Professor Ryan Lowe

Leading breakthrough research into coastal engineering and oceanography

Professor Ryan Lowe is a researcher and professor, whose expertise focuses on understanding and predicting coastal processes. His research bridges the fields of coastal engineering and oceanography and involves studying ocean waves and currents in the ‘coastal zone’, including how they drive processes such as coastal flooding, beach erosion and water quality.

Changes in global climate are increasingly exposing coastal populations and infrastructure to a range hazards, for example, due to sea level rise and changing frequency and intensity of storms. Professor Lowe’s work aims to understand and predict these changes, how they impact the coastal zone, and ultimately identifying strategies for adaption and mitigation of these changes using novel approaches.

A particular focus of Professor Lowe’s research has been on understanding the hydrodynamics driven by waves and currents in the coastal zone (e.g. on beaches, coral reefs, and rocky shorelines). In most cases, this work is motivated by the need to improve our understanding of the coupling between hydrodynamics and other key processes occurring in marine environments, such as sediment transport, marine ecology and the impact to/from coastal infrastructure.

Professor Lowe works closely with the UWA Oceans Institute and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at which he is program leader for the Responding to a Changing World project.

He has also been editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans since 2014 and teaches the Oceanography and Marine Systems units.

His major research interests include: 

  • Coastal hydrodynamics
  • Numerical modelling of waves and coastal circulation
  • Coastal sediment transport
  • Benthic boundary layer and canopy flow dynamics
  • Nature based coastal flood defence
  • Marine renewable energy
  • PhD, Stanford University (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • M.S. Stanford University (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • B.S. University of California (Mechanical Engineering)
UWA has a unique breadth of oceans expertise than spans the fields of ocean engineering, oceanography, marine geoscience, ocean policy, law and marine management. Combined with its phenomenal location on the Indian Ocean and extensive coastline, it is well positioned to bring together multidiscipline knowledge and foster innovation that is required to solve ocean challenges. Professor Ryan Lowe

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ARC Future Fellowship, 2011-2015

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UWA Vice Chancellor’s Mid-Career Research Award, 2014

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Excellence in Teaching Award for Coursework – Individual Teacher, 2010

The science behind our coastal livelihood



An Australian storm wave damage and beach erosion Early Warning System, ARC Linkage

  • Lowe, R, Hansen J

Real-time data display of UWA coastal data

  • Hansen, J., Cuttler, M., Bowyer, C., & Lowe, R.

Strategic outreach activities to promote UWA's expansion of renewable wave energy research in Albany

  • Lowe, R., Wolgamot, H., Paterson, A., O'Neil, J., Techera, E., Draper, S., Hansen, J., Rijnsdorp, D. & Gaudin, C.


Albany Wave Energy Project – Wave Energy Research Centre

  • Gaudin, C., Draper, S., Lowe, R., Hansen, J., O'Loughlin, C. & Wolgamot, H.

Redefining sediment transport predictions in benthic ecosystems, ARC Discovery Project

  • Lowe, R., Ghisalberti, M.

Hydrodynamics and Sediment Dynamics along Coral Reef-lined Coasts

  • Lowe, R., Hansen, J. 


From single to multiple wave energy converters: Cost reduction through location and configuration optimisation

  • Lowe, R., Hansen, J., O'Loughlin, C., Tian, Y., Gaudin, C. & Cassidy, M.
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Supervisor opportunities

Contact Professor Ryan Lowe