ocean. Nature, 447(7147), 986-990. doi:10.1038/nature05924

Kong, L. S. L., Detrick, R. S., Fox, P. J., Mayer, L. A., & Ryan, W. B. F. (1988). The morphology and tectonics of the Mark area from Sea Beam and Sea MARC I observations (Mid-Atlantic Ridge 23° N). Marine Geophysical Researches, 10(1-2), 59-90. doi:10.1007/bf02424661

Berger, W. H., Adelseck, C. G., & Mayer, L. A. (1976). Distribution of carbonate in surface sediments of the Pacific Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research, 81(15), 2617-2627. doi:10.1029/jc081i015p02617

Most Cited Publications