John Wilkin

Professor, Director Graduate Program in Oceanography

Office: 848-932-3366
Cell: 609-630-0559
71 Dudley Rd,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Room 214C
Personal Website
ROMS Community
Full CV
Two Page CV

John WilkinJohn WilkinJohn Wilkin

Research Interests

  • High-resolution regional modeling of the coastal ocean for applications related to coupled physical/ecosystem/bio-optical processes, including analysis and evaluation using satellite and in situ observations
  • Real-time ocean forecast system development
  • Applications of satellite radar altimetry in coastal regions
  • Variational methods for assimilating coastal observing system data in models, and observing system design
  • High resolution nested modeling of interactions between estuary, shelf sea and deep ocean circulation
  • Estuary and coastal ocean carbon and nitrogen cycling
  • Coastal ocean air-sea interaction, waves, and sediment transport

Short History

John Wilkin has 25 years of international experience (U.S., Australia and New Zealand) developing and applying model-based analysis systems for interdisciplinary research (nutrient and carbon cycling; larval dispersal; ocean forecasting) in coastal and adjacent shelf and boundary current waters. Most recently, these projects emphasize using variational methods for assimilation of in situ and remotely sensed observations and the design of observing networks. He is a developer of the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) and co-convenes the annual ROMS User Workshops.

Wilkin is a member of NASA’s Ocean Surface Topography Science Team (OSTST) and is active in promoting uses of radar altimetry in the coastal ocean. He represents OSTST on the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) Science Team (GOVST). Wilkin also co-chairs the User Working Group for NASA’s Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO-DAAC), and is a member of the Ocean Observing panel for Physics and Climate (OOPC) of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

Teaching Efforts


Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems
Coastal Ocean Dynamics
Remote Sensing of the Ocean and Atmosphere
Geospatial Data Analysis


John Wilkin has lectured in international summer schools in France and Australia that train students and early career scientists on developments in modern coastal ocean observing systems and the interface between observing, modeling and ecosystems. He is a regular member of the Scientific Program Committee of the Coastal Altimetry Workshops that accompany meetings of NASA’s Ocean Surface Topography Science Team, and was chair of the 2015 Gordon Research Conference on Coastal Ocean Modeling. Wilkin has promoted international development and collaboration in applied coastal ocean modeling by co-convening more than 10 Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) User Workshops in the US, Italy, Spain, Australia, France, Brazil and Croatia, and is a regular contributor to the online ROMS User Forum.

Select Publications

Kourafalou, V., P. De Mey, M. Le Hénaff, G. Charria, C. Edwards, R. He, M. Herzfeld, A. Pascual, E. Stanev, J. Tintoré, N. Usui, A. van der Westhuysen, J. Wilkin, X. Zhu, (2015), Coastal Ocean Forecasting: system integration and evaluation, Journal of Operational Oceanography, 8:sup1, s127-s146, doi:10.1080/1755876X.2015.1022336.

Munroe, D., A. Tabatabai, I. Burt, D. Bushek, E.N. Powell and J. Wilkin (2013), Oyster mortality in Delaware Bay: Impacts and recovery from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 135, 209-219, doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2013.10.011

Wilkin, J., and E. Hunter (2013), An assessment of the skill of real-time models of Middle Atlantic Bight continental shelf circulation, J. Geophy. Res. - Oceans, 118, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20223.

Zavala-Garay, J., J. Wilkin and H. Arango (2012), Predictability of mesoscale variability in the East Australia Current given strong-constraint data assimilation, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 42, 1402-1420, doi:1410.1175/JPO-D-1411-0168.1401.

Hu, J., K. Fennel, J. P. Mattern, and J. Wilkin (2012), Data assimilation with a local Ensemble Kalman Filter applied to a three-dimensional biological model of the Middle Atlantic Bight, Journal of Marine Systems, 94, 145-156, doi: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2011.11.016.

Wilkin, J., and A. G. Jeffs (2011), Energetics of swimming to shore in the puerulus stage of a spiny lobster: Can a lobster post-larva afford the cost of crossing the continental shelf? Limnology and Oceanography Environment and Fluids, 1, 163-175, doi: 10.1215/21573698-1504363.

Renault, L., G. Vizoso, A. Jansa, J. Wilkin and J. Tintoré (2011), Toward the predictability of meteo-tsunamis in the Balearic Sea using coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Modeling, Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L10601, doi: 10.1029/2011GL047361.

Hofmann, E. E., B. Cahill, K. Fennel, M. Friedrichs, K. Hyde, C. Lee, A. Mannino, R. Najjar, J. O’Reilly, J. Wilkin and J. Xue (2010), Modeling the Dynamics of Continental Shelf Carbon, Annual Review of Marine Science, 3, 93-122, doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-120709-142740.

Zhang, W., J. Wilkin and J. Levin (2010), Towards an integrated observation and modeling system in the New York Bight using variational methods, Part II: Representer-based observing system design, Ocean Modelling, 35, 134-145, 10.1016/j.ocemod.2010.06.006.

Fennel, K., and J. Wilkin (2009), Quantifying biological carbon export for the northwest North Atlantic continental shelves, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L18605, doi: 10.1029/2009GL039818

Cahill, B., O. Schofield, R. Chant, J. Wilkin, E. Hunter, S. Glenn, and P. Bissett (2008), Dynamics of turbid buoyant plumes and the feedbacks on near-shore biogeochemistry and physics, Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L10605, doi: 10.1029/2008GL033595.