Donglai Gong


Full Name

Donglai Gong


Assistant Professor




Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Affiliation Type



Gloucester Point, VA

Web Site

Professional Bio

I am a scientist, an educator, and an entrepreneur. As a physical oceanographer, I study the processes driving shelf-basin exchange and mixing at mid-latitude and polar regions. I am always seeking for better ways to share key scientific findings with the public. As an educator, I aim to inspire and train the next generation of scientist explorers who will be tackling serious issues of environmental pollution and climate change. And as an entrepreneur, I develop and implement carbon neutral, noise-free, research programs to study the polar oceans, and to assist with the protection and conservation of endangered sea turtles and marine mammals.

Personal Interests

My Research Interests

My research explores the physical processes that drives the interactions between the coastal and the open ocean. I am involved in studies of the dynamics of coastal boundary currents, the along-shelf and cross-shelf transport of heat and freshwater, the transformation of water masses in marginal seas, and the effect of submarine canyons on shelfbreak circulation. My research encompasses both the polar region, where rapid climate change is occurring, and the temperate region, where most human populations reside. Currently I am studying the transport and the transformation of Pacific water masses in the Chukchi Sea (north of Bering Strait), and the variability of cross-shelf-basin exchange flow over the Mid-Atlantic Bight. These two regions, the Chukchi and the MAB, represent the end points of the extended coastal flow connecting the western Arctic and major population centers on the east coast of the United States. My goals is to increase our understanding of this important coastal pathway which maybe significantly affected by climate change.

My Teaching Interests

I am always seeking ways to improve the sharing scientific knowledge with students and the public. As an educator, I aim to inspire and train the next generation of scientist explorers who will be tackling serious environmental pollution and climate change issues. Specifically I am develop tools and methodologies for students to become virtually engaged in scientific explorations.

Current Projects

Physical and Biochemical Investigation of Hudson Submarine Canyon Upwelling Events (proposed)

Western Arctic Shelfbreak Acoustics and Flux Experiment (planning)

Recent Publications

D. Gong, J. Kohut, and S. Glenn, Seasonal climatology of wind-driven circulation on the New Jersey Shelf, J. Geophys. Res. (2010), 115, C04006, doi:10.1029/2009JC005520

D. Gong, S. Glenn, R. Castelao, J. Kohut, O. Schofield, Summertime variability of the shelf-slope front and saline intrusions on the New Jersey Shelf during SW06 (submitted)

My Hobbies

Sailing, kung fu, swimming, photography, travel

I am interested in collaborating on...

Developing oceanographic education and outreach programs focusing on the Mid-Atlantic Bight and the Arctic Ocean.

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