The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Ryan Lowe

Professor Ryan Lowe

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Contact details
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
The University of Western Australia (M470)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2706
+61 8 6488 1054

UWA Ocean's Institute

Contact details
UWA Ocean's Institute
The University of Western Australia (M470)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2706
+61 8 6488 1054
Personal homepage
• 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, and rocky shorelines). 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, marine ecology and the impact to/from coastal infrastructure. 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
• Benthic boundary layer and canopy flow dynamics
• Biophysical interactions in marine systems
• Renewable wave energy
** Publications over last 5 years (2012-2017) **

• Winter, G., Lowe, R., Symonds, G., Hansen, J., Van Dongeren, A. (2017), Standing infragravity waves over an alongshore irregular rocky bathymetry, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, in press.
• Drost, E., Lowe, R., Ivey, G., Jones, N. and Péquignet, C. (2017). The Effects of Tropical Cyclone Characteristics on the Surface Wave Fields in Australia's North West Region. Continental Shelf Research, 139(5): 35-53.
• Etminan, V., Lowe, R. and Ghisalberti, M. (2017). A new model for predicting the drag exerted by vegetation canopies. Water Resources Research, DOI: 10.1002/2016WR020090
• Clarke, J., D’Olivo J.P., Falter, J., Zinke, J., Lowe, R., McCulloch, M. (2017). Differential response of corals to regional mass-warming events as evident from skeletal Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios. (2017), Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, DOI: 10.1002/2016GC006788.
• Shedrawi, G., Falter, J., Friedman, K. Lowe, R., et al. (2017), Localised hydrodynamics influence vulnerability of coral communities to environmental disturbances, Coral Reefs, DOI:10.1007/s00338-017-1576-7
• Hughes et al. [and 46 others, including Lowe, R.] (2017). Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals. Nature, 543 (7645), 373-377. [IF 38.2]
• Wang, X.H et al. [and 19 others, including Lowe, R.] (2017). International scientists discuss impact on China's estuarine and coastal environment by intensive anthropogenic activities - The 2nd workshop on sediment dynamics of muddy coasts and estuaries: Physics, biology and their interactions, Zhoushan, China, 23-26 October, 2015', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 168, pp. ii-iii.
• Pomeroy, A., Lowe, R., Ghisalberti, M., Storlazzi, C., Symonds, G. and Roelvink, D., (2017). Sediment transport in the presence of large reef bottom roughness. Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, doi:10.1002/2016JC011755
• Gruber, R., Lowe, R., Falter, J. (2017). Metabolism of a tide-dominated reef platform with extreme diel temperature and oxygen variations, Limnology and Oceanography, accepted 12 Jan 17.
• Allshouse, M., Ivey, G., Lowe, R. et al. (2016). Impact of windage on ocean surface Lagrangian coherent structures. Environmental Fluid Mechanics. doi:10.1007/s10652-016-9499-3
• Cuttler, M., Lowe, R., Falter, J. and Buscombe, D. (2016), Estimating the settling velocity of bioclastic sediment using common grain-size analysis techniques. Sedimentology. doi:10.1111/sed.12338
• Falter JL, Lowe RJ, Zhang Z. (2016). Toward a universal mass‐momentum transfer relationship for predicting nutrient uptake and metabolite exchange in benthic reef communities. Geophysical Research Letters 43: 9764-72
• Moore CH, Radford BT, Possingham HP, Heyward AJ, Stewart RR, Lowe, R et al. 2016. Improving spatial prioritisation for remote marine regions: optimising biodiversity conservation and sustainable development trade-offs. Scientific Reports 6
• Lowe RJ, Pivan X, Falter J, Symonds G, Gruber R. 2016. Rising sea levels will reduce extreme temperature variations in tide-dominated reef habitats. Science Advances 2: e1600825
• Adams MP, Hovey RK, Hipsey MR, Bruce LC, Ghisalberti M, Lowe R, et al. 2016. Feedback between sediment and light for seagrass: Where is it important? Limnology and Oceanography 61: 1937-55
• Zhang Z, Lowe R, Ivey G, Xu J, Falter J. 2016. The combined effect of transient wind‐driven upwelling and eddies on vertical nutrient fluxes and phytoplankton dynamics along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 121: 4994-5016
• Buckley, M., Lowe, R., Hansen, J., van Dongeren, A. (2016), Wave setup over a fringing reef with large bottom roughness. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 46(8), 2317-2333
• Xu, J., Lowe, R., Ivey, G., Jones, N., and Zhang, Z. (2016), Ocean Transport Pathways to a World Heritage Fringing Coral Reef: Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, PloS One, 11(1). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145822
• Kendrick, G. A., Orth, R. J., Statton, J., Hovey, R., Ruiz Montoya, L., Lowe, R., Krauss, S. and Sinclair, E. (2016), Demographic and genetic connectivity: the role and consequences of reproduction, dispersal and recruitment in seagrasses. Biological Reviews. doi:10.1111/brv.12261
• Buckley, M., Lowe, R., Hansen, J., van Dongeren, A. (2015) Dynamics of wave setup over a steeply-sloping fringing reef, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 45, 3005–3023.
• Rayson, M., Ivey, G., Jones, N., Lowe, R., Wake, G., McConochie, J. (2015) Near-inertial ocean response to tropical cyclone forcing on the Australian North-West Shelf, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 120, 7722-7751, doi:10.1002/2015JC010868
• Dandan, S., Falter, J., Lowe, R., McCulloch, M. (2015) Resilience of coral calcification to extreme temperature variations in the Kimberley region, northwest Australia, Coral Reefs, 34 (4), 1151-1163
• Hetzel, Y., Pattiaratchi, C., Lowe, R., Hofmeister, R. (2015) Wind and tidal mixing controls on stratification and dense water outflows in a large hypersaline bay, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 120.9 (2015): 6034-6056.
• 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. (2015) 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.
• Hetzel, Y., Pattiaratchi, C., Lowe, R.J. (2013) “Intermittent dense water outflows under variable tidal forcing in Shark Bay, Western Australia,” Continental Shelf Research, 66: 36–48, DOI: 10.1016/j.csr.2013.06.015.
• 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.
• 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
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans
Future research
I have openings for PhD students to study coastal processes in systems that include coral reefs, rocky reefs and sandy beaches along Western Australia. In addition, we have active research to support projects related to wave energy. Potential PhD projects may be related to the current projects listed above, however, I may be able to 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.
Engineers Australia
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
ENVT3307 Oceanography

This unit covers an introduction to the physics of the ocean; physical properties of sea water; global distribution of temperature and salinity; dynamics governing motion in the ocean; barotropic and baroclinic ocean circulation; heat and salt budgets; water mass formation; major ocean biogeochemical cycles; the dynamics of coastal primary to secondary biological production; and the interaction of ocean processes with benthic biological communities.

SCIE2204 Marine Systems

This unit provides an introduction to the multidisciplinary aspects of marine science. Using the framework of the local Western Australia (WA) marine environment, it outlines how the multidisciplinary aspects of marine science are essential in understanding and managing such an ecosystem. Aspects covered include oceanography, geology and geomorphology and marine biology. Students obtain an introduction to the multidisciplinary aspects of marine science; and develop an understanding of the principles of oceanography, geology and geomorphology and how marine organisms interact with the environment.
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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