Robert Hetland

Robert Hetland


Physical Oceanography: Coastal Ocean Circulation

  (979) 458-0096

  Eller O&M 618D


  • Regional and coastal numerical modeling.
  • Continental shelf dynamics.
  • Estuaries and river plumes.

Selected Publications

Marta-Almeida, M., R. D. Hetland, and X. Zhang (submitted) Evaluation of model nesting performance on the Texas-Louisiana continental shelf, Ocean Modelling.

Chen, F.,, R. D. Hetland, L. Campbell, Z. Zhang, M. Tomlinson, (submitted) Origins of Karenia brevis Blooms Along the Texas Coast Due to Advection by Seasonal Circulation Patterns, Cont. Shelf Res.

Zhang, X., M. Marta-Almeida, and R. D. Hetland (2012) A high-resolution pre-operational forecast model of circulation on the Texas-Louisiana continental shelf and slope, J. Operational Oceanography, 5(1), 19-34.

Hetland, R. D. and S. F. DiMarco (2012) Skill assessment of a hydrodynamic model of circulation over the Texas- Louisiana continental shelf, Ocean Modelling, 43-44, 64-76, doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2011.11.009

Bianchi, T. S., R. L. Cook, E.MPerdue, P. E. Kolic, N. Green, Y. L. Zhang, R.W. Smith, A. S. Kolker, A. Ameen, G. King, L. M. Ojwang, C. L. Schneider, A. E. Normand, R. D. Hetland (2011) Impacts of diverted freshwater on dissolved organic matter and microbial communities in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, USA,Marine Environmental Research, 72(5), 248-257, doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2011.09.007

Fennel, K, R. Hetland, Y. Feng, and S. DiMarco (2011) A coupled physical-biological model of the Northern Gulf of Mexico shelf: model description, validation and analysis of phytoplankton variability Biogeosciences, 8, 1881-1899, doi:10.5194/bg-8-1881-2011 Biogeosciences Discuss., 8, 121-156, doi:10.5194/bgd-8-121-2011

Forrest, D. R, R. D. Hetland, S. F. DiMarco (2011), Multivariate statistical regression models of the areal extent of hypoxia over the Texas-Louisiana continental shelf, Env. Res. Letters., 6, 10pp, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/045002

Xu, K., C. K. Harris, R. D. Hetland, J. M. Kaihatu (2011) Dispersal of Mississippi and Atchafalaya Sediment on the Texas-Louisiana Shelf: Model Estimates for the Year 1993, Cont. Shelf Res., 31(15), 1558-1575, doi:10.1016/j.csr.2011.05.008

Burchard, H, R. D. Hetland, E. Schulz, H. M. Schuttelaars (2011), Drivers of residual estuarine circulation in tidally energetic estuaries: Straight and irrotational channels with parabolic cross-section, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 41(3), 548-570, doi: 10.1175/2010JPO4453.1

Burchard, H. and R. D. Hetland (2010), Quantifying the contributions of tidal straining and gravitational circulation to residual circulation in periodically stratified tidal estuaries, J. Phys. Oceanogr

Bianchi T. S., S. F. DiMarco, J. H. Cowan J. R., R. D. Hetland, P. Chapman, J.W. Day, M.A. Allison, (2010) The science of hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: A review, Sci. Total Environ., doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.11.047 

Hetland, R. D. (2010), Estuarine Overmixing, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 40, 199-211, doi:10.1175/2009JPO4247.1. 

Zhang, X., D. C. Smith, S. F. DiMarco, and R. D. Hetland (2010), A Numerical Study of Sea- Breeze-Driven Ocean Poincare Wave Propagation and Mixing near the Critical Latitude, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 40, 48-66, doi:10.1175/2009JPO4216.1 

DiMarco, S. F., P. Chapman, N. Walker, and R. D. Hetland (2010) Does local topography control hypoxia on the eastern TexasLouisiana shelf? J. Mar. Sys., 80, 25-35, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2009.08.005. 

Hetland, R.D. (2010), The effects of mixing and spreading on density in near-field river plumes. Dyn. Atmos. Oceans, 49(1), 37-53, doi:10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2008.11.003

DiMarco, S. F., P. Chapman, N. Walker, AND R. D. Hetland (2010) Does local topography control hypoxia on the eastern Texas-Louisiana shelf? J. Mar. Sys. 80, 25-35, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2009.08.005. 

Chen, F, D. G. MacDonald, and R. D. Hetland (2009) Lateral spreading of a near-field river plume: Observations and numerical simulations. J. Geophys. Res. 

Zhang, X., S. F. DiMarco, D. C. Smith, IV, M. K. Howard, A. E. Jochens, and R. D. Hetland (2009) Near-resonant ocean response to sea breeze on a stratified continental shelf. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 

Fischer, Elisabeth, H. Burchard, and R. D. Hetland (2009), Numerical investigations of the turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate in the Rhine region of freshwater influence. Ocean Dynamics 

Hetland, R. D. and D. G. MacDonald (2008) Spreading in the near-field Merrimack River plume, Ocean Modelling, 21, 12-21, doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2007.11.001.

Hetland, R. D. and L. Campbell (2007) Convergent blooms of Karenia brevis along the Texas coast, Geophys. Res. Letters, 34, L19604, doi:10.1029/2007GL030474.

MacDonald, D. G., G, L. Goodman, and R. D. Hetland, (2007) Turbulent dissipation in a near field river plume: A comparison of control volume and microstructure observations with a numerical model, J. Geophys. Res., J. Geophys. Res., 112, C07026, doi:10.1029/2006JC004075. 

Hetland, R. D. and S. F. DiMarco, (2007) How does the character of oxygen demand control the structure of hypoxia on the Texas-Louisiana continental shelf? J. Marine Systems, 70 (2008) 49-62, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2007.03.002.


Ph.D. Physical Oceanography, Florida State University, 1999

M.S. Oceanography, University of Maine, 1996

B.A. Physics and Mathematics, St Olaf College, 1992

Additional Information

  • Gulf of Mexico Integrated Spill Response Consortium
  • Origins and mechanisms of Karenia brevis bloom formation along the Texas coast, NASA
  • Improving Hydrodynamic Predictions of Surface Currents Near the Texas Coast Used for rapid Oil Spill Response, TGLO
  • Mechanism of harmful algal bloom initiation in the western Gulf of Mexico, ECOHAB
  • TGLO-TABS Modeling effort, Texas General Land Office
  • Mechanisms Controlling Hypoxia: Integrated Causal Modeling, NOAA
  • Creation of a coastal current – The transition of an energetic river discharge from buoyant jet to geostrophic plume, NSF
  • Mechanisms controlling hypoxia on the Louisiana shelf: Modeling extension, Minerals Management Service


  • Associate Professor, Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 2006
  • Assistant Professor, Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 2000-2006
  • Postdoctoral Investigator, USGS/WHOI, 1999-2000

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