The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Ryan Lowe

Professor Ryan Lowe

Earth and Environment, School of

Contact details
School of Earth and Environment
The University of Western Australia (M004)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2706
+61 8 6488 1054
Personal homepage
BSc Calif., MSc PhD Stan.
Ph.D. Stanford University, 2005 (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
M.S. Stanford University, 2002 (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
B.S. University of California, 2000 (Mechanical Engineering)
Key research
My research involves the study of how oceanic and atmospheric forcing drives the circulation and distribution of wave energy within a broad range of coastal systems (e.g., on beaches, coral reefs, rocky shorelines, and in estuaries). In most cases, this work is motivated by the need to improve our understanding of the coupling between hydrodynamics and other key processes occurring in marine environments, such as sediment transport, biogeochemical cycling and spatial ecology. As part of this work, I employ a wide range of field, laboratory and numerical modelling techniques. Major research interests include:
Coastal and estuarine hydrodynamics
Numerical modelling of waves and coastal circulation
Coastal sediment transport
Remote sensing of coastal systems
Benthic boundary layer and canopy flow dynamics
Biophysical interactions in marine systems
Lowe, R., Leon, A., Symonds, G., Falter, J., Gruber, R. (2015), The intertidal hydraulics of tide-dominated reef platforms, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, DOI: DOI: 10.1002/2015JC010701

Pomeroy, A., Lowe, R., van Dongeren, A., Ghisalberti, M., Bodde, W., Roelvink, D. (2015), Spectral wave-driven sediment transport across a fringing reef, Coastal Engineering, 98(4): 78–94

Lowe, R., Falter, J. (2015) Oceanic forcing of coral reefs, Annual Review of Marine Science, 7, 43-66

Ruiz-Montoya, L., Lowe, R.J., Kendrick, G. (2015), Contemporary connectivity is sustained by wind- and current-driven seed dispersal among seagrass meadows, Movement Ecology, 3(1), 1-14.

Xu, J., Lowe, R., Ivey, G., Jones, N., Brinkman, R. (2015) Observations of the shelf circulation dynamics along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia during the austral spring and summer, Continental Shelf Research, doi: 0.1016/j.csr.2014.12.013i.

Kelly, S., Jones, N., Ivey, G., Lowe, R. (2014) Internal-tide spectroscopy and prediction in the Timor Sea, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 45(1), 64-83.

McMahon, K., van Dijk, Ruiz-Montoya, Kendrick, Kraus, Waycott, Statton, Verduin, Lowe, Brown, Duarte, “The movement ecology of seagrasses”, Proceedings of the Royal Society – B, 281(1795), 20140878

Jones, N., Patten, N., Krikke, D., Lowe, R., Waite, A., Ivey, G. (2014) The influence of complex topography on planktonic ecosystem function in a macrotidal tropical coastal system, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 149, 96-108.

Falter, J., Zhang, Z., Lowe, R., McGregor, F., Keesing, J., McCulloch, M. Assessing the drivers of spatial variation in thermal forcing across a nearshore reef system and implications for coral bleaching.", Limnology and Oceanography, 59.4 (2014): 1241-1255

Buckley, M., Lowe., R., Hansen, J. (2013) Evaluation of nearshore wave models in steep reef environments, Ocean Dynamics, 64(6), 847-862.

Ruiz-Montoya, L., Lowe, R.J. (2013) “Summer circulation dynamics within the Perth coastal waters of southwestern Australia,” Continental Shelf Research, 77: 81–95, DOI: 10.1016/j.csr.2014.01.022.

Zhang, Z., Falter, J., Lowe, R.J., Ivey, G., McCulloch, M. (2013) “Atmospheric forcing intensifies the effects of regional ocean warming on reef-scale temperature anomalies and thermal stresses during a mass coral bleaching,” Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 118(9): 4600–4616, DOI: 10.1002/jgrc.20338.

Xu, J., Lowe, R.J., Ivey, G., Pattiaratchi, C., Jones, N., Brinkman, R. (2013) “Dynamics of the summer shelf circulation and transient upwelling off Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia,” Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 118, 1099–1125, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20098

Hetzel, Y., Pattiaratchi, C., Lowe, R.J. (2013) “Intermittent dense water outflows under variable tidal forcing in Shark Bay, Western Australia,” Continental Shelf Research, in press.

Falter, J., Lowe, R.J., Zhang, Z., McCulloch, M. (2013) “Physical and biological controls on water column carbonate chemistry in coral reefs: effects of metabolism, wave forcing, sea level, and geomorphology,” PLoS ONE, 8(1): e53303. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053303.

van Dongeren, A., Lowe, R.J., Pomeroy, A., Trang, D., Roelvink, J.A., Ranasinghe, R., Symonds, G. (2013) “Numerical modeling of low-frequency wave dynamics over a fringing coral reef,” Coastal Engineering, 73, 178-190.

Wyatt, A., Lowe, R.J., Humphries, S., Waite, A. (2013) “Particulate nutrient fluxes over a fringing coral reef: source-sink dynamics inferred from carbon and nitrogen ratios and stable isotopes”, Limnology and Oceanography, 58(1), 2013, 409-427.

