Current Team
Sebastiaan Swart – Professor

Sebastian Swart_autumn.jpg

Seb’s research interests are focused on understanding the circulation and dynamics in the open ocean, particularly in the Southern Ocean. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, he is investigating the main physical processes of the upper ocean and how these impact both regional and global climate. He employs remotely sensed satellite data and in situ observations from gliders, ships and profiling floats in remote & harsh ocean environments to test novel hypotheses related to submesoscale features, upper ocean stratification and mixed layer processes. He was previously head of a national facility called the South African Marine Engineering & Robotics Centre and now directs the new Swedish Centre for Ocean Observing Technology (SCOOT). This position spurred his activities in pioneering cutting-edge technology, namely gliders, to obtain high-resolution ocean observations that continue to this day. He has Co-Chaired the international Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) and the Southern Ocean Air-Sea Flux (SOFLUX) working group and is currently Co-Chair of the UN Ocean Decade Program & SCOR WG ‘OASIS’ – Observing Air-Sea Interactions Strategy.


Marcel du Plessis – Marie Curie Research Fellow
IMG_5618 copy

Marcel is Marie Skłodowska Curie research fellow with the SPICE project (funded 2021-2023) in the group at the University of Gothenburg, with ongoing collaborations with CSIR, S Africa, Northern Ireland University of Galway and École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He is also working in the SO-CHIC Project.

He has a particular interest in combining ocean observations and modeling to understand how lower atmospheric processes, such as direct ocean heating/cooling and storms affect the surface ocean, eddies, currents, and mixing at the submesoscales.

He is currently investigating how storms impact the air-sea heat flux in the subpolar Southern Ocean to understand how this region, which is critial for absorbing anthropogenic heat and carbon, mitigates the effects of climate warming. He is primarly using observations from ocean gliders, but complements these with data from profiling floats, shipboard measurements, satellite observations, and model reanalyses. These provide information on the lower atmosphere, sea surface and ocean interior, which contains the link between coupled ocean and atmospheric exchanges. His future work will aim to investigate these processes using the PWP 1-D, NEMO 3-D and idealised PSOM (Mahadevan, WHOI) models. You can see more at his personal webpage.

Isabelle Giddy – Post Doc Fellow


Isabelle is an explorer of the natural world, with an unquenchable thirst for learning – from earth system science to anthropology. She has worked in education and marine conservation, speaks five languages, and is a co-founder of LIMPET South Africa, a rocky shore youth citizen science program. Isabelle completed her PhD in 2022 jointly between the University of Gothenburg and University of Cape Town/CSIR, under the supervision of Sebastiaan Swart the co-supervision of Sarah Nicholson and Isabelle Ansorge. Her work is focused on understanding submesoscale processes in the Marginal Ice Zone of the Southern Ocean.


Johan Edholm – PhD student 

20210628_171144~4Johan has previously completed both a B.Sc and a double M.Sc. under the supervision of Sebastiaan, Marcel, and Sarah Nicholson looking to quantify the role atmospheric rivers on the surface buoyancy in the Southern Ocean. In 2019 he joined the SCALE Spring Cruise to the Southern Ocean, deploying buoyancy gliders, Wave Gliders, buoys, both in water and on the ice! He spent his childhood in the archipelago just south of Gothenburg, fishing, tinkering with boat engines, and solving everyday problems around the house. This has led to an intense curiosity for the ocean, what makes it work, and an interest in building things, from decks and stairs, to concrete roads, or small boats from scraps. 

Theo Spira – PhD student

Theo is a PhD student under the supervision of Seb Swart and Marcel du Plessis. He is passionate about climate change, having graduated from the University of Exeter with a Master of Mathematics where he studied geophysical (and some astrophysical) fluid dynamics (thesis on overturning ocean circulation and Stommel’s box model under Prof. Geoffrey Vallis). 

Theo is investigating ocean ventilation across the Southern Ocean by considering how submesoscale processes in the mixed layer can enhance the possibility of transient ventilation events, which may result in changes to heat and carbon fluxes between the atmosphere and ocean. He is particularly interested in whether the seasonality of submesoscale activity causes an increase in likelihood of transient ventilation events or, in other words, an increase in ventilation potential. 


Estel Font – PhD student


Estel’s PhD study is opening up a new and different study region within the group –  investigating the processes governing the air-sea fluxes and submesoscale dynamics in the Gulf of Oman (Arabian Sea) using field missions by SeaExplorer gliders equipped with an ADCP. She is interested in relating these submesocale eddies, filaments and currents to the transport of oxygen to the most intense oxygen minimum zone worldwide found in the Arabian Sea. She is supervised by Bastien Queste and Sebastiaan Swart at the University of Gothenburg. Her bachelors is in Physics at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain) and a MSc in Physical Oceanography at Göteborgs Universitet (Sweden) which she recently published


Recent graduands & allumni
Louise Biddle – Post Doc (2017-2023) – Submesoscales in Antarctic sea ice from seal observations (published in JGR); Ice Mass Balance Buoy air-sea-ice heat fluxes. 
Isabelle Giddy – PhD (2018-2022) – Submesoscale stirring in the Antarctic MIZ (published in JGR); Direct mixing observations of Winter Water (published in JPO); Carbon export and primary production in the Antarctic MIZ (published in GRL). 
Stina Wahlgren – Masters (2021-2022) (with distinction) – SWIFT Buoy measured wave attenuation in Antarctic sea ice (in review JGR).
Martin Mohrmann – PhD (2018-2022) – The Maud Rise Polynya in CMIP6 (published in The Cryosphere) and observing mixing and interleaving at its flanks (published in GRL)
David Hagman Masters 2020-2021 (with distinction) – Icebreaker COAR heat fluxes in the Antarctic MIZ
Johan Edholm – Masters 2019-2020 (with distinction) – Atmospheric rivers and their impact of Southern Ocean surface buoyancy (published in GRL).
Yongqing Cai – PhD Visiting Fellow (China) 2021-2022 – MITgcm Submesoscale analysis in the S Ocean MIZ

Hanna Joy-Warren – Fullbright Scholar 2021-2022 – Saildrone Antarctic Circumnavigation Chl-a variability

Estel Font – Masters 2020-2021 (with distinction)  – Gulf of Oman mixed layer variability from glider data (published in JGR). 

Armand Ledanois – Masters 2020-2021 – EUREC4A/ATOMIC Saildrone data analysis with S Speich

Kevin Thielen – PhD student / Fullbright Scholar 2018-2019 – 1D PWP model mixing in the S Ocean

Johan Edholm – Bachelors 2019 (with distinction) – Atmospheric rivers in the S Ocean as detected using Wave Gliders

Hanna Rosethal – Masters 2019-2020 (with distinction) – Submesoscale fronts and air-sea heat fluxes from Saildrone data

Sun Jing – Bachelor 2019 (with distinction) – Reanalysis SST versus glider surface temperature comparisons with M. Krug

Jethan D’Hotman – Masters 2017-2019 – Gliders in the Agulhas Current with M Krug  

Chloe Blythe – Masters 2019 (with distinction) – Seal tag data and PWP model mixed layers


Isabelle Ansorge, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Alex Brearly, British Antarctic Survey, UK

Karen Heywood, UEA, UK

Celine Hueze, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Marjolaine Krug, CSIR, South Africa

Craig Lee, University of Washington, USA

Amala Mahadevan, WHOI-MIT, USA

Mike Meredith, British Antarctic Survey, UK

Pedro Monteiro, CSIR, South Africa

Sarah Nicholson, CSIR, South Africa

Sabrina Speich, Ecole Normal, France

Laura de Steur, Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway

Sandy Thomalla, CSIR, South Africa

Andrew F. Thompson, CalTech, USA

Jim Thomson, University of Washington, USA

Anna Wahlin, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

%d bloggers like this: