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Dr. Alford is a seagoing physical oceanographer.  He co-founded and leads the engineering team of the Multiscale Ocean Dynamics group and is the Associate Director of the Marine Physical Laboratory.  He employs specialized instruments to better describe and understand processes that occur on scales, say, < 10 km; however, he is also interested in how these affect both coastal processes and the larger-scale circulation.

His research focuses on: 1) process studies of these phenomena themselves, 2) instrument development, 3) observational techniques to better study them, and 4) the specific ways in which they affect global-scale phenomena as well as biological/chemical processes such as anoxia.

In 2002 Alford received the Office of Naval Research’s prestigious Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award, and in 2009 received the University of Washington College of Fishery and Ocean Sciences’ Distinguished Research Award. In 2018 he created and chaired the first Gordon Conference on Ocean Mixing.

He has over 80 refereed publications in top-tier journals including Nature and Journal of Physical Oceanography, and has led many ambitious cruises funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.