Dr Stefan F Gary

        A laughing Dr Stefan Gary during an informal presentation

Physical Oceanographer

I am a physical oceanographer researching the variability of the North Atlantic Ocean and its role in climate. 

I merge historical and modern observations, including data from ships and underwater gliders, to construct quality-controlled climatologies of the ocean. 

I also use the output of high-resolution ocean models to visualize the envelope of Lagrangian pathways throughout the North Atlantic and to better understand this region's dynamics.

Contact details:

I am currently involved in the EU-funded ATLAS project in which we are studying the Lagrangian connectivity of North Atlantic ecosystems as well as long term trends in ocean properties near these ecosystems.

I co-supervise two SAMS PhD students, Kamila Walicka and Winnie Courtene-Jones, who study the dynamics of the Faroe-Shetland Channel and the presence of microplastics in the deep sea, respectively.

Lecturing experience


UHI Marine Science BSc: Module leader year 1 'Fundamentals of Marine Physics' 2015-17
UHI Marine Science BSc: Lecturer on year 4 'Ocean Circulation and Climate' since 2014

Duke University (Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences)

Fluid Dynamics (graduate-level, instructor spring 2012, teaching assistant spring 2008)
Data Analysis (graduate-level, teaching assistant spring 2009)
The Fluid Earth (undergraduate-level, teaching assistant fall 2006, fall 2007)
Volcanology & Geology of Hawaii (undergraduate field course, teaching assistant spring 2007)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Dept of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics)

Introduction to Solid Mechanics (teaching assistant spring 2005, fall 2006, spring 2006. Taught nine semester-long, weekly discussion sections.)

Moshi Technical School, Tanzania (as Peace Corps volunteer)

Physics (calculus-based high-school, instructor spring 2003, fall 2003, spring 2004, fall 2004)
Physics (introductory high-school, instructor spring 2003, fall 2003, spring 2004)
Computer Proficiency (introductory high-school, co-instructor, fall 2004)


Current research students

Jason Salt, SAMS UHI: Quantifying the spatial and temporal variability of phytoplankton productivity from mobile autonomous platforms. Since 2016

Winnie Courtene Jones, SAMS UHI: Microplastics in the deep sea. Since 2015

Kamila Walicka, SAMS UHI: Impacts of basin-scale forcing on the circulation of the Faroe Shetland Channel. Since 2015


Other teaching activities

External examiner for PhD projects: Charlotte Mielke (University of Hamburg)

External PhD committee member: Mike Beddington and Rebecca Weeks (SAMS UHI)

Project supervisor for summer students

van Sebille, E, Griffies, SM, Abernathey, R, Adams, TP, Berloff, P, Biastoch, A, Blanke, B, Chassignet, EP, Cheng, Y, Cotter, CJ, Deleersnijder, E, Döös, K, Drake, H, Drijfhout, S, Gary, SF, Heemink, AW, Kjellsson, J, Monika Koszalka, I, Lange, M, Lique, C, MacGilchrist, GA, Marsh, R, Mayorga Adame, CG, McAdam, R, Nencioli, F, Paris, CB, Piggott, MD, Polton, JA, Rühs, S, Shah, SHAM, Thomas MD, Wang, J, Wolfram, PJ, Zanna, L, Zika, JD (2018) Lagrangian ocean analysis: fundamentals and practices. Ocean Modelling, Vol 121, 49-75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocemod.2017.11.008

Gary, S. F., Cunningham, S. A., Johnson, C., Houpert, L, Holliday, N. P., Behrens, E., Biastoch, A., and Böning, C. W. (2017) Seasonal cycles of ocean fluxes in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic. Under review at Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans.

Courtene-Jones, W., Quinn, B., Gary, S. F., and Narayanaswamy, B. E. (2017) Microplastics identified in deep-sea water and benthic fauna. Environmental Pollution 231, doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2017.08.026.

