Brian Dzwonkowski, Ph.D.

Senior Marine Scientist II, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Assistant Professor of Marine Sciences, University of South Alabama


Brian Dzwonkowski is an Assisstant Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama where he has been a faculty member since 2014. Brian completed his Ph.D. at the University of Delaware and his undergraduate studies at The College of New Jersey. His research interests lie in coastal physical oceanography (things related to the structure and flow of water, i.e. currents, tides, stratification) as well as how physical processes impact biogeochemical cycling and ecosytem function. Brian is also an instructor for a graduate and undergraduate physical oceanography courses at DISL/USA.

Download Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski’s CV


2009 Ph.D., Marine Studies w/ concentration in Physical Oceanography, University of Delaware 2003 M.S., Marine Studies w/ concentration in Oceanographic Remote Sensing, University of Delaware 1999 B.A., Mathematics (with NJ teaching certification), The College of New Jersey

In the News


I am interested in how physical forcings, like tides, winds and river discharge, drive water movement and layering of different water types in coastal and estuarine systems as well as how physical conditions like water temperature, salinity, and stratification, impact marine ecosystems.

My research is focused on understanding relationships between coastal/estuarine circulation and hydrographic conditions and the associated dynamics as well as interactions between the coastal ocean and atmospheric phenomena. I use data from in situ and satellite sensors as well as outputs for numerical models to investigated physical processes over a range of spatiotemporal scales from extreme events, such as hurricanes and marine heatwaves, to interannual variability in the characteristics of coastal waters. With this physical understanding of the marine environment, I work collaboratively with marine biogeochemists and ecologists to address complex interdisciplinary issues facing coastal communities (e.g., mitigating hypoxia, managing harmful algal blooms, maintaining sustainable fisheries).

Who We Are

Devanarayana Rao Mohan Rao (Dev)

Devanarayana Rao Mohan Rao (Dev)

Ph.D. in Marine Sciences
University of South Alabama

My current project will investigate the dynamic processes that could trigger the strengthening of tropical storms over the coastal shelves around the world. The complexity and heterogeneity of the shelf regions make the environment unique, and the processes much more complex. However, the lack of observations on the coastal shelves during the storms limited the number of studies in the area. The advancement of remote sensing and the development of climate models enhanced the broader understanding of such processes, which will build better insights into underlying air-sea processes. The research will also address the potential interaction between tropical storms and marine heat waves as well as climate modes. This research will make use of different datasets satellite observations from NASA, oceanic and atmospheric reanalysis products, and in-situ observations. The findings from this research have significant implications in improving the forecasting to predict extreme events and marine hazards in the coastal regions, an area where most of the global population is dependent.

Harikrishnan Sreeshylam

Harikrishnan Sreeshylam

Ph.D. in Marine Sciences
University of South Alabama

My research focuses on the dynamics of Mobile Bay, which has lateral shoals on either side of a narrow, dredged channel that runs the whole length of the bay. An estuary’s geomorphology has a significant impact on the dynamics of the system. With an emphasis on how the channel shoal morphology affects the residual circulation and salinity distribution, the research focuses, in particular, on the dynamics of Mobile Bay. The complicated physical processes in the geomorphologically unique bay system are examined using numerical modeling techniques. To support regional socioeconomic and environmental sustainability, it is crucial to comprehend the dynamics of this contemporary system of anthropogenic design.

Aravind Puzhankara

Aravind Puzhankara

Ph.D. in Marine Sciences
University of South Alabama

I am generally interested in coastal processes, modeling, and extreme events. I currently work on a project using shelf monitoring to assess multi-stressor impacts on dissolved oxygen dynamics and hypoxia in a changing coastal climate. I am investigating physical processes in the coastal ocean and how these processes impact the coastal ecosystem. I will be focused on understanding the coastal shelf climate and the associated physical drivers contributing to spatial and temporal patterns of dissolved oxygen (DO) using observational, reanalysis, and modeling datasets.


