“The sea never changes and its works, for all the talk of men, are wrapped in mystery.” — Joseph Conrad

My research examines the physics of the ocean and its effects on the natural and built environment. Joseph Conrad’s quote is a perfect summary of oceanography — almost. Without a doubt, the works of the ocean are wrapped in mystery in spite of our efforts to study it. However, the ocean (alongside climate) has always and continues to change. Research on climate change and sea-level rise play increasingly important roles in oceanography. It will be my life’s work to understand the physics of the ocean, its evolution, and its impacts on the coastal environment.

What does "e ala kai" mean?

My interest in coastal and ocean processes stems from my upbringing in Hawai'i. Life on an island
in the middle of the Pacific exposes inhabitants to many coastal processes, both hazardous and
benevolent.  In honor of my home in Hawai'i, I named my homepage: e-ala-kai-research.com

  • "e ala kai" means "rising sea" in Hawaiian ("e ala" means "rise" and "kai" means "sea"). 
  • "ala" also means "path" or "way", so one might translate "e ala kai" as "the path of the sea". 
  • "e" means "to be", or as I have been told "to continue to be".  Thus, one might even (loosely) translate "e ala kai" as "the sea never changes". 

To me this simple phrase is something quite poetic and provocative: a perfect encapsulation of my research interests.

Photo of Seaside Park, New Jersey by James Loesch (License info)