Holliday, N. P., Li., F., King, B. A., Lozier, M. S., McDonagh, E. L., Gary, S. F., and Bacon, S. (2017) Trans-basin fluxes of heat, mass and freshwater in the subpolar North Atlantic in June-July 2014. Submitted to Geophysical Research Letters.

Van Sebille, E., and 34 co-authors (2017) Lagrangian ocean analysis: fundamentals and practices. Under review at Ocean Modelling.

Courtene-Jones, W., Murphy, F., Gary, S. F., Quinn, B., and Narayanaswamy, B. E. (2016) Optimization of enzymatic digestion and validation of specimen preservation methods for the analysis of ingested microplastics. Analytical Meth., doi:10.1039/C6AY02343F.

Lozier, M. S., and 32 co-authors (2016) Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program: a new international ocean observing system. Bull. of the Am. Meteor. Soc., doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0057.1.

Holliday, N. P., Cunningham, S. A., Johnson, C., Gary, S. F., Griffiths, C., Read, J. F., & Sherwin, T. (2015) Multidecadal variability of potential temperature, salinity, and transport in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120(9), 5945-5967, doi:10.1002/2015JC010762.

Kwon, Y.-O., Park, J. J., Gary, S. F., & Lozier, M. S. (2015) Year-to-Year Reoutcropping of Eighteen Degree Water in an Eddy-Resolving Ocean Simulation, Journal of Physical Oceanography 45, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0122.1.

Gary, S. F., Lozier, M. S., Kwon, Y.-O., & Park, J. J. (2014) The fate of North Atlantic Subtropical Mode Water in the FLAME model, Journal of Physical Oceanography 44, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-0202.1.

Lozier, M. S., Gary, S. F. & Bower, A. S. (2013) Simulated pathways of the overflow waters in the North Atlantic: subpolar to subtropical export, Deep Sea Research II, 85, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2012.07.037.

Gary, S.F., Lozier, M. S., Biastoch, A., & Böning, C. W. (2012) Reconciling tracer and float observations of the export pathways of Labrador Sea Water, Geophysical Research Letters 39, doi:10.1029/2012GL053978.

Gary, S. F., Lozier, M. S., Böning, C. W., & Biastoch, A. (2011) Deciphering the pathways for the deep limb of the Meridional Overturning Circulation. Deep Sea Research II 58, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.10.059.

Bower, A. S., Lozier, M. S., & Gary, S. F. (2011) Export of Labrador Sea Water from the Subpolar North Atlantic: A Lagrangian Perspective. Deep Sea Research II 58, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.10.060.

Robel A. A., Lozier, M. S., Gary, S. F., Shillinger, G. L., Bailey, H., & Bograd, S. J. (2011) Projecting uncertainty onto marine megafauna trajectories. Deep Sea Research I 58, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2011.06.009.

Gioia, G., Chakraborty, P., Gary, S. F., Zuñiga Zamalloa, C., & Keane R. D. (2011) Residence time of buoyant objects in drowning machines. PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1015183108.

Bower, A.S., Lozier, M. S., Gary, S. F., & Böning, C. W. (2009) Interior pathways of the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Nature, 459(14), doi:10.1038/nature07979.


Other manuscripts and reports

Gary, S. F., Fox, A., & Biastoch, A. (2017) Lagrangian Connectivity of North Atlantic Ecosystems: ATLAS Deliverable 1.1. https://www.overleaf.com/read/bqzyzscrhkdb 16 pp.

Gary, S. F. and 19 co-authors (2016) Cruise Report for DY052: The 2016 Extended Ellett Line. 132 pp.

Gary, S. F., Holliday, N. P., Cunningham, S. A., & Johnson, C. (2015) The 2015 Extended Ellett Line Workshop: Shaping the future and celebrating 40 years of science. 11 pp.

Johnson, C., Cunningham, S. A., Gary, S. F., Fischer, J., Karstensen, J., Liblik, T., & de Steur, L. (2015) Report on the upper & lower transport variability at NACLIM key sections in the Subpolar gyre of the North Atlantic. NACLIM Deliverable 22.31, 85 pp.

