Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski

Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski


Associate Professor, University of South Alabama
Senior Marine Scientist II, Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Ph.D. 2009, University of Delaware


Emphasis: coastal circulation and across-shelf exchange processes, estuarine circulation and exchange processes, physical-biological coupling in the marine environment, and ocean observing systems. 

Research Interests

I am interested in physical processes that influence three-dimensional transport in the coastal ocean as well as how this transport impacts marine ecosystems. Circulation and transport processes on coastal shelves and in estuaries provide a pathway for mass property and material exchange, which can have a critical impact on the state of a marine system. This is a challenging (but very interesting) region to study as a result of there being a broad scope of interacting forcing functions that operate on a wide range of temporal and spatial scales in conjunction with an irregular physical environment (i.e. bathymetry and coastal geography). This results in complex flow fields. As such, my research has focused on improving the understanding of the flow field and its associated response to forcing functions at a range of temporal and spatial scales. By examining estuarine and coastal circulation, I hope to provide a more complete understanding of the processes that dictate the origin, fate, and residence time of material in the coastal ocean. Another aspect of my research involves linking these physical processes to biological aspects of marine system ecosystems. As systems becoming more strongly influenced by anthropogenic impacts, identifying and understanding environmental controls over marine life cycles is essential to elucidating the inter-annual variability that characterizes biological systems. Through my research efforts, I have also developed a keen awareness of the need to acquire high resolution data on estuarine and coastal physical processes due to the importance of these regions’ ecosystems and their relatively sensitive nature. As such, coastal ocean observing systems provide a critical tool in the efforts of understanding the variability in these systems by providing unprecedented temporal and spatial views of coastal currents and hydrographic conditions. The continued maintenance and expansion of these observing systems require both operational and scientific justification. Thus, my research focuses on demonstrating new science based on the data provided from these observing systems.


Axler, K.E., S. Sponaugle, C. Briseño-Avena, F. Hernandez, S. Warner, B. Dzwonkowski, S. Dykstra* and R. Cowen. Variability in fine-scale distributions and predator-prey relationships of larval fishes during a high discharge event in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Ecology Progress Series. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13397. (Accepted)
Cole, S.M., K.M. Dorgan, W. Walton, B. Dzwonkowski and J. Coogan*. Seasonal and spatial patterns of mudblister worm Polydora websteri infestation of farmed oysters in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Aquaculture Environment Interactions. 12, 297-314.
Greer, A.T., A.D. Boyette, M.K. Cambazoglu, V.J. Cruz, B. Dzwonkowski, L.M. Chiaverano, C. Pan, S. Dykstra*, C. Briseño-Avena, R.K. Cowen, and J.D. Wiggert. Contrasting fine-scale distributional patterns of zooplankton driven by the formation of a diatom-dominated thin layer. Limnology and Oceanography. 1-23. doi: 10.1002/lno.11450.
Coogan*, J., B. Dzwonkowski, K. Park and B. Webb. Observations of restratification after a wind mixing event in a shallow highly stratified estuary. Estuaries and Coasts. 43(2) 272-285. doi.org/10.1007/s12237-019-00689-w.
Dykstra*, S.L. and B. Dzwonkowski. The propagation of fluvial flood waves through a backwater-estuarine environment. Water Resources Research. 56(2). doi.org/10.1029/2019WR025743.
Coogan, J., B. Dzwonkowski, and J. Lehrter. Effects of coastal upwelling and downwelling on hydrographic variability and dissolved oxygen in Mobile Bay. Journal of Geophysical Research, 124(2), 791-806. doi.org/10.1029/2018JC014592
Lee, J., B. Webb, B. Dzwonkowski, A. Valle-Levinson and J. Lee. Characteristics of exchange flows in a multiple-inlet microtidal-estuary: Mobile Bay, Alabama. Journal of Marine Systems. 191:38-50. doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2018.12.004.
Fournier S., J.T. Reager, B. Dzwonkowski, and J. Vazquez-Cuervo. Mapping freshwater origin and fate signatures as land/ocean ‘Regions of Influence’ in the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research 124(7) 4954-4937.
Du, J., K. Park, J. Shen, B. Dzwonkowski, X. Yu, and B. I. Yoon. Role of baroclinicity on circulation and system flushing of a shallow, highly stratified estuary, Mobile Bay, Alabama. Journal of Geophysical Research. 123:4518-4537. doi.org/10.1029/2018JC013855.
Dzwonkowski, B., S. Fournier, J.T. Reager, S. Milroy, K. Park, A. Greer, A. Shiller, I. Soto, S.L. Dykstra, and V. Sanial . Tracking the sea surface salinity and dissolved oxygen on a seasonally stratified shelf, Mississippi Bight, northern Gulf of Mexico. Continental Shelf Research, 169:25-33. doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2018.09.009.
Vazquez-Cuervo, J., S. Fournier, B. Dzwonkowski, and J.T. Reager. Intercomparison of in situ and remote sensing products in the Gulf of Mexico, a river-influenced system. Remote Sensing. 10:1590. doi:10.3390/rs10101590.
Dzwonkowski, B., S. Fournier, K. Park, S. Dykstra, and J.T. Reager. Water column stability and the role of velocity shear on a seasonally stratified shelf, Mississippi Bight, Northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research. 123:5777-5796. doi.org/10.1029/2017JC013624.
Coogan, J. and B. Dzwonkowski . Observations of wind forcing on estuary length and salinity flux in a river-dominated, microtidal estuary, Mobile Bay, AL. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 1787-1802. doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-17-0249.1.
I. M. Soto, Cambazoglu, M.K., Boyette, A.D., Broussard, K., Sheehan, D., Howden, S.D., Shiller, A.M., Dzwonkowski, B., Hode, L., Fitzpatrick, P.J., Arnone, R.A., Mickle, P.F., Cressman, K.. Advection of Karenia brevis blooms from the Florida Panhandle towards Mississippi coastal waters Harmful Algae 72, 46–64.