Pomeroy, A., Lowe, R.J., Symonds, G., van Dongeren, A., Moore, C., (2012) “The dynamics of infragravity wave transformation over a fringing reef” Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 117, C11022, 2012JC008310.

Ruiz Montoya, L., Lowe, R.J., van Niel, K., Kendrick, G. (2012) The role of hydrodynamics on seed dispersal in seagrasses, Limnology and Oceanography, 57(5), 2012, 1257-1265.

Lowe, R.J., Ivey, G.N., Brinkman, R., Jones, N. (2012) Seasonal circulation and temperature variability near the North West Cape of Australia, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 117, C04010, doi:10.1029/2011JC007653.

Zhang, Z., Falter, J., Lowe R.J., Ivey, G. (2012) The combined influence of hydrodynamic forcing and calcification on the spatial distribution of alkalinity in a coral reef system, Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 117, C04010, doi:10.1029/2011JC007653.

Wyatt A.S.J., Falter, J. Lowe R.J., Humphries S., and Waite, A. (2012) Oceanographic forcing of nutrient uptake and release over a fringing coral reef, Limnology and Oceanography, 57(2), 2012, 401–419.

Falter, J., Lowe RJ, Atkinson, M., Cuet, P. (2012) Seasonal coupling and de-coupling of calcification rates from coral reef metabolism and carbonate chemistry at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 117, C05003, doi:10.1029/2011JC007268.

Kendrick GA, Waycott M, Carruthers T, Cambridge ML, Hovey R, Krauss S, Lavery P, Les D, Lowe RJ, Mascaró O, Ooi J, Orth RJ, Rivers D, Ruiz-Montoya L, Sinclair EA, Statton J, van Dijk K, Verduin J (2012) The central role of dispersal in the maintenance and persistence of seagrass populations, Bioscience, 62: 56–65, doi:10.1525/bio.2012.62.1.10.

Taebi S, Lowe RJ, Pattiaratchi CB, Ivey GN, Symonds G, Brinkman R. (2012) A numerical study of the dynamics of the wave-driven circulation within a fringing reef system, Ocean Dynamics, doi: 10.1007/s10236-011-0514-4.

Rousseaux, C., Lowe, R.J., Feng, M., Waite, A., and Thompson, P. (2012) “The role of the Leeuwin Current and mixed layer depth on the winter phytoplankton bloom off Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia”, Continental Shelf Research, doi:10.1016/j.csr.2011.10.010.

Patten, N., Wyatt, A., Lowe, R.J., Waite, A. (2011) Picoplankton (and virus)? depletion by a fringing coral reef community (Ningaloo, Australia)”, Coral Reefs 30: 555-567.

Taebi, S., Lowe R.J., Pattiaratchi, C.B., Ivey, G.N., Symonds, G., and Brinkman R. (2011) “Modelling nearshore circulation in a fringing reef system: Ningaloo Reef, Australia,” Journal of Coastal Research, 64(SI) 1200 – 1203.

Zhang, Z., Lowe, R.J., Falter, J., and Ivey, G. (2011) “A numerical model of wave- and current-driven nutrient uptake by coral reef communities”, Ecological Modelling, 222 1456–1470.

Taebi, S., Lowe R.J., Pattiaratchi, C.B., Ivey, G.N., Symonds, G., and Brinkman R. (2011) “Nearshore circulation in a tropical fringing reef system,” Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 116, C02016, doi: 10.1029/2010JC006439

Wyatt A.S.J., Lowe R.J., Humphries S., and Waite, A. (2010) “Particulate nutrient fluxes over a fringing coral reef: relevant scales of phytoplankton production and mechanisms of supply” Marine Ecology Progress Series, 405, 113-130.

Lowe R.J., Hart, C., and Pattiaratchi, C.B. (2010) “Morphological constraints to wave-driven circulation in coastal reef-lagoon systems,” Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 115, C09021, doi:10.1029/2009JC005753.

Falter J.L., Atkinson M.J., Lowe R.J., Monismith S.G. (2009) “Short-term coherency between gross primary production and community respiration in an algal-dominated reef flat community” Coral Reefs, 30(1), 53-58, DOI: 10.1007/s00338-010-0671-9

Lowe R.J., Falter J.L., Monismith S.G., Atkinson M.J. (2009) “A numerical study of circulation in a coastal reef-lagoon system,” Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1029/2007JC004663.

Pattiaratchi, C.B., Olsson, D., Hetzel, Y., Lowe R.J. (2009) “Wave-driven circulation patterns in the lee of groynes,” Continental Shelf Research, doi:10.1016/j.csr.2009.04.011

Lowe R.J., Falter J.L., Monismith S.G., Atkinson M.J. (2009) “Wave-driven circulation of a coastal reef-lagoon system,” Journal of Physical Oceanography, 39(4), 869-889.

