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Andrew Thomas

If you need to locate a faculty member with knowledge about particular functions of SMS (e.g., graduate admissions), you can find them on the list of current faculty committees.

Andrew Thomas

Contact Information

Andrew Thomas


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454 Aubert Hall
Orono, ME  04469-5741


Ph.D., Oceanography, University of British Columbia

Research interests

My research interests are broadly focused on the spatial and temporal patterns of plankton in the oceans. The oceans are NOT a homogenous soup, but are extremely patchy in both space and time, and in terms of both biomass and community structure.  I have a special interest in plankton interactions with the physical environment; looking for quantitative and mechanistic links to current structure, water mass shifts, seasonal cycles, interannual variability, climate-related signals, wind forcing, etc. Geographically, my research is usually divided between two regions 1) the Gulf of Maine, a small but fascinating chunk of ocean with strong tidal forcing, a huge seasonal signal, surprising spatial heterogeneity and still poorly understood interannual variability, and 2) global Eastern Boundary Currents, some of the most biologically productive regions on the planet with strong wind forcing, upwelling and large interannual variability (ENSO, PDO etc). I make extensive use of satellite data to try to quantify the patterns I'm interested in. The tools of my trade are many fast computers, big monitors, huge on-line disk storage space, computer graphics, data bases, GIS and remote sensing software. In my lab we primarily use satellite sea surface temperature (NOAA and MODIS) and ocean color imagery (SeaWIFS and MODIS data), but also scatterometer data, synthetic aperture radar imagery, and dabble in altimeter, LANDSAT data and airborne multispectral imagery. My research is inherently multidisciplinary. I often work in large teams of scientists, including biological and physical oceanographers, fisheries oceanographers, statistitians, numerical modelers, digital image specialists and marine resource managers. My colleagues are spead over a wide geography: e.g. Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, California, Georgia, Chile, Spain.


  • Pershing, A.J., M.A. Alexander, C.M. Hernandez, L.A. Kerr, A. LeBris, K.E. Mills, J.A. Nye, N.R. Record, H.A. Scannell, G.D. Sherwood, A.C. Thomas. 2015. Rapid warming leads to the collapse of Gulf of Maine cod through complex socio-ecological dynamics. Science. Submitted.
  • Scannell, H.A., A.J. Pershing, M.A. Alexander, A.C. Thomas, and K.E. Mills. 2015. Frequency of marine heat waves in the north Atlantic and North Pacific since 1950. Geophys. Res. Lett. Submitted.
  • Foukal, N.P., and A.C. Thomas. 2014. Biogeography and phenology of satellite-measured phytoplankton seasonality in the California Current. Deep-Sea Res. 1, 92: 11-25.
  • Xiu, P., A.C. Thomas, F. Chai, 2014. Remote sensing of phytoplankton blooms induced by natural and artificial iron addition in the Gulf of Alaska. Rem. Sens. Env., 145: 38-46.
  • Di Lorenzo, E., V. Combes, J.E. Keister, T.P. Strub, A.C. Thomas, P.J. S. Franks, M.D. Ohman, J. Furtado, A. Bracco, S.J. Bograd, W.T. Peterson, F.B. Schwing, S. Chiba, B. Taguchi, S. Hormazabal and C. Parada, 2013. Synthesis of Pacific Ocean Climate & Ecosystems Dynamics. Oceanography. 26(4):68–81, /10.5670/oceanog.2013.76.

    For more information: Full Text

  • Thomas, A.C., R. Mendelssohn and R. Weatherbee. 2013. Background trends in California Current surface chlorophyll concentrations: a state-space view. J. Geophys. Res., 118, 1-16, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20365.
  • Mills, K.E., A.J. Pershing, C.J. Brown, Y. Chen, F.-S. Chiang, D.S. Holland, S. Lehuta, J.A. Nye, J.C. Sun, A.C. Thomas, and R.A. Wahle. 2013. Fisheries Management in a Changing Climate: Lessons From the 2012 Ocean Heat Wave in the Northwest Atlantic Oceanography 26(2). /10.5670/oceanog.2013.27.

    For more information: Full Text

  • Horecka, H.H., A.C. Thomas and R.A. Weatherbee, 2013. Environmental links to interannual variability in shellfish toxicity in Cobscook Bay and eastern Maine, a strongly tidally mixed coastal region. Deep-Sea Res. II, 2.2013.01.013.

    For more information: Full Text

  • Nair, A., A.C. Thomas and M.A. Borsuk, M. A. 2013. Interannual variability in the timing of New England shellfish toxicity and relationships to environmental forcing. Science of the Total Environment. 447, 255-266.
  • Thomas, A.C., P.T.Strub, R. Weatherbee and C. James. Satellite views of Pacific chlorophyll variability: comparisons to physical variability, local versus nonlocal influences and links to climate indices. Deep-Sea Res. 2.
  • Ji R., M. Edwards, D.L. Mackas, J.A. Runge, A.C. Thomas, 2010, Marine plankton phenology and life history in a changing climate:Current research and future directions, J. Plankton Res. 32, 10, 1355-1368.
  • Thomas, A.C., R. Weatherbee, H. Xue, G. Lui, 2010, Interannual variability of shellfish toxicity in the Gulf of Maine: time and space patterns and links to environmental variability. Harmful Algae. 9, 458-480.
  • Runge, J.A., A. Kovach, J. Churchill, L. Kerr, J.R. Morrison, R. Beardsley, D. Berlinsky, C. Chen, S. Cadrin, C. Davis, K. Ford, J.H. Grabowski, W. H. Howell, R.Ji, R. Jones, A. Pershing, N. Record, A. Thomas, G. Sherwood, S. Tallack, D. Townsend. 2010, Understanding Climate Impacts on Recruitment and Spatial Dynamics of Atlantic Cod in the Gulf of Maine: Integration of Observations and Modeling. Progress in Oceanography. 87, 251-263.
  • Di Lorenzo E., J. Fiechter, N. Schneider, A.J. Miller, P.J.S. Franks, S.J. Bograd, A.M. Moore, A.C. Thomas, W. Crawford, A. Pena and A. Hermann, 2009: Nutrient and salinity decadal variations in the central and eastern North Pacific. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L14601, doi:10.1029/2009GL038261.
  • Thomas, A.C., P. Brickley and R. Weatherbee. 2009. Interannual variability in chlorophyll concentrations in the Humboldt and California Current Systems. Prog. in Oceanogr. 83, 386-392.
  • Venegas, R., P.T. Strub, E. Beier, R. Letelier, A.C. Thomas, T.Cowles, C. James, L. Soto-Mardones, C. Cabrera. 2008. Satellite-derived variability in chlorophyll, wind stress, sea surface height, and temperature in the northern California Current System. J. Geophys. Res. 113, C03015, doi:10.1029/2007JC004481.
  • Henson S.A. and A.C. Thomas. 2008. A census of oceanic anticyclonic eddies in the Gulf of Alaska. Deep Sea Res., 55, 163-176.
  • Legaard, K. and A.C. Thomas. 2007. Spatial patterns of intraseasonal variability of chlorophyll and sea surface temperature in the California Current. J. Geophys. Res., 112, doi:10.1029/2007JC004097.
  • Crawford, W.R., P.J. Brickley, and A.C. Thomas, 2007. Eddy Transport into a Cyclonic Gyre: An Example in the Gulf of Alaska, Prog. in Oceanogr., 75, 287-303.
  • Henson, S.A. and A.C. Thomas. 2007. Interannual variability in timing of seasonal chlorophyll increases in the California Current. J. Geophys. Res., 112, doi:10.1029/2006JC003960.
  • Henson, S.A. and A.C. Thomas. 2007. Phytoplankton scales of variability in the California Current system: Interannual and cross-shelf variability. J. Geophys. Res., 112, C07017, doi:10.1029/ 2006JC004039
  • Henson, S.A. and A.C. Thomas. 2007. Phytoplankton scales of variability in the California Current system: Latitudinal variability J. Geophys. Res., 112, C07018, doi:10.1029/ 2006JC004040.
  • Theil, M. et al. 2007. The Humboldt Current system of northern-central Chile: Oceanographic processes, ecological interactions and socioeconomic feedback. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann Rev. 45: 195-345.
  • Mackas, D., P.T. Strub, A.C. Thomas, V. Montecino, 2006, Eastern Ocean Boundaries Pan-Regional View, In: The Sea. A.R. Robinson and K.H. Brink, Editors. Harvard Press Ltd..
  • Townsend, D.W., A.C. Thomas, L.M. Mayer, M.A.Thomas and J.A. Quinlan, 2006, Interdisciplinary oceanography of the northwest Atlantic continental shelf waters. In: The Sea. A.R. Robinson and K.H. Brink, Editors. Harvard Press Ltd..
  • Montecino, V., P.T. Strub, J. Tarazona, F. Chavez, A.C. Thomas and T. Baumgartner. 2006, Bio-physical interactions off western South America, In: The Sea. A.R. Robinson and K.H. Brink, Editors. Harvard Press Ltd..
  • Thomas, A.C. and P. Brickley. 2006. Satellite measurements of chlorophyll distribution during spring 2005 in the California Current. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, doi:10.1029/2006GL026588.
  • Legaard, K. and A.C. Thomas. 2006. Spatial patterns of seasonal and interannual variability in chlorophyll and surface temperature in the California Current. J. Geophys. Res. 111, C06032, doi:10.1029/2005JC003282.
  • Whitehouse, B.G., P.W. Vachon, A.C. Thomas, R.J. Quinn and W.M. Renaud, 2006, Rapid environmental assessment (REA) of the maritime battlespace, Canadian Military J., 7(1): 66-69.
  • Thomas, A.C. and R. Weatherbee. 2006. Satellite-measured temporal variability of the Columbia River plume. Rem. Sensing. Env. 100: 167-178.
  • Dagg, M.J., H. Liu and A.C. Thomas. 2006. Effects of mesoscale phytoplankton variability on the copepods Neocalanus flemingeri and N. plumchrus in the coastal Gulf of Alaska. Deep-Sea Res. 53: 321-332.
  • If you really want to see more papers, from earlier, download my CV from the link under the picture.

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