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Texas A&M University
Room 306D, Oceanography and Meteorology (O&M) Building
MS 3146,
College Station, Texas 77843
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Dr. Wilford Gardner

Professor, Earl F. Cook Professor of Geosciences

Ph.D. Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology/ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1978

S.B. Earth and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972


Dr. Gardner studies the dynamics, flux, deposition, resuspension and biogeochemistry of marine particles from the sea surface to seafloor and from the shelf to deep sea using calibrated optical proxies for particle mass, sediment traps, and current meters. He carefully examined the fluid dynamics of sediment traps and calibrated them in the laboratory and field. Sediment traps have become a widespread tool in studying biogeochemical processes throughout the world.

As an interdisciplinary seagoing oceanographer, Gardner has sailed on 43 oceanographic expeditions on 25 different vessels on or within 6 of the 7 seas, often serving as chief scientist on international multidisciplinary scientific expeditions. In international programs like JGOFS (Joint Global Ocean Flux Studies), WOCE (World Ocean Circulation Experiment), and CLIVAR (Climate Variability and Predictability), Gardner collaborates with colleagues by interfacing instruments on research expeditions around the world to measure particle concentrations throughout the water column. With these data his group has quantified the abundance of POC (particulate organic carbon, an important dynamic component of the global carbon system) through both in-situ and remote sensing techniques. They are now synthesizing data from >8000 profiles to globally map and quantify the particle mass suspended in the bottom nepheloid (turbid) layer.

Research Interests

  • Dynamics and biogeochemistry of marine particles - microns to macroaggregates
  • Bio-optics and hydrodynamics
  • Remote sensing and particulate organic carbon (POC)
  • Sediment transport in the ocean from the continental shelf to the deep sea
  • Nepheloid layers and benthic storms in the ocean


  • Earl F. Cook Professor of Geosciences, 2010–present
  • Study Abroad, Santa Chiara, Italy-Fall 2011
  • Fulbright Fellow - Athens, Greece 2009
  • Faculty Development Leave – Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Athens, Greece 2009
  • Head, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 2000–2005
  • Faculty Development Leave NOAA - PMEL, Seattle, Washington, 1996
  • Chair, Geological/Geophysical section, Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 1987–1995
  • Professor, Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 1990–present
  • Associate Professor, Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 1985–1990
  • Associate Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University, 1983–1985
  • Research Associate, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University, 1977–1983

Selected Publications

  • Boss, E. L. Guidi, M.J. Richardson, L Stemmann, W. Gardner, J.K. Bishop, R.F. Anderson, 2014. Optical techniques for in-situ characterization of particles pertinent to GEOTRACES, Progress in Oceanography (in Press).
  • Karageorgis, A.P., Gardner, W.D., Mikkelsen, O.A., Georgopoulos, D., Ogston, A.S., Assimakopoulou, G., Krasakopoulou, E., Oaie, Gh., Secrieru, D., Kanellopoulos, Th.D., Pagou, K., Anagnostou, Ch., Papathanassiou, E., 2014. Particle sources over the Danube River Delta, Black Sea based on distribution, composition and size using optics, imaging and bulk analyses, Journal of Marine Systems, 131, 74–90.

