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IAC member

Dr. L. Donelson Wright

Director of Coastal and Environmental Research

for the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA)

Email:  wright@vims.edu

Research Interests:

Bottom boundary layer and sediment transport processes operating in the coastal ocean and adjoining estuaries; the cross-shelf flux of particles; the morphodynamics of the inner continental shelf; river-mouth and estuarine processes including the roles of positive and negative buoyancy; and the complex interrelationships among numerous physical and biological processes near the sea floor.


  • Field Measurements of Sediment Transport Processes in Strataform (ONR)
  • The role of spatially complex bed roughness, New Zealand and Virginia (NSF)
  • Coastal Observing Systems for the Southeast and the Chesapeake Bay (SURA)

Selected Publications

  • Wright, L.D., Friedrichs, C.T. and Scully, M.E. 2002 Pulsational Gravity Driven Sediment Transport on Two Energetic Continental Shelves Continental Shelf Research. 22:2443-2460
  • Wright, L.D., Friedrichs, C.T., Kim, S.C. and Scully, M.E., 2001. Effects of ambient currents and waves on gravity-driven sediment transport on continental shelves, Marine Geology 175: 25-45
  • Friedrichs, C.T., Wright, L.D., Hepworth, D.A. and Kim, S.C., 2000, Bottom Boundary Layer Processes associated with fine sediment accumulation in coastal seas and estuaries, Continental Shelf Research 20:807-841
  • Wright, L. D., Kim, S.-C. and Friedrichs, C.T. 1999, Across-shelf Variations in Bed Roughness, Bed stress and Sediment Transport on the Northern California Shelf, Marine Geology 154: 99-116
  • Xu, J.P. and Wright, L.D. 1998 Observations of wind?generated shoreface currents off Duck, North Carolina. Journal of Coastal Research, 14:610?619.
  • Friedrichs, C.T. and L.D. Wright, 1998 Wave Effects on Inner Shelf Wind Drag Coefficients. In: B. Edge and J. Hemsley (eds), Ocean Wave Measurement and Analysis: Proc.,3rd International Symposium on Ocean Wave Measurement and Analysis ASCE, Virginia Beach, November, 1997, pp 1033-1047.
  • Wright, L.D., C.R. Sherwood, and R.W. Sternberg, 1997, Field measurements of fairweather bottom boundary layer processes and sediment suspension on the Louisiana inner continental shelf. Marine Geology, 140:329-345.
  • Wright, L.D., L.C. Schaffner, and J. P-Y. Maa, 1997, Biological mediation of bottom boundary layer processes and sediment suspension in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Marine Geology. 141:27-50
  • Wright, L.D., C.T. Friedrichs, and D.A. Hepworth, 1997, Effects of benthic biology on bottom boundary layer processes, Dry Tortugas Bank, Florida Keys. Geo-Marine Letters 17:291-298.

Professional Memberships

  • Honorary Fellow, University of Wales, Bangor (UK)
  • SURA Fellow for Coastal Research and coordinator for Southeastern Coastal Ocean Observing Program (SCOOP)
  • Governor's Advisory Committee on Biotechnology (Virginia)
  • NSF Scientific Cabled Observatories for Time Series (SCOTS) Steering Committee
  • National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Review of Coast 2050
  • U.S. Global Ocean Observing System (U.S. GOOS) Steering Committee
  • Editorial Board, Continental Shelf Research