Complex Systems Laboratory
Currently our web pages are down and in revision because of a slow migration to new computers, so for a bunch of weeks all we can offer is the home page of CSL Director Brad Werner

The Complex Systems Laboratory investigates, through modelling and field measurements, Earth and planetary surficial features and processes. My research is focussed on (i) addressing the general issue of the constraints that dynamics places upon the behaviour of natural systems and the consequent implications for modelling and measurements, and (ii) investigating the behaviour of particular systems from polar, arid, nearshore and anthropogenic environments, given these constraints. I teach classes on a range of topics in complex systems and geomorphology. Details below...

To contact me, send an email to
Complex Systems Laboratory
Climate, Atmospheric Sciences and Physical Oceanography Division
University of California - San Diego
La Jolla, California 92093-0234 USA
I look forward to hearing from you.

My research interests include...

  • Complex systems, self-organisation, geophysical pattern formation and patterns in vegetation..
  • Arctic landscapes, permafrost, glaciers, ice sheets and glacial geomorphology.
  • Nonlinear dynamics of human-landscape interactions, theory and philosophy of modelling, models for the dynamics of science and human consciousness.

Selected papers...

  • MA Kessler and BT Werner (2003) Self-Organization of sorted patterned ground, Science, 299, 380-383. 
  • LJ Plug and BT Werner (2002) Nonlinear dynamics of ice-wedge networks and resulting sensitivity to severe cooling events, Nature, 417, 929-933. 
  • LJ Plug and BT Werner (2001) Fracture networks in frozen ground, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, B5, 8599-8613. 
  • MA Kessler, AB Murray, BT Werner and B Hallet (2001) A model for sorted circles as self-organized patterns, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, B7, 13,287-13,306. 
  • BT Werner (2003) Modeling landforms as self-organized, hierarchical dynamical systems, in R Iverson and P Wilcock, eds., Prediction in Geomorphology, Geophysical Monograph 135, AGU Press, 133-150. 
  • LB Clarke and BT Werner (2003) Synoptic imaging of nearshore bathymetric patterns, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, C1, 5-1--5-14. 
  • LB Clarke and BT Werner (2003) Tidally modulated occurrence of megaripples in a saturated surf zone, Journal of Geophysical Research, in press. 
  • G Coco, TK Burnet, BT Werner and S Elgar (2003) Test of self-organization in beach cusp formation, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, C3, 46-1--46-11. 
  • G Coco, TK Burnet, BT Werner and S Elgar (2003) The role of tides in beach cusp development, Journal of Geophysical Research, accepted. 
  • B.T. Werner and G. Kocurek (1999) Bedform spacing from defect dynamics, Geology, 27, 727-730.
  • B.T. Werner (1999) Complexity in natural landform patterns, Science, 284, 102-104.
  • B.T. Werner and G. Kocurek (1997) Bedform dynamics: Does the tail wag the dog?, Geology, 25, 771-774.
  • B.T. Werner (1995) Eolian dunes: computer simulations and attractor interpretation, Geology, 23, 1107-1110.
  • W.L. Landry and B.T. Werner (1994) Computer simulations of self-organized wind ripple patterns, Physica D, 77, 238-260.
  • B.T. Werner and T.M. Fink (1993) Beach cusps as self-organized patterns, Science, 260, 968-971.
  • B.T. Werner and D.T. Gillespie (1993) Fundamentally discrete stochastic model of wind ripple dynamics, Physical Review Letters, 71, 3230-3233.
  • B.T. Werner and B. Hallet (1993) Numerical simulation of self-organized stone stripes, Nature, 361, 142-145.
Courses I have taught...
  • Introduction to the Physics of Complex Systems
  • Field Geomorphology of Southern California
  • Field Geomorphology of Eastern California 
  • Glaciers, Ice Sheets and Glacial Geomorphology
  • Rivers
  • Tectonic Geomorphology
  • Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Controversies in Geomorphology
  • Modeling Natural Systems
  • Sediment Transport
  • Wetlands (on tap for 2004-5!)


    Undergraduate Students I have advised include

  • Thomas Fink, Fellow, St. John’s College, Univ. of Cambridge
  • Walter Landry, Postdoctoral Researcher in Physics, UCSD
  • Jon O’Brien, Senior Engineer, Xsilogy, San Diego
  • Ravi Ramamoorthi, Assistant Professor, Columbia University
  • Eric Wilcox, Postdoctoral Researcher in Climate Studies, Princeton University
  • Graduates Students I have advised

  • Lawrence Plug, Ph.D. 3/00: Ice-wedge networks and 'whale-hole' ponds in frozen ground.
  • Mark Kessler, Ph.D. 5/02: Models for sorted patterned ground. Currently at Univ. Colorado, Boulder