  • Son, Y.B., W.D. Gardner, M.J. Richardson, J. Ishizaka, J.H. Ryu, Y.H. Ahn, H.-C Kim, S.H. Kim, S.H. Lee, 2012. Tracing offshore low-salinity plumes in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico during the summer season by use of multispectral remote-sensing data. J. Oceanography. DOI: 10.1007/10872-012-0131-y.
  • Son, Y.B. and W.D. Gardner, 2011. Climatalogical variability of surface particulate organic carbon (POC) and physical processes based on ocean color data in the Gulf of Mexico. Korean Journal of Remote Sensing, 27(3), 235-258.
  • Son, Y.B. and W.D. Gardner, 2010. Determining spatial and temporal variations of surface particulate organic carbon (POC) using in situ measurements and remote sensing data in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico during El Niño and La Niña. The Sea, Journal of the Korean Society of Oceanography, 15 (2), 51-61.
  • Son, Y.B., W.D. Gardner, A.V. Mishonov, and M.J. Richardson, 2009. Model-based remote sensing algorithms for particulate organic carbon (POC) in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico, Journal of Earth System Science, 118 (1), 1-10.
  • Ross, C.B., W.D. Gardner, M.J. Richardson, V.L. Asper, 2009. Currents and sediment transport in the Mississippi Canyon and effects of Hurricane Georges. Continental Shelf Research 29: 1384–1396.
  • Son, Y.B., W.D. Gardner, A.V. Mishonov, and M.J. Richardson, 2009. Multispectral Remote Sensing Algorithms for Particulate Organic Carbon (POC): the Gulf of Mexico, Remote Sensing of Environment 113:50–61. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2008.08.011
  • Karageorgis, A., Gardner, W.D., Georgopoulos, D., Mishonov, A.V., Krasakopoulou, E., and Anagnostou, C., 2008. Particle dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: a synthesis based on light transmission. PMC and POC archives (1991-2001), Deep-Sea Research I, 55: 177-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2007.11.002.
  • Buesseler, K. O., Antia, A.N., Chen, M., Fowler, S.W., Gardner, W.D., Gustafsson, O., Harada, K., Michaels, A.F., Rutgers van der Loeff, M., Sarin, M., Steinberg, D.K., and Trull, T.K. 2007. An assessment of the use of sediment traps for estimating upper ocean particle fluxes. Journal of Marine Research, 65:345-416.
  • Nianzhi, J., Zhang, Y., Zeng, Y., W.D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson and A.V. Mishonov and others, 2007. Early Impacts of the Three Gorges Dam on the East China Sea Ecosystem, Water Research, 41: 1287-1293.
  • Gardner, W. D. A.V. Mishonov, and M. J. Richardson, 2006, Global POC Concentrations from in-situ and satellite data. Deep-Sea Research II, 53 (5-7): 718-740.
  • Buesseler, K. O., C. R. Benitez-Nelson, S. B. Moran, A. Burd, M. Charette, J. K. Cochran, L. Coppola, N. S. Fisher, S. W. Fowler, W. D. Gardner, L. D. Guo, O. Gustafsson, C. Lamborg, P. Masque, J. C. Miquel, U. Passow, P. H. Santschi, N. Savoye, G. Stewart, and T. Trull, 2006. An assessment of particulate organic carbon to thorium-234 ratios in the ocean and their impact on the application of Th as a POC flux proxy, Marine Chemistry, 100:213-233.
  • Zawada,D.G., J. R. V. Zaneveld, E. Boss, W. D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson, and A. V. Mishonov, 2005, A comparison of hydrographically- and optically-derived mixed layer depths, Journal of Geophysical Research. 110, C11001, doi:10.1029/2004JC002417.
  • Mishonov, A.V., W.D. Gardner, and M. J. Richardson, 2003. Remote sensing and surface POC concentration in the South Atlantic. Deep-Sea Research II, 50(22-26):2997-3015.
  • Gardner W.D., M.J. Richardson, C.A. Carlson, D.A. Hansell, A.V.Mishonov, 2003. Determining True Particulate Organic Carbon: Bottles, Pumps and Methodologies. Deep-Sea Research II, 50(3-4): 655-674.
  • Morrison, J., S. Gaurin, L.A. Codispoti, T. Takahashi, F.J. Millero, W.D. Gardner, M.J Richardson, 2001. Seasonal evolution of the hydrographic properties during the Antarctic Circumpolar Current at 170°W during 1997-1998, 2001. Deep-Sea Res. II, 48: 3943-3972.
  • Gardner, W. D., J. C. Blakey, I.D. Walsh, M. J. Richardson, S. Pegau, J.R.V. Zaneveld, C. Roesler, M.C. Gregg, J. A. MacKinnon, H. M. Sosik, A. J. Williams, III, 2001. Optics, particles, stratification and storms on the New England continental shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research, 106: 9473-9497.
  • Boss, E., W. S. Pegau, W. D. Gardner, J. R. V. Zaneveld, A. H. B. Barnard, M.S. Twardowski, G.C. Chang, T.D. Dickey, 2001. The Spectral Particulate Attenuation and Particle Size Distribution in the Bottom Boundary Layer of a Continental Shelf, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106: 9509-9516.
