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Dr. Alford is a seagoing physical oceanographer and the head of the Wave Chasers group.  He employs specialized instruments to better describe and understand processes that occur on scales, say, < 10 km; however, he is also interested in how these affect both coastal processes and the larger-scale circulation.

His research focuses on: 1) process studies of these phenomena themselves, 2) instrument development, 3) observational techniques to better study them, and 4) the specific ways in which they affect global-scale phenomena as well as biological/chemical processes such as anoxia.

In 2002 Alford received the Office of Naval Research's prestigious Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award, and in 2009 received the University of Washington College of Fishery and Ocean Sciences' Distinguished Research Award.

He has over 70 refereed publications in top-tier journals including Nature and Journal of Physical Oceanography, and has led several ambitious experiments funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.