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Dr. James R. Ledwell

Emeritus Research Scholar
Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department

Contact Information:
Work: 508-289-3305
Bigelow 111

Mailing Address:
266 Woods Hole Road, MS #12
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Research Interests

Mixing and stirring in the ocean and their roles in ocean circulation, the distribution of chemical and biological species, and climate change.

Selected Publications

1. Ledwell, J. R., and B. M. Hickey (1995), Evidence for enhanced boundary mixing in Santa Monica Basin, J. Geophys. Res., 100 (C10), 20665–20679, doi:10.1029/94JC01182.

2. Ledwell, J. R., and A. Bratkovich (1995), A tracer study of mixing in Santa Cruz Basin, J. Geophys. Res., 100 (C10), 20681–20704, doi:10.1029/95JC02164.

3. Ledwell, J. R., E. T. Montgomery, K. L. Polzin, L. C. St. Laurent, R. W. Schmitt, and J. M. Toole (2000), Evidence for enhanced mixing over rough topography in the abyssal ocean, Nature, 403(6766), 179–182, doi:10.1038/35003164.

4. Ledwell, J. R., T. F. Duda, M. A. Sundermeyer, and H. E. Seim (2004), Mixing in a coastal environment: 1. A view from dye dispersion, J. Geophys. Res., 109, C10013, 20 pp., doi:10.1029/2003JC002194.

5. Ledwell, J. R., D. J. McGillicuddy Jr., and L. A. Anderson (2008), Nutrient flux into an intense deep chlorophyll layer in a mode-water eddy, Deep Sea Res. Part II, 55 (10-13), 11391160, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2008.02.005.

6. Ho, D. T., J. R. Ledwell, and W. M. Smethie, Jr. (2008), Use of SF5CF3 for ocean tracer release experiments, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35(4), L04602, 5 pp., doi:10.1029/2007GL032799.

7. Jackson, P. R., J. R. Ledwell, and A. M. Thurnherr (2010), Dispersion of a tracer on the East Pacific Rise (9°N to 10°N), including the influence of hydrothermal plumes, Deep-Sea Res. Part I, 57(1), 37–52, doi:

8. Watson, A. J., J. R. Ledwell, M.-J. Messias, N. Mackay, M. P. Meredith, B. Mills, and A. C. Naveira Garabato (2013), Rapid cross-density ocean mixing at mid depths in Drake Passage, Nature, 501(7467), 408–411, doi:10.1038/nature12432.


B.S. Boston College, 1970, Physics
M.S. University of Massachusetts, 1974, Physics
M.S. Harvard University, 1979, Applied Physics
Ph.D. Harvard University,1982, Applied Physics


  • Fellow of The Oceanography Society, 2017
  • Senior Scientist Leadership Prize, WHOI, 2013
  • Elected AGU Fellow, 2011
  • Alexander Agassiz Medal, National Academy of Sciences, 2007
  • Edward W. and Betty J. Scripps Senior Scientist Chair, WHOI, 2002


  • American Meteorological Society
  • The Oceanography Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Institute of Physics