Dr John R. Taylor


  • 2013-present: Fellow, St. John's College
  • 2011-present: University Lecturer, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge
  • 2008-2011: NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Interests

My research focuses on the fluid dynamics of the ocean. I am particularly interested in ocean turbulence and mixing, ocean fronts and the surface boundary layer, and the impact of turbulence on micro-organisms. Recent work has uncovered a fascinating and poorly-understood collection of processes occurring at relatively small scales (<O(10km)) where the vertical motion is strong but stratification and the Earth's rotation are important factors. Since these motions are too small to be directly resolved by global ocean and climate models, understanding their impact on the structure and dynamics of the ocean is one of the most pressing topics in physical oceanography. Currently, I am studying the dynamics of upper ocean fronts, the role of physical processes in triggering phytoplankton blooms, and turbulent mixing in stratified fluids. 

Selected Publications

  • Thomas, L.N. and J.R. Taylor (2014). Damping of inertial motions by parametric subharmonic instability. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 743, 280-294.
  • Ferrari R., S.T. Merrifield and J.R. Taylor (2014). Shutdown of convection triggers increase of surface chlorophyll. Journal of Marine Systemshttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.02.009
  • Shakespeare C.J. and J.R. Taylor (2013). A generalized mathematical model of geostrophic adjustment and frontogenesis: uniform potential vorticity. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 736, 366-413.
  • Thomas L.N., J.R. Taylor, R. Ferrari and T.M. Joyce (2013). Symmetric instability in the Gulf Stream. Deep Sea Research II, 91, 96-110.
  • Taylor J.R. and R. Stocker (2012). Trade-Offs of Chemotactic foraging in turbulent water. Science, 338, 6107, 675-679.
  • Taylor, J.R. and R. Ferrari (2011) Ocean fronts trigger high latitude phytoplankton blooms. Geophysical Research Letters. 38, L23601, doi:10.1029/2011GL049312
  • Taylor, J.R. and R. Ferrari (2011) Shutdown of turbulent convection as a new criterion for the onset of spring phytoplankton blooms. Limnology and Oceanography, 56(6) 2293-2307.
  • Taylor, J.R. and R. Ferrari (2010) Buoyancy and wind-driven convection at mixed layer density fronts. Journal of Physical Oceanography 40, 1222-1242
  • Thomas L.N. and J.R. Taylor (2010) Reduction of the usable wind-work on the general circulation by forced symmetric instability. Geophysical Research Letters. 37, L18606, doi: 10.1029/2010GL044680
  • Taylor J.R. and R. Ferrari (2009) On the equilibration of a symmetrically unstable front via a secondary shear instability. Journal of Fluid Mechanics 622, 103-113