• njudu
    University: Nanjing University
    Nationality: China
    August 27, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Born in a coastal city, I have been fascinated by the ocean since a young age. Developments in tools and methodologies have broadened our knowledge about the sea for decades. Oceanographers nevertheless continue saying that science knows more about the moon than it does about the high seas. As such, I am looking for an opportunity to start my Ph.D. studies in Marine Estuarine and Environmental Sciences at UMCES.

    In October 2016, I participated in field observations for the first time, and I was deeply impressed by the difficulty of walking on tidal flats. Next year, my advisor Dr. XXX encouraged me to read Mechanics of Sediment Transport by Ning Chien and Coastal and Estuarine Sediment Dynamics by Keith R. Dyer. Since then, I have been specifically interested in erosion, deposition, and transport of sediments.

    During my undergraduate and master’s studies, I have focused on mathematics, physical sciences, and Earth system sciences. I participated in fieldwork several times, learning to deploy tripod systems, configure observation instruments, and investigate sediment transport processes. These rich experiences all promote my analytical studies concerning residual sediment transport.

    In August 2018, I developed a two-dimensional analytical solution regarding residual sand transport (RST) with MATLAB for my B.S. thesis. Then, I applied observed data to calibrated my RST formula but encountered some problems. A typical one was quality control of AD2CP data. I read the technical manual and followed its suggestion to find white noise level, but failed. After contacting NORTEK several times, I finally realized that the AD2CP amplitude did not decrease enough to find the noise floor. Although struggling, I can say that my effort in this project made me quite proficient in MATLAB and filled many gaps in my knowledge about data analysis. I also did my best in writing my B.S. thesis; it was awarded the outstanding undergraduate thesis of Nanjing University. Related results about RST research were published in journals Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science and JGR-Oceans.

    After that, I started to study coastal turbidity maximum (CTM) along the central Jiangsu coast. In November 2020, as field team leader, I carefully designed a plan to observe cross-shore suspended sediment concentration profiles. According to my knowledge, this fieldwork may be the first high spatial resolution observation of Jiangsu CTM. We encountered two high-wave events. Even so, I kept processing turbidity data onboard.

    By analyzing observed data and satellite images, I confirmed a persistent CTM along the central Jiangsu coast. To understand how Jiangsu CTM forms, I developed a two-dimensional analytical solution concerning residual suspended sediment transport. The formula was rather complex due to fine sediment lag effects. After several days of independent calculating with Wolfram Mathematica, I successfully derived the solution. By combining this solution, field data, and satellite images, I identified tidal pumping as the dominant factor to CTM in well-mixed coastal regions. A related paper was submitted to the journal JGR-Oceans and is under review.

    The land-estuarine-ocean system is complex. Several physical dynamics such as wind, tide, and wave complicate materials transport and transformation in this system. Scientists often combine field observations with numerical modeling to study each sub-system and build connections across systems. Such a combination of field research and numerical studies would be an excellent topic for my Ph.D. study.

    Given my background, interests, and objectives, the Ph.D. program at UMCES is an ideal fit for me. I am interested in Dr. YYY. He typically mixes fieldwork and numerical modeling and focuses on coastal processes. Therefore, his research interests and methods certainly match my interests.

    I am ready for the rigorous academic challenges in my future career, and I look forward to the personal and professional growth I will be able to gain from the program. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    August 27, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Please contact me via WeChat in reference to your SOP.