Oceanography: Erika McPhee-Shaw
The Oceanography Society
December 4, 2014
Volume 27: Number 4
I seem to have a lot of dreams about crashing waves and tumblingrivers, and my favorite college physics courses were those in electromagnetism, so perhaps it was inevitable that I would end up working in the science of waves and Earth’swater systems. One focus of my research has been the physics of internal waves on continental margins and how theymove sediment around on fairly vast scales. Over time, my interests widened to include more general coastal oceanographic dynamics, and my research became more interdisciplinary. My students and I have worked to understand how weather systems, upwelling, downwelling, surface waves, and internal waves all work together to move nutrients, oxygen, sediment, and low-pH water around to affect ecosystems in coastal waters.
In the 2005 “Women in Oceanography” issue, I described having just made the transition from postdoctoral researcher to faculty member. I was learning to juggle teaching, research, and the new demands of motherhood. In the decade since, I have had one more child, guided many amazing MS students successfully through the doors of my research group at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, taught dozens of classes, obtained tenure and made full professor at San Jose State, worked with brilliant colleagues all over the country, and invested a great deal of time in state and national leadership toward stabilizing our integrated ocean observing systems (US IOOS and CeNCOOS). I obtained funding from the National Science Foundation, and had the great satisfaction of working at sea and ashore with a passionate and incredibly skilled set of scientists trying to figure out just what was going on out there on the continental slope and shelf….