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Reef Life is Collaborating with Absolute Vorticity, LLC to Better Understand Ocean Dynamics

Reef Life is so excited to be returning to Sint Maarten this year for another round of fieldwork with a collaborative team of ocean scientists from IntelliReefs, iSENSYS, LLC, and Absolute Vorticity, LLC!

Dr. Jo-Ann Rosario-Llantín is the Owner of Absolute Vorticity, LLC. She is a physical oceanographer originally from the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. She is currently established in Melbourne, Florida.

“My family and I always loved going to the beach and although we didn’t go as often as I’d liked, when we went to the beach it meant to be there by sunrise and stay until sunset. We would walk the beach, explore the tidepools, race hermit crabs, and it was always the best day. Until one day when my mom and I almost drowned together. My friends also playing in the shallow water almost drowned as well, at almost the same time. I was around 10 years old when that happened, it took an entire year for me to stop using a life preserver whenever we went to the beach. That experience, although terrifying it also ignited my curiosity about the “why and how” it had happened, what was different that day and how those conditions developed? It took me many years to learn what kind of scientists could answer those questions and it took me several more years to become one of them.

I was fortunate to earn a Master degree in Marine Sciences on Physical Oceanography at the UPRM with research focused on characterizing tidal currents along the Mona Passage, my graduate advisor was always very supportive and his passion for hands-on and seagoing oceanography is still an inspiration to me today. After a five-year detour in Tucson, Arizona where I worked for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's Border Programs, also as a Research Assistant for the Environmental and Evolutionary Biology Department in the GLOBE Project at the University of Arizona, and volunteered for the then Sonoran Sea Aquarium initiative on their educational and outreach efforts… I finally return to the ocean sciences in the Fall of 2004. I moved to Melbourne, Florida to pursue a doctoral degree in physical oceanography at Florida Institute of Technology and my research centered on the application of a three dimensional hydrodynamic-eutrophication numerical model to study a section of a coastal estuary.

Because my research experience spans from “blue water” to “brown water” oceanography, I am able to see the “big picture” of a problem and how things are connected while working on the details of its solution. The ocean has given my career purpose, the ocean has given my life meaning. I believe we can work together to find sustainable solutions and restore what makes our planet unique and livable. Each of us is directly affected by the state of our oceans and we should all do our part to save it.”

In 2014 Dr. Jo-Ann Rosario-Llantin began to offer consulting services in response to a need for a preliminary study on the possible placing of a new WEC design in the Caribbean. After that, she began working with Florida Institute of Technology as a consultant in some of the projects she had participated as a doctoral student in oceanography, making it a seamless progression of sorts.

In 2017, Dr. Jo restructured her consulting business and Absolute Vorticity was established. Absolute Vorticity continues to provide consulting services for FIT (numerical modeling of the IRL; dynamical processes at Sebastian Inlet).

Additionally, Absolute Vorticity has an in-house FAA-Part 107 certified sUAV pilot and currently hold a special permit to fly within Sebastian Inlet State Park.

Absolute Vorticity is a small consulting firm led by a physical oceanographer familiar with the coastal processes shaping our shores and with the hydrodynamical processes and water quality issues of estuaries like the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). We are interested in and experienced with developing and applying various technologies to handle analyses of large data sets of environmental parameters. In the field, we often employ: ADCPs, CTDs, Water Quality Sondes, and Unmanned Vehicles (AUVs or small drones, ROVs, Surface Marine Survey Vehicles or ASVs).

Our areas of expertise include:

  • oceanographic, coastal, and estuarine dynamics (circulation patterns, water quality, pollutant transport)

  • image-based shoreline change analysis

  • GIS mapping

  • aerial imagery and photogrammetry

  • hydrodynamic numerical modeling

  • field instrumentation and sensors for data collection

  • technical reporting of findings


Absolute Vorticity is dedicated to apply scientific methodologies and creative technologies to gather the information necessary to further our understanding of the physical processes governing our coastal environment. We are a data analysis group that enjoys data collection. We engage in sampling activities of physical parameters in the marine environment through the use of classical or standard techniques as well as through the use of newer and creative technologies and/or methodologies, some of which are instituted or created in-house or through the collaboration with other scientific/technology groups. We are interested in the development and application of new and interesting technologies for the collection and interpretation of marine and environmental data.


To support scientific missions by way of enhancing data collection and analyses critical to improving the knowledge of our coastal environment.

Past and Current Projects and Activities

  • Characterization of Tidal Currents along Mona Passage (two 75kHz ADCP at 450m depth and on S4 current meter at 34 m)

  • Founded Coastal and Environmental Research Applications, Inc (CERA)

  • IRL Spoil Island adoption (BC-36 and BC44A) – regular clean up commitment

  • Volunteering with several nonprofit and scientific and environmental group

  • Flushing rates in Mosquito Lagoon and North IRL with hydrodynamical model

  • Pilot study with sUAV at Sebastian Inlet State Park to monitor longshore sediment transport and other short-term events

  • Data Updates of IRL Hydrodynamical numerical studies with Florida Institute of Technology

  • Sebastian Inlet Annual Report (shoreline change analysis)

  • Collaboration with iSENSYS in the application of Surface Unmanned Vehicles, Wave Buoy, and other potential applications of newer technologies

In February 2019, we began what would become a daily collaboration with iSENSYS. This collaboration with Chandler Griffin and his company iSENSYS not only allow us to explore other areas of mutual interest but also grow our capabilities and make them available to a broader base of clients.

In collaboration with iSENSYS, the potential applications that can result from their customizable systems include but are not limited to:

  • Updated bathymetric information for navigational safety

  • Changes in bathymetry related to muck “drift”

  • Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) conditions

  • Search and rescue operations

  • Coral reef studies and monitoring

  • Port and harbour security

  • Surveillance of marine protected areas

  • Shoreline change, erosion monitoring (on spoil islands, beaches and estuarine banks)

  • Oyster and seagrass restoration monitoring

  • Near to real-time information about maritime weather conditions

  • Data access to improve numerical modeling of marine systems

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