Directory Page Title

L. Donelson Wright

Dean and Director and Professor of Marine Science, Emeritus

Retired: 2006
Department: Physical Sciences
Email: [[wright]]

  • B.A., Geology and Geography, University of Miami, Florida
  • M.A., Geomorphology, University of Sydney (Australia)
  • Ph.D., Louisiana State University
Research Interests

My research is largely focused on: bottom boundary layer and sediment transport processes operating in the coastal ocean and adjoining estuaries; on the cross-shelf flux of particles; on the morphodynamics of the inner continental shelf; river-mouth and estuarine processes including the roles of positive and negative buoyancy; and on the complex interrelationships among numerous physical and biological processes near the sea floor. The research is interdisciplinary and involves elements of physical, geological, and biological oceanography and has direct engineering and environmental applications. Field investigations have been world wide in the coastal waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and Indian Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, Baltic Sea, Timor Sea and Yellow Sea. Wright is currently coordinating a multi-institutional effort to establish a comprehensive coastal ocean-observing program in the southeastern region of the U.S.

Current Projects
  • Field Measurements of Sediment Transport Processes in Strataform (ONR)
  • The role of spatially complex bed roughness, New Zealand and Virginia (NSF)
  • Coastal Observing Systems for the Southeast and the Chesapeake Bay (SURA)
Selected Publications
  • Wright, L.D., Friedrichs, C.T. and Scully, M.E. 2002 Pulsational Gravity Driven Sediment Transport on Two Energetic Continental Shelves Continental Shelf Research. 22:2443-2460
  • Wright, L.D., Friedrichs, C.T., Kim, S.C. and Scully, M.E., 2001. Effects of ambient currents and waves on gravity-driven sediment transport on continental shelves, Marine Geology 175: 25-45
  • Friedrichs, C.T., Wright, L.D., Hepworth, D.A. and Kim, S.C., 2000, Bottom Boundary Layer Processes associated with fine sediment accumulation in coastal seas and estuaries, Continental Shelf Research 20:807-841
  • Wright, L. D., Kim, S.-C. and Friedrichs, C.T. 1999, Across-shelf Variations in Bed Roughness, Bed stress and Sediment Transport on the Northern California Shelf, Marine Geology 154: 99-116
  • Xu, J.P. and Wright, L.D. 1998 Observations of wind?generated shoreface currents off Duck, North Carolina. Journal of Coastal Research, 14:610?619.
  • Friedrichs, C.T. and L.D. Wright, 1998 Wave Effects on Inner Shelf Wind Drag Coefficients. In: B. Edge and J. Hemsley (eds), Ocean Wave Measurement and Analysis: Proc.,3rd International Symposium on Ocean Wave Measurement and Analysis ASCE, Virginia Beach, November, 1997, pp 1033-1047.
  • Wright, L.D., C.R. Sherwood, and R.W. Sternberg, 1997, Field measurements of fairweather bottom boundary layer processes and sediment suspension on the Louisiana inner continental shelf. Marine Geology, 140:329-345.
  • Wright, L.D., L.C. Schaffner, and J. P-Y. Maa, 1997, Biological mediation of bottom boundary layer processes and sediment suspension in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Marine Geology. 141:27-50
  • Wright, L.D., C.T. Friedrichs, and D.A. Hepworth, 1997, Effects of benthic biology on bottom boundary layer processes, Dry Tortugas Bank, Florida Keys. Geo-Marine Letters 17:291-298.
  • Wright, L.D., 1995, Morphodynamics of Inner Continental Shelves. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton,FL, 241 pp.
Current Students
  • Art Trembanis, PhD;
  • Malcolm Scully, M.S. (co-supervisor with C. Friedrichs)
Past Students
  • G.H. Lee, 2000 (co-supervisor with C. Friedrichs)
  • T. Chisholm,1999
  • S. Rennie, 1998
Courses Taught/Teaching
  • Coastal Morphodynamics
Professional Memberships
  • Honorary Fellow, University of Wales, Bangor (UK)
  • SURA Fellow for Coastal Research and coordinator for Southeastern Coastal Ocean Observing Program (SCOOP)
  • Governor's Advisory Committee on Biotechnology (Virginia)
  • NSF Scientific Cabled Observatories for Time Series (SCOTS) Steering Committee
  • National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Review of Coast 2050
  • U.S. Global Ocean Observing System (U.S. GOOS) Steering Committee
  • Editorial Board, Continental Shelf Research