  • Gardner, W.D., M.J. Richardson, W.O. Smith, 2000. Seasonal Patterns of Water Column Particulate Organic Carbon and Fluxes in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Deep-Sea Res. II, 47: 3423-3449.
  • Gardner, W. D., 2000. Sediment Trap Technology and Sampling in Surface Waters. In: Hanson, R. B., Ducklow, H.W., and Field, J.G., The Changing Ocean Carbon Cycle: A midterm synthesis of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study. pp 240-281.
  • Morrison, J., L.A. Codispoti, S.L. Smith, K. Wishner, C. Flagg, W.D. Gardner, S. Gaurin, S.W.A. Naqvi, V. Manghnani, L. Prosperie and. J. Gundersen, 1999. The oxygen minimum zone in the Arabian Sea during 1995. Deep Sea Res. II 46: 1903-1931.
  • Gardner, W.D., Gundersen, J.S., M. J. Richardson and I.D. Walsh, 1999. The role of diel variations in mixed-layer depth on the distribution, variation, and export of carbon and chlorophyll in the Arabian Sea. Deep-Sea Res. II 46: 1833-1858.
  • Moore, J.K., M.R. Abbott, J.G. Richman, W.O. Smith, T.J Cowles, K.H. Coale, W.D. Gardner and R.T. Barber, (1999) SeaWiFS satellite ocean color data at the Southern Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 26: 1465-1468.
  • Gundersen, J.S., W.D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson and I.D. Walsh, 1998. Effects of monsoons on the seasonal and spatial distributions of POC and chlorophyll in the Arabian Sea. Deep-Sea Res. II 45: 2103-2132.
  • Chung, S.P. W.D. Gardner, M.R. Landry, M.J. Richardson and I.D. Walsh, 1998. Beam attenuation by microorganisms and detrital particles in the equatorial Pacific. J. Geophysical Research. 103: 12,669-12,681.
  • Walsh, I.D., W. D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson, S-P. Chung, C.A. Plattner and V. Asper, 1997. Particle dynamics as controlled by the flow field of the Eastern Equatorial Pacific. Deep-Sea Res. II 44: 2025-2047.
  • Archer, D., J. Aiken, W. Balch, R. Barber, J. Dunne, W. D. Gardner, C. Garside, C. Goyet, E. Johnson, D. Kirchman, M. McPhaden, J. Newton, E. Peltzer, L. Welling, J. White and J. Yoder, 1997. A meeting place of great ocean currents: shipboard observations of a convergent front at 2° N in the Pacific. Deep-Sea Res. II 44: 1827-1849.
  • Gardner, W.D. 1997. The Flux of Particles to the Deep Sea: Methods, Measurements and Mechanisms, Oceanography 10: 116-121.
  • Gardner, W. D. and Y. Zhang, 1997. The effect of brine on the collection efficiency of cylindrical sediment traps, J. of Mar. Res. 55: 1029-1048.
  • Gardner, W. D., Biscaye, P. E. and Richardson, M. J., 1997. A Sediment trap Experiment in the Vema Channel to Evaluate the Effect of Horizontal Particle Fluxes on Measured Vertical Fluxes. J. of Mar. Res. 55: 995-1028.
  • Chung, S.P. W.D. Gardner, M.J. Richardson, I.D.Walsh, and M.R. Landry, 1996. Beam attenuation and microorganisms: Spatial and temporal variations in small particles along 140° W during 1992 JGOFS-EqPac transects. Deep-Sea Res. II 43: 1205-1226.
  • Walsh, I.D., S.P. Chung, M.J. Richardson and W.D. Gardner, 1995. The diel cycle in the Integrated Particle Load in the Equatorial Pacific: A Comparison with Primary Production. Deep-Sea Res. II 42: 465-477.
  • Gardner, W. D., S. P. Chung, M. J. Richardson, and I. D. Walsh, 1995. The oceanic mixed-layer pump. Deep-Sea Res. II 42: 757-775.
  • Laine, E. P., W. D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson, and M. Kominz, 1994. Abyssal currents and advection of resuspended sediment along the northeastern Bermuda Rise. Mar. Geol. 119:159-171.
  • Richardson, M. J., G. L. Weatherly, and W. D. Gardner, 1993. Benthic storms in the Argentine Basin. Deep-Sea Res. 40:957-987.
  • Gardner, W. D., I. D. Walsh, and M. J. Richardson, 1993. Biophysical forcing of particle production and distribution during a spring bloom in the North Atlantic. Deep-Sea Res. 40: 171-195.
  • Walsh, I. D. and W. D. Gardner, 1992. A comparison of aggregate profiles with sediment trap fluxes. Deep-Sea Res. 39:1817-1835. (Rapid Response Paper)
  • Honjo, S., D. W. Spencer, and W. D. Gardner, 1992. A sediment trap intercomparison experiment in the Panama Basin, 1979. Deep-Sea Res. 39:333-358.
  • Gardner, W. D. and M. J. Richardson, 1992. Particle export and resuspension fluxes in the western North Atlantic. In: Deep-Sea Food Chains and the Global Carbon Cycle, NATO Advanced Research Workshop, G. T. Rowe and V. Pariente (eds.), Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands, p. 339-364.
  • Gardner, W. D., M. J. Richardson, I. D. Walsh, and B. L. Berglund, 1990. In-situ optical sensing of particles for determination of oceanic processes: what satellites can't see, but transmissometers can. Oceanography 3:11-17.
  • Gardner, W. D. and I. D. Walsh, 1990. Distribution of macroaggregates and fine-grained particles across a continental margin and their potential role in fluxes. Deep-Sea Res. 37:401-412.


