Neal Pettigrew, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone: 207.581.4384

CV: Link to Pettigrew CV


Lab website: Link to Physical Oceanography Group Website

206 Libby Hall
University of Maine
Orono, ME  04469-5741


Ph.D. WHOI/MIT Joint Program in Oceanography


The focus of my research program is the dynamics and kinematics of coastal circulation features and processes, and the coupling between biological and physical oceanographic processes in coastal regions. The scientific approach combines intensive field studies with statistical analysis and the theoretical techniques of fluid dynamics. My research studies are carried out in environments ranging from estuaries and sea straits, to continental shelves, gulfs, and marginal seas.

Since 1997, my research group has been developing and operating real-time ocean observing systems. At the present time, we run the Gulf of Maine Observatory as part of the Northeast Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) and are starting the real-time buoy array of the Caribbean Integrated Ocean Observing System (CARICOOS). The Physical Oceanography Group (PhOG) designs and builds real-time data buoy systems, including the data logger/controller and electronic systems.

PhOG has recently started operating Slocum gliders in the Gulf of Maine and are presently expanding to a fleet of six gliders and two AUVs. The group is also working on developing and testing a fleet of autonomous, wind-powered surface vehicles. The R&D of the group is carried out by group of eight professional staff including sea-going electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, senior research associates, software engineers and four graduate students.


  • Manning, J.P., D.J. McGullicuddy, N.R. Pettigrew, J.H. Churchill, and L.S. Incze, 2009. Drifter observations of the Gulf of Maine Coastal Current. Cont Shelf Res., (29) 835-845.
  • R. Wahle, P. Lawton, N. Pettigrew, and Y Chen, 2009. Connectivity of lobster populations in the coastal Gulf of Maine Part II. Coupled biophysical dynamics. (in press; Fisheries Oceanography).
  • Beard, K., Deese, H., Pettigrew, N.R. 2008. A framework for visualization and exploration of events. Information Visualization, 7, 133-151.
  • Pettigrew, N.R., C. S. Roesler, F. Neville, and H.E. Deese, 2008. An operational real-time ocean sensor network in the Gulf of Maine. S. Nittel, A. Labrinidis, and A. Stefanidis (Eds.): GSN 2006, Lecture notes in Computer Science 4540, pp.213-238.
  • Pettigrew, N.R, and F. Neville, 2008. Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS): Current Measurement in an Integrated Ocean Observing System. Proceedings of the IEEE/OES/CMTC 9th Working Conference on Current Measurement Technology, 143-150.
  • Wanamaker, A.D., K.J. Kreutz Jr., B.R Schone, N.R. Pettigrew, H.W. Borns Jr., D.S. Introne, D. Belknap, K.A. Maasch, and S. Feindel, , 2008. Coupled North Atlantic Slope Water forcing on Gulf of Maine temperatures over the past millennium, Climate Dynamics, 31, 183-194.
  • Pettigrew, N.R., H.Xue, J.D. Irish, W. Perrie, C.S. Roesler, A.C. Thomas, D.W. Townsend, 2008. The Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System: generic lessons learned in the first seven years of operation (2001-2008). MTS Journal, 42, 3, pp. 91-102.
  • Xue, H., L.S. Incze, D. Xu, N. Wolff, and N.R. Pettigrew, 2007. Connectivity of Lobster Populations in the Coastal Gulf of Maine. Part I: Circulation and Larval Transport Potential. Ecological Modelling. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2007.07.024.
  • Pelegrí, J.L, J.H. Churchill, A.D. Kirwan, Jr., S.-K. Lee, R.E. Munn and N.R. Pettigrew, 2006. Gabriel T. Csanady: Understanding the physics of the ocean. Progress in Oceanography, 70, 91-112.
  • Churchill, J.H., N.R. Pettigrew, and R.P. Signell, 2005. Structure and Variability of the Western Maine Coastal Current. Deep Sea Res. II, 52: 2392-2410.
  • Janzen, C.D., J.H. Churchill, N.R. Pettigrew, 2005. Observations of bay/shelf exchange between eastern Casco Bay and the western Gulf of Maine. Deep Sea Res. II, 2411-2429.
  • Kirn, S.L., D.W. Townsend, and N.R. Pettigrew, 2005. Suspended Alexandrium spp. Hypnozygote Cysts in the Gulf of Maine. Deep-Sea Res. II, 52: 2543-2559.
  • Pettigrew, N.R., J. H. Churchill, C.D. Janzen, L.J. Mangum, R.P. Signell, A.C. Thomas, D.W. Townsend, J.P. Wallinga, H. Xue, 2005. The kinematic and hydrographic structure of the Gulf of Maine Coastal Current. Deep Sea Res. II, 52: 2369-2391.
  • Pettigrew, N.R., and C. S. Roesler, 2005. Implementing the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS). IEEE proceedings of Oceans ‘05 (Europe), Brest France, 1234-1241.
  • Pettigrew, N. R., J.P. Wallinga, and R. Fleming, 2005. Field comparison tests of a bottom-mounted Aanderaa RDCP600 with an RDI Workhorse 600 ADCP, and a moored string of Aanderaa RCM9 MKII current meters. IEEE Proceedings, Eighth Current Measurement Technology Conference 2005, 41-45.
  • Pettigrew, N. R., J.P. Wallinga, F. P. Neville, and Karl R. Schlenker, 2005. Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System: Current Measurement Approaches in a Prototype Integrated Ocean Observing System. IEEE Proceedings, Eighth Current Measurement Technology Conference 2005. 127-131.
  • Townsend, D.W., N.R. Pettigrew, and A.C. Thomas, 2005. On the Nature of Offshore Alexandrium fundyense Blooms in the Gulf of Maine. Deep Sea Res. II, 52: 2603-2630.
  • Xue, H., L. Shei, S. Cousins, N. R. Pettigrew, 2005. The GoMOOS nowcast/forecast system. Cont. Shelf Res., 25, 2122-2146.
  • Pettigrew, N.R., and H. Xue, 2006. The response of the Gulf of Maine Coastal Current system to late spring northeasterly wind forcing. Proceedings: MIT Sea Grant Symposium on the Alexandrium Red Tide of 2005. 1-9.
  • Xue, H., F. Chai, N.R. Pettigrew, D. Xu, M. Shi, and J. Xu, 2004. Kuroshio intrusion and the circulation in the South China Sea. Journal of Geophysical Res., 109,C02017, doi:10.1029/2002JC001724.
  • Wallinga, J.P, N.R. Pettigrew, and J. D. Irish, 2003. The GoMOOS Buoy Design. IEEE Proc. Oceans 2003, pp. 2596-2599.
  • Kistner, D. A. and N. R. Pettigrew, 2001. A Variable turbidity Maximum in the Kennebec Estuary, Maine. Estuaries, 24, 5, 680-687.
  • Townsend, D. W., N. R. Pettigrew, and A. C. Thomas, 2001. Offshore blooms of the Red Tide Dinoflagellate, Alexandrium sp., in the Gulf of Maine. Continental Shelf Research, 21, 347-369.
  • Xue, H., F. Chai, N. R. Pettigrew, D. Xu, and M. Shi, 2000: Upper Ocean Circulation in the Northern South China Sea. Proceedings – Second International Ocean and Atmosphere Conference COAA 2000, 73-78.
  • Xue, H., F. Chai, and N. R. Pettigrew, 2000. A model study of the seasonal circulation in the Gulf of Maine. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 30, 1111-1135.
  • Pettigrew, N.R., D.W. Townsend, J. P. Wallinga, P. J. Brickley, R. D. Hetland, and H. Xue, 1998. Observations of the Eastern Maine Coastal Current and its Offshore Extensions in 1994. Journal of Geophysical Research, 103, C13, 30,623-30,639.
  • Townsend, D.W., and N.R. Pettigrew, 1997. Nitrogen Limitation of Secondary Production on Georges Bank. Journal of Plankton Research, 19, 221-235.
  • Pettigrew, N., and D. Byrne, 1997. Moving Waters: Currents and Circulation. Proceedings of Rim of the Gulf conference, Portland ME, May, 1997, 23-41.
  • Townsend, D.W., and N.R. Pettigrew, 1996. The role of frontal currents in larval fish transport on Georges Bank. Deep-Sea Research II, 43, 1773-1792.
  • Pettigrew, N.R., D. A. Kistner, G.P. Barbin, A. K. Laursen,, D.W. Townsend, and J. Christensen, 1996. Somes Sound: Fjord or well-mixed estuary? Northeast Naturalist, 4, 107-116.
  • Pettigrew, N.R., 1994. The observational basis for subtidal circulation in the Gulf of Maine. Gulf of Maine Circulation Modeling: Workshop Proceedings, RARGOM Report 94-1, Braasch, E. Editor. 3-19.
  • Townsend, D.W., L. M. Cammen, P.M. Holligan, D. E. Campbell, and N.R. Pettigrew, 1994. Implications of variability in the timing of spring phytoplankton blooms. Deep Sea Research, 41, 747-765.
  • Hyde, R. A., and N.R. Pettigrew, 1993. A modification of the Response Method of tidal analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research , 98, C12, 22753-22757.
  • J.D. Irish, K. Morey, and N. R. Pettigrew, 1992. Solar-powered, temperature/conductivity, Doppler profiler moorings for coastal waters; with ARGOS positioning and GOES telemetry. IEEE Proceedings of Oceans’92, 730-735.
  • Pettigrew, N.R. and R.A. Hyde, 1990. The Structure of the Internal Bore in the Strait of Gibraltar and its Influence on the Atlantic Inflow. In, The Physical Oceanography of Sea Straits, Ed. L.J. Pratt. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 493-508.