Larry Mayer

  • Director, School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering
  • Director, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping
  • Professor of Earth Science and Ocean Engineering

Research Areas

Sonar imaging, remote characterization of the seafloor, and advanced applications of 3-D and 4-D visualization to ocean mapping problems and as of late, applications of seafloor mapping to Law of the Sea Issues.

Research Emphasis

Larry Mayer has a broad-based background in marine geology and geophysics that is reflected in his association with both the Ocean Engineering and Earth Science Departments.

He graduated magna cum laude with an Honors degree in Geology from the University of Rhode Island in 1973 and received a Ph.D. from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Marine Geophysics in 1979. At Scripps his schizophrenic future was determined as he worked with the Marine Physical Laboratory's Deep-Tow Geophysical package, but applied this sophisticated acoustic sensor to problems of the history of ocean climate. After being selected as an astronaut candidate finalist for NASA's first class of mission specialists, he went on to a Post-Doc at the School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island where he worked on problems of deep-sea sediment transport and paleoceanography of the equatorial Pacific.

In 1982, he became an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Oceanography at Dalhousie University and, in 1991, moved to the University of New Brunswick to take up the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Ocean Mapping.

In 2000, he became the founding director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire and the co-director of the NOAA/UNH Joint Hydrographic Center. Dr. Mayer has participated in more than 90 cruises (over 70 months at sea!) during the last 40 years and has been chief or co-chief scientist of numerous expeditions including two legs of the Ocean Drilling Program and seven cruises on the USCG Icebreaker Healy mapping unexplored regions of the Arctic seafloor in support of a potential U.S. submission for an extended continental shelf under the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Dr. Mayer has served on, or chaired, far too many international panels and committees and has the requisite large number of publications on a variety of topics in marine geology and geophysics. He is the recipient of the Keen Medal for Marine Geology, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Stockholm, the University of New Hampshire's Excellence in Research Award and the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography's Distinguished Alumni Award. He served on the President's Panel for Ocean Exploration, and chaired a National Academy of Sciences committee on "National Needs for Coastal Mapping and Charting.” He is currently co-chairing NOAA's Ocean Exploration Advisory Working Group and chairing the National Academy of Sciences committee on the “Impacts of Deepwater Horizon on the Ecosystem Services of the Gulf of Mexico.


Mayer, Larry A., (In Press), The Continental Shelf and Changing Sea Level, Maritime Boundary Diplomacy, Center for Oceans Law and Policy Series, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Book Section

Mayer, Larry A., Roach, J. A., and Baker, B., (In Press), Deepwater Horizon and the Arctic: Is there a Need for International Regulation, Globalization and Law of the Sea, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Book Section

Mayer, Larry A., (In Press), A U.S. Practitioner’s Perspective, Contributions on Comparative Public Law and International Law, Max Plank Institute. Book Section

Gracia, A., Guinda Salsamendi, Xabier, Juanes, J. A., Rzhanov, Yuri, and Mayer, Larry A., (2012), Application of Landscape Mosaics for the Ecological Status Assesment of Subtidal Macroalgae Communities Using the CFR Index, XIII International Symposium on Oceanography of the Bay of Biscay, Santander, Spain, Apr 4 - Apr 11. Conference Proceeding

Guinda Salsamendi, Xabier, Gracia, A., Puente, A., Juanes, J. A., Rzhanov, Yuri, and Mayer, Larry A., (2012), Landscape Mosaicing Techniques Versus Traditional Sampling Procedures for the Assessment of Subtidal Macroalgae Communities, ECSA'12, Venice, Italy, Jun 3 - Jun 7. Conference Proceeding

De Robertis, Alex, Weber, Thomas C., Mayer, Larry A., and Wilson, C., (2011), Acoustic observations of the deep scattering layer during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 161st meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Seattle, WA, USA, 23-27 May. Conference Abstract

Abramova, Anastasia, Lippmann, Thomas C., Calder, Brian R, Mayer, Larry A., and Monahan, Dave, (2011), Comparison and evaluation of publicly available grids in the Arctic, 6th Bathymetric Science Day, GEBCO. Conference Poster

Rzhanov, Yuri, Fonseca, Luciano, and Mayer, Larry A., (2011), Construction of seafloor thematic maps from multibeam acoustic backscatter angular response data, Computers and Geosciences Journal. Journal Article

Weber, Thomas C., Beaudoin, Jonathan, Shedd, B., Malik, Mashkoor A., Jerram, Kevin, Rice, Glen A., and Mayer, Larry A., (2011), Detecting and mapping gas seeps with a deepwater multibeam echosounder, Subsea and Arctic Leak Detection Symposium, Houston, TX, USA, 8-9 November. Conference Abstract

Weber, Thomas C., De Robertis, Alex, Greenaway, Samuel F., Smith, Shep M., Mayer, Larry A., and Rice, Glen A., (2011), Estimating oil concentration and flow rate with calibrated vessel-mounted acoustic echo sounders, PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), Volume 108. Journal Article

Bell, K L, Ballard, R. D., Coleman, D. F., Roman, C., Brennan, M. L., Turanli, T, Duman, M., Carey, S., Nomikou, P, Marani, M., et al., (2011), New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The 2011 E/V NAUTILUS Field Season, 2011 Fall Meeting, American Geological Union (AGU), San Francisco, CA, USA, 5-9 December 2011. Conference Abstract

Brumley, K, Miller, E L., Mayer, Larry A., Wooden, J L, and Dumitru, T A, (2011), Petrography and U-Pb zircon geochronology of Caledonian age orthogneisses dredged from the Chukchi Borderland, Arctic Ocean, 2011 Fall Meeting, American Geological Union (AGU), San Francisco, CA, USA, 5-9 December 2011. Conference Abstract

Mayer, Larry A., and Armstrong, Andrew A., (2011), U.S. Law of the Sea Cruise to Map the Foot of the Slope and 2500-m Isobath of the U.S. Arctic Ocean Margin, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM)/Joint Hydrographic Center (JHC) , p.1-235 . Report Mayer_2011_cruise_report_HEALY1102.pdf (12.53 MB)

University of New Hampshire
Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping
24 Colovos Road
Durham, NH 03824

Research Areas: 
Ocean Engineering
Ocean and Seafloor Mapping
Sonar Imaging