Selected Earlier Papers

  • Gardner, W. D., 1989. Periodic resuspension in Baltimore Canyon by focusing of internal waves. Jour. Geophys. Res. 94:18185-18194.
  • U.S. GOFS Planning Report Number 10, 1989. Sediment trap technology and sampling. Report of the U.S. GOFS Working Group on Sediment Trap Technology and Sampling, November 1988.
  • Gardner, W. D., 1989. Baltimore Canyon as a modern conduit of sediment to the deep sea. Deep-Sea Res. 36:323-358.
  • Gardner, W. D., M. J. Richardson and D. A. Cacchione, 1989. Sedimentological effects of strong southward flow in the Straits of Florida. Mar. Geol. 86:155-180.
  • Richardson, M. J., P. E. Biscaye, W. D. Gardner and N. G. Hogg, 1987. Suspended particulate matter transport through the Vema Channel.  Mar. Geol. 77:171-184
  • Gardner, W. D., P. E. Biscaye, J. R. V. Zaneveld and M. J. Richardson, 1985. Calibration and comparison of the LDGO nephelometer and the OSU transmissometer on the Nova Scotian Rise. Mar. Geol. 66:323-344.
  • Gardner, W. D., J. B. Southard and C. D. Hollister, 1985. Sedimentation, resuspension and chemistry of particles in the northwest Atlantic. Mar. Geol. 65:199-242.
  • Richardson, M. J. and W. D. Gardner, 1985. Analysis of suspended-particle-size distribu­tions over the Nova Scotian continental rise.  Mar. Geol. 66:189-203.
  • Tucholke, B. E., C. D. Hollister, P. E. Biscaye and W. D. Gardner, 1985. Abyssal current character determined from sediment bedforms on the Nova Scotian continental rise.  Mar. Geol. 66:43-57.
  • Ducklow, H. W., S. M. Hill and W. D. Gardner, 1985. Bacterial growth and the decom­position of particulate organic carbon collected in sediment traps.  Cont. Shelf Res. 4:445-464.
  • Gardner, W. D., 1985. The effect of tilt on sediment trap efficiency. Deep-Sea Res. 32:349-361.
  • Gardner, W. D., J. K. B. Bishop and P. E. Biscaye, 1984. Nephelometer and current observations at the STIE site, Panama Basin.  Jour. Mar. Res. 42:207-219.
  • Gardner, W. D., M. J. Richardson, K. R. Hinga and P. E. Biscaye, 1983. Resuspension measured with sediment traps in a high-energy environment. Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett. 66:262-278.
  • Gardner, W. D., K. R. Hinga and J. Marra, 1983. Observations on the degradation of biogenic material in the deep ocean with implications on accuracy of sediment trap fluxes. Jour. Mar. Res. 41:195-214.
  • Gardner, W. D., 1983. Suspended sediment transport in Baltimore Canyon and adjacent slope.  In: Canyon and Slope Processes Study, Vol. II, MMS Final Report, p. 135-241.
  • Gardner, W. D. and L. G. Sullivan, 1981. Benthic storms: Temporal variability in a deep ocean nepheloid layer. Science 213:329-331.
  • Dymond, J., K. Fischer, M. Clauson, R. Cobler, W. D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson, W. Berger, A. Soutar and R. Dunbar, 1981. A sediment trap intercomparison study in the Santa Barbara Basin.  Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett. 53:409-418.
  • McCave, I. N., P. F. Lonsdale, C. D. Hollister and W. D. Gardner, 1980. Sediment trans­port over the Hatton and Gardar contourite drifts.  Jour. Sed. Pet. 50:1049-1062.
  • Gardner, W. D., 1980. Field assessment of sediment traps. Jour. Mar. Res. 38:41-52.
  • Gardner, W. D., 1980. Sediment trap dynamics and calibration: a laboratory evaluation. Jour. Mar. Res. 38:17-39.
  • Rowe, G. T. and W. D. Gardner, 1979. Sedimentation rates in the slope waters of the northwest Atlantic Ocean measured directly with sediment traps.  Jour. Mar. Res. 37:581-600.
  • Gardner, W. D., 1977. Incomplete extraction of rapidly settling particles from water samplers. Limnol. and Oceanogr. 22:764-768.
  • Gardner, W.D., 1978. Fluxes, Dynamics and Chemistry of Particulates in the Ocean. PhD Dissertation, MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography. 405 pp.


We are now synthesizing data from >8000 profiles to globally map and quantify the particle mass suspended in the bottom nepheloid (turbid) layer and examining forcing that causes episodic benthic storms in some parts of the ocean and not others.

We are also studying the role of river-borne and resuspended sediment on hypoxia along the Gulf of Mexico shelf.

College of Geosciences Atmospheric Science Geography Oceanography Geology & Geophysics Environmental Programs Water Degree Program GERG IODP Texas Sea Grant Department Icons