Falter J.L., Lowe R.J., Atkinson M.J., Monismith S.G. (2008) “Continuous measurements of net production over a shallow reef community using a modified Eulerian approach,” Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, C07035, doi:10.1029/2007JC004663.
Jones N.L., Lowe R.J., Pawlak G., Fong D. & Monismith S.G. (2008) “Plume dispersion on a fringing coral reef,” Limnology and Oceanography, 53(5), 2273-2286

Lowe R.J., Shavit U., Falter J.L., Koseff J.R. & Monismith S.G. (2008) “Modeling flow in coral communities with and without waves: a synthesis of porous media and canopy flow approaches,” Limnology and Oceanography, 53(6), 2668-2680.

Lowe, R.J., Falter, J.L., Koseff, J.R., Monismith, S.G. & Atkinson, M.J. (2007) “Spectral wave flow attenuation within submerged canopies: implications for wave energy dissipation,” Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 112, C05018, DOI: 10.1029/2006JC003605

Falter, J.L., Atkinson, M.J., Lowe, R.J., Monismith, S.G. & Koseff, J.R. (2007) “Effects of nonlocal turbulence on the mass transfer of dissolved species to reef corals,” Limnology and Oceanography. 52(1): 274-285.

Shavit, U., R.J. Lowe and J.V. Steinbuck (2006) Intensity capping: a simple method to improve cross-correlation PIV results. Experiments in Fluids, DOI: 10.1007/s00348-006-0233-7

Falter, J.L., J. Fleming, M.J. Atkinson, M.M. Bos, R.J. Lowe, J.R. Koseff, and S.G. Monismith (2006) A novel flume for simulating the effects of wave-driven water motion on the biogeochemistry of benthic reef communities. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 4: 68:79.

Lowe, R.J., Koseff, J.R., Monismith, S.G. & Falter, J.L. (2005) “Oscillatory flow through submerged canopies. Part 2. Canopy mass transfer,” Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 110, C10016, DOI: 10.1029/2004JC002789.

Lowe, R.J., Koseff, J.R. & Monismith, S.G. (2005) “Oscillatory flow through submerged canopies. Part 1. Velocity structure,” Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 110, C10016, DOI: 10.1029/2004JC002788.

Lowe, R.J., Falter, J.L, Bandet, M.D., Pawlak, G., Atkinson, M.J., Monismith, S.G., & Koseff, J.R. (2005) “Spectral wave dissipation over a barrier coral reef”, Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 110, C04001, DOI: 10.1029/2004JC002711.

Lowe, R.J., Rottman, J.W. & Linden, P.F. (2005) “The non-Boussinesq lock-exchange problem. Part 1: Theory and experiments,” Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 537, pp. 101-124.

Crimaldi, J.P., Thompson, J.K, Rosman, J.H., Lowe, R.J. & Koseff, J.R. (2002) “Hydrodynamics of larval settlement: the structure of turbulent stress events at model recruitment sites”, Limnology and Oceanography, 47, pp. 1137-1151.

Lowe, R.J., Linden, P.F. & Rottman, J.W. (2001) “A laboratory study of the velocity structure in an intrusive gravity current”, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 456, pp. 33-48.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
• Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans
Future research
I have immediate openings for Ph.D. students to study coastal processes in systems such as coral and temperate reefs, seagrass communities and on beaches along Western Australia. Potential PhD projects may be related to the current projects listed above, however, I can likely accommodate additional projects in other areas. If you are interested in working with me, please send me an email with your C.V. as an attachment.

I welcome applications from Australian or international students with a strong background in either science or engineering, together with an enthusiasm for the coastal ocean. Funding opportunities for qualified Ph.D. students are available.
Honours and awards
• UWA Vice Chancellors Mid-Career Researcher Award
• Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2011-2015)
• 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award for Research for Coursework - Individual Teacher (Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences)
• 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award for Research for Research Supervision - Postgraduate Student Supervision (Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences)
• Australian Research Council Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship 2007-2009
• NSF International Research Fellowship (2007)
• US National Defence Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (2000-2003)
• First prize, Young Engineers Paper Contest (2000), American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Units coordinating and lecturing (2012)

EART3337 Coastal Environments.

The Australian coastline is a dynamic environment, dominated by ocean processes, the movement of sediments, and presence of marine ecosystems. A detailed understanding of coastal processes is ultimately required to successfully manage the ever increasing demands humans place on coasts. This unit examines the processes that shape the coastal environment including coastal weather systems; nearshore ocean processes (e.g. tides, waves, nearshore currents); sediment types and transport; coastal erosion; coastal water quality; and an introduction to integrated coastal zone management.

EART4403 Coastal and Estuarine Processes

In this unit students examine natural processes occurring in estuarine and exposed coastal environments. Topics investigated and studied include linear wave theory, short- and long-term wave statistics, wave spectra, shoaling, refraction, reflection and diffraction of water waves, wave set up and runup, coastal sediment transport mechanisms, beach morphology and morphodynamics, sand budgets, beach erosion problems and their mitigation, rip currents, longshore currents, surf beat; and tsunami and storm surges, tides and estuarine mixing, coastal groundwater dynamics.
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM