Megan is studying the hydrodynamic forces imparted to organisms living on rocky shores. Breaking waves impose severe hydrodynamic forces on intertidal plants and animals, playing a major role in shaping the ecology of wave-swept rocky shores. However, the largest wave-imposed forces are poorly understood. It has long been assumed that lift, drag, and buoyancy dominate the intertidal environment. However, a less well known force – the impingement force – may actually be larger. Impingement is characterized by a sharp, transient force imposed on emersed objects within 0.05 seconds of a wave’s arrival, and preliminary data indicate that it is the greatest hydrodynamic force exerted on intertidal plants and animals.
Using the lab’s gravity-driven water cannon, Megan is studying the causes of impingement forces, and the effects on the rocky shoreline near Hopkins.
Prior to joining the Denny Lab, Megan earned her B.S.E. at the University of Michigan in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. After two years in corporate America, she decided to turn to marine biology in hopes of pursuing a research career in marine biomimetics.