Zhilong Liu

Former Post-Doc

Jeff Coogan, University of South Alabama

Former Ph.D. Student

Steve Dykstra, University of South Alabama
Jeff Coogan, University of South Alabama

Undergraduate Students Supervised

  • Willima ‘Tabor’ Smith, University of South Alabama, (Fall 2022-Present)
  • Rebecca Carwithen, University of Santa Cruz (NSF REU, Summer 2022 at DISL)
  • Katie Barnes, University of South Alabama (Undergraduate Intern, Summer 2022)
  • Ciara Larence, University of Maine at Orono (NSF REU, Summer 2019 at DISL)
  • Jenny Rhee, University of Louisiana at Lafayette (NSF REU, Summer 2017 at DISL, co-adviser with Jeff Krause)
  • Jenine Brideau, Piedmont University (NSF REU, Summer 2016 at DISL)
  • Guillermo Martin (Intern, Spring/Summer 2016, co-adviser with Cebrian)
  • Carolyn Garrity, University of Maine (Undergraduate capstone project, 2013)
  • Lu Han, University of Maine (Undergraduate independent study, Fall 2013)
  • Nathan Laspina, University of Maine (Undergraduate intern, Summer 2013)
  • Brett Stacy, Humboldt University (NSF REU, Summer 2012 at DISL)
  • Amanda Taylor, Coastal Carolina University (NSF REU, Summer 2010 at DISL)



  • Liu, Z., J. Lehrter, B. Dzwonkowski, L. Lowe, and J. Coogan. Using Dissolved Oxygen Variance to Investigate the Influence of Nonextreme Wind Events on Hypoxia in Mobile Bay, a Shallow Stratified Estuary, Frontiers in Marine Science. (9).
  • Dzwonkowski, B. S. Fourier, G. Lockridge, Z. Liu, J. Coogan, and K. Park. Hurricane Sally (2020) shifts the ocean thermal structure across the inner core during rapid intensification over the shelf, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 52(11), 2841-2852.
  • Dykstra*, S.L., B. Dzwonkowski, and R. Torres. The role of river discharge and geometric structure on diurnal tidal dynamics, Alabama, USA. Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans. 127.e2021JC018007.


  • Dzwonkowski, B. S. Fourier, G. Lockridge, Z. Liu+, J. Coogan, and K. Park. Cascading weather events amplify the coastal ocean thermal conditions prior to the shelf transit of Hurricane Sally (2020). Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans. 126(12), 1-13.
  • Dykstra, S.L. and B. Dzwonkowski. The role of intensifying precipitation on coastal river flooding and compound fluvial-marine events Water Resources Research. 52(11), p.e2020WR029363.
  • Justic, D., V. Kourafalou, G. Mariotti, S. He, R. Weisberg, Y. Androulidakis, C. Barker, A. Bracco, B. Dzwonkowski, C. Hu, G. Jacobs, M. Le Henaff, Y. Liu, S. Morey, J. Nittrouer, E. Overton, C. Paris, B. Roberts, K. Rose, A. Valle-Levinson, J. Wiggert. A review of transport processes in the Gulf of Mexico along the river-estuary-shelf-ocean continuum and their relevance for ecological connectivity and oil transport and fate. Estuaries and Coasts. 1-37.
  • Coogan*, J., B. Dzwonkowski, J. Lehrter, K. Park and R. Collini. Observations of dissolved oxygen and physical drivers in a shallow highly stratified estuary, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science.
  • Gadeken, K., W. Clemo, K.M. Dorgan, M. Fung, W. Ballintine, A. Hagemayer, S. Dykstra*and B. Dzwonkowski. Transport of biodeposits and benthic footprint around an oyster farm, Damariscotta Estuary, Maine. PeerJ.


  • Dykstra*, S.L. and B. Dzwonkowski. The propagation of fluvial flood waves through a backwater-estuarine environment. Water Resources Research. 56(2).
  • Dzwonkowski, B., J. Coogan, S. Fournier, G. Lockridge, K. Park and T. Lee. Compounding impact of severe weather events fuels marine heatwave in the coastal ocean. Nature Communications. 11(1) 1-10.
  • Axler, K.E., S. Sponaugle, C. Briseño-Avena, F. Hernandez, S. Warner, B. Dzwonkowski, S. Dykstra* and R. Cowen. Fine-scale larval fish distributions and predator-prey dynamics in a coastal river-dominated ecosystem. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 650 37-61.
  • 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. 65(9), 2236-2258.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Fournier S., J.T. Reager, B. Dzwonkowski, and J. Vazquez-Cuervo. Statistical Mapping of Freshwater Origin and Fate Signatures as Land/Ocean “Regions of Influence” in the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research 124(7) 4954-4937.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).


  • Dzwonkowski, B., A. Greer, C. Briseno-Aveno, 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


  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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


  • Dzwonkowski, B., K.-C. Wong, and W.J. Ullman. Water Level and Velocity Characteristics of a Salt Marsh Channel in the Murderkill Estuary, Delaware. Journal of Coastal Research (2014) 30 (1): 63–74.
  • Dzwonkowski, B., K. Park, Lee, J., B. Webb, and A. Valle-Levinson. Spatial variability of flow over a river-influenced inner shelf in coastal Alabama during spring. Continental Shelf Research, 74 (25-34).


  • Lee, J., B.M. Webb, B. Dzwonkowski, K. Park, and A. Valle-Levinson. Bathymetric influences on tidal currents at the entrance to a highly stratified, shallow estuary. Continental Shelf Research, 58(1-11).
  • Drymon, J.M, L. Carassou, S.P. Powers, M. Grace, J. Dindo, and B. Dzwonkowski. Multiscale analysis of Factors That Affect the Distribution of Sharks Throughout the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Fishery Bulletin 111(4): 370 -380.


  • Dzwonkowski, B. and K. Park. Subtidal circulation on the Alabama shelf during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, Volume 117, Issue C3.


  • Dzwonkowski, B., K. Park, H.K. Ha, W.M. Graham, F.J. Hernandez, and S.P. Powers. Hydrographic variability on a coastal shelf directly impacted by estuarine discharge. Continental Shelf Research, 31(939 -950).
  • Dzwonkowski, B., K. Park, and L. Jiang. Subtidal across-shelf surface transport and the factors that influence exchange on the Alabama shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research, 166(C10012).
  • Carassou, L., B. Dzwonkowski, F.J. Hernandez, S.P. Powers, K. Park, W.M Graham, and J. Mareska. Environmental influences on juvenile fish abundances in a river-dominated coastal system. Mar. Coast. Fish., 3(1), 411 -427.


  • Dzwonkowski, B., B.L. Lipphardt, J.T. Kohut, X.H. Yan, and R.W. Garvine. Synoptic measurements of episodic flow events in the central Mid-Atlantic Bight. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115 (C12052).
  • Dzwonkowski, B. and K. Park. Influence of wind stress and discharge on the mean and seasonal currents on the Alabama shelf of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115 (C12052).
  • Drymon JM, Powers SP, Dindo J, Dzwonkowski B, Henwood T. Distribution of sharks across a continental shelf in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science, 2(440-450).


  • Wong, K.-C., B. Dzwonkowski, and W.J. Ullman. Temporal and spatial variability of sea level and volume flux in the Murderkill estuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 84(440-446).
  • Dzwonkowski B., J.T. Kohut, and X.H. Yan. Seasonal differences in wind-driven across-shelf forcing and response relationships in the shelf surface layer of the central Mid -Atlantic Bight. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114(C08018).
  • Dzwonkowski B., J.T. Kohut, and X.H. Yan. Sub-inertial surface flow field over the shelf of the central Mid-Atlantic Bight. Continental Shelf Research, 29(1873-1886).


  • Dzwonkowski, B., and X.H. Yan. Development and application of a neural network based ocean color algorithm in coastal waters. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 26(1175-1200).
  • Dzwonkowski, B., and X.H. Yan. Tracking of a Chesapeake Bay estuarine outflow plume with satellite-based ocean color data. Continental Shelf Research, 25(16), 1942-1958.
  • Jo, Y.H., X.H. Yan, B. Dzwonkowski, and T.W. Liu. A study of the freshwater discharge from the Amazon River into the tropical Atlantic using multi-senor data. Geophysical Research Letters, 32(2), L02605.