Greer, A.T., A.M. Shiller, E.E. Hofmann, J.D. Wiggert, S.J. Warner, S.M. Parra, C. Pan, J.W. Book, D. Joung, S. Dykstra, J.W. Krause, B. Dzwonkowski, I.M. Soto, M.K. Cambazoglu, A.L. Deary, C. Briseño-Avena, A.D. Boyette, et al. . Functioning of coastal river-dominated ecosystems and implications for oil spill response: From observations to mechanisms and models Oceanography 31(3). doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2018.302.
Dzwonkowski, B., A. Greer, C. Briseño-Avena, J. Krause, I. Soto Ramos, F. Hernandez, A. Deary, J. Wiggert, D. Joung, P. Fizpatrick, S. O’Brien*, S. Dykstra*, Y. Lau, M. Cambazoglu, G. Lockridge*, S. Howden, A. Shiller, and W.M. Graham. Estuarine influence on biogeochemical properties of the Alabama shelf during the Fall season. Continental Shelf Research. 140(15), 96-109.
Cambazoglu, M.K., I.M. Soto, S.D. Howden, B. Dzwonkowski, P.J. Fitzpatrick, Y. Lau, R.A. Arnone, and G.A. Jacobs . Inflow of shelf waters into Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay estuaries in October 2015. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing. 11(3), 032410 doi:10.117/1.JRS.11.032410.
Tzeng, M. W., B. Dzwonkowski, and K. Park. Data Processing for a Small-Scale Long-Term Coastal Ocean Observing System Near Mobile Bay, Alabama. Earth and Space Science. doi: 10.1002/2016EA000188
Lockridge, G., B. Dzwonkowski, R. Nelson*, and S. Powers. Development of a low-cost Arduino-based sonde for coastal applications. Sensors, 16, 528.
Brian Dzwonkowski, Neal R. Pettigrew, and Stacy R. Knapp. Spatial and temporal variability of the velocity and hydrographic structure in a weakly stratified system, Broad Sound, Casco Bay, Maine Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 10.1002/2014JC010481

Brian Dzwonkowski, Kyeong Park, and Renee Collini. The coupled estuarine-shelf response of a river-dominated system during the transition from low to high discharge Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 10.1002/2015JC010714

Dzwonkowski, B., K.-C. Wong, and W.J. Ullman. 2014. Sea level and velocity characteristics of a salt marsh tidal channel of the Murderkill Estuary, Delaware, Journal of Coastal Research, 30, 63-74, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00161.1.

Dzwonkowski, B., K. Park, Lee, J., B. Webb, and A. Valle-Levinson,. 2014. Spatial variability in the spring velocity structure on a river-influenced inner shelf in coastal Alabama, Continental Shelf Research, 74, 25-34, doi://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2013.12.005.

Drymon, J.M, L. Carassou, S.P. Powers, M. Grace, J. Dindo, and B. Dzwonkowski. 2013. Multiscale analysis of Factors That Affect the Distribution of Sharks Throughout the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Fishery Bulletin 111(4): 370-380.

Lee, J., B.M. Webb, B. Dzwonkowski, K. Park, and A. Valle-Levinson. 2013. Bathymetric influences on tidal currents at the entrance to a highly stratified, shallow estuary. Continental Shelf Research, 58, 1-11, doi:10.1016/j.csr.2013.03.002.

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