N. P. Holliday & Gary, S. F. (2014) State of the eastern North Atlantic subpolar gyre: The Extended Ellett Line Programme Annual Report No. 2. National Oceanography Centre, Research and Consultancy Report No. 43.

Lund, J. M., Davis, X. J., Ramsey, A. L., Straneo, F., Torres, D., Palter, J., Gary, S. F., and Fratantoni, D. (2013) CLIMODE Subsurface Mooring Report: November 2005 - November 2007. WHOI Technical Report.

Professional activities

2008-present Reviewer for grant proposals and journal articles. Recognized as an Outstanding Reviewer by Elsevier (August 2014).

2008-2010 Graduate student representative (elected by GPSC) to the Duke University Board of Trustees committee on the Facilities and Environment (two 1-year terms)

2006-2007 Representative of the Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences to the Duke Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) (one 1-year term


Oceanographic fieldwork

2016 RRS Discovery, Scotland to Iceland, hydrography, 3 weeks principal scientist: Stefan Gary (SAMS)

2016 Seaglider 550 (Eltanin) mission 5, Scotland to Iceland, 5 months, principal scientist: Stefan Gary (SAMS)

2015 Seaglider 545 (Ardbeg) mission 3, Scotland to Iceland round trip, 7 months, principal scientist: Stefan Gary (SAMS)

2015 RRS Discovery, Scotland to Iceland, hydrography, data quality-control and watch leader, 3 weeks, principal scientist: Penny Holliday (NOC)

2014 RRS James Clark Ross, Canada to Scotland, hydrography, watch leader, 6 weeks, principal scientist: Brian King (NOC)

2014 Seaglider 532 (Bellatrix) mission 5, Scotland to the Iceland Basin, 3 months, principal scientist: Stefan Gary (SAMS)

2012 R/V Atlantis, subtropical North Atlantic, hydrography, CTD watch, 4 weeks, principal scientist: Mike McCartney (WHOI)

2007 R/V Oceanus, subtropical North Atlantic, hydrography, CTD watch, mooring recovery, 2 weeks, principal scientist: Dave Fratantoni (WHOI)



2016 Global Marine Sustainability Workshop (invited panelist), Oban, UK

2015 The Challenge of Scientific Leadership (Barefoot Thinking Company), Oban, UK

2015 The Extended Ellett Line: Shaping the future and celebrating 40 years of science (organizer), Glasgow, UK

2015 Principal Scientists Workshop, Southampton, UK

2015 Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (OSNAP) (co-organizer), Oban, UK

2015 The Extended Ellett Line: Shaping the future and celebrating 40 years of science (lead organizer), Oban, UK

2014 Seaglider pilot training, Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Seattle, USA

2013 Recent advances in ocean circulation modelling and potential applications for oil spill preparedness, Southampton, UK

2011 Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (OSNAP), Southampton, UK

2010 North Atlantic Subpolar Observational Program Workshop, Durham, USA



2012 Estwing Award (department-wide recognition of the graduate student of the year)

2011 EGU Division on Ocean Sciences Outstanding Student Poster Award

2008 DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) 4 month scholarship ($4000)

2006 JO Smith Teaching Award ($2000)

Employment history

Since 2013 Research Associate in Physical Oceanography. SAMS UHI (since April 2017 part-time, working remotely)

2011-13 Postdoctoral Associate. Duke University

2006-11 Graduate Research Assistant. Duke University

2005-06 Graduate Student. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2002-04 Peace Corps Volunteer. Moshi Technical Secondary School, Tanzania



2011 PhD Earth and Ocean Sciences 'The Interior Pathway of the AMOC;. Duke University

2006 MS Theoretical & Applied Mechanics 'The Behaviour of Buoyant Balls in Hydraulic Jumps'. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2002 BS Engineering. Swarthmore College

2002 BA Art History. Swarthmore College


Also in 2006 - Graduate Teacher Certificate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign