James L Hench

James Hench

Associate Professor of Oceanography

Research in my lab focuses on fluid dynamics in the coastal ocean and its effects on transport processes. We use field measurements, computational models, and theoretical analyses to understand fundamental physical processes in these systems. We also work extensively on interdisciplinary problems that have a significant physical component to better understand the effects of water motion on the geochemistry, biology, and ecology of shallow marine systems. 

Much of our research is on coral reef hydrodynamics and our lab leads the Physical Oceanographic component of the Moorea Coral Reef LTER project 

Current projects include: 1) wave-driven circulation and exchange in coral reef, lagoon, and pass systems; 2) extreme events and their effects on coral reef systems; 3) understanding the effects of rough bottoms such as corals on circulation and scalar mixing; 4) the impact of stratification on vertical mixing in a highly stratified wind-driven estuary; 5) larval transport around a coral reef island; 6) sponge excurrents; and 7) the effects of wave forcing on corallivory. 

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Associate Professor of Oceanography
  • Assistant Professor
  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

Education

  • Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002
  • M.S. Stanford University, 1992
  • B.S. North Carolina State University, 1991

Research Interests

Environmental fluid mechanics, shallow-water physical oceanography, physical-biological interactions in marine environments, and marine technology

Specialties

oceanography
estuarine ecosystems
marine science

Courses Taught

  • ENVIRON 370A: Introduction to Physical Oceanography
  • ENVIRON 391A: Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 393A: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 476A: Data and Time Series Analysis in Marine Sciences
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 770A: Introduction to Physical Oceanography
  • ENVIRON 876A: Data and Time Series Analysis in Marine Sciences
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project
  • EOS 370A: Introduction to Physical Oceanography
  • EOS 393A: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Lenihan, HS; Hench, JL; Holbrook, SJ; Schmitt, RJ; Potoski, M, Hydrodynamics influence coral performance through simultaneous direct and indirect effects, Ecology, vol 96 no. 6 (2015), pp. 1540-1549 [10.1890/14-1115.1] [abs].
  • Herdman, LMM; Hench, JL; Monismith, SG, Heat balances and thermally driven lagoon-ocean exchangeson a tropical coral reef system (Moorea, French Polynesia), Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, vol 120 no. 2 (2015), pp. 1233-1252 [10.1002/2014JC010145] [abs].
  • Lenihan, HS; Hench, JL; Holbrook, SJ; Schmitt, RJ; Potoski, M, Hydrodynamics influence coral performance through simultaneous direct and indirect effects, Ecology, vol 96 no. 6 (2015), pp. 1540-1549 [10.1890/14-1115.1.sm] [abs].
  • Leichter, J; Alldredge, A; Bernardi, G; Brooks, A; Carlson, C; Carpenter, R; Edmunds, P; Fewings, M; Hanson, K; Hench, J; Holbrook, S; Nelson, C; Schmitt, R; Toonen, R; Washburn, L; Wyatt, A, Biological and physical interactions on a tropical island coral reef: Transport and retention processes on Moorea, French Polynesia, Oceanography, vol 26 no. 3 (2013), pp. 52-63 [10.5670/oceanog.2013.45] [abs].
  • Hench, JL; Rosman, JH, Observations of spatial flow patterns at the coral colony scale on a shallow reef flat, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol 118 no. 3 (2013), pp. 1142-1156 [10.1002/jgrc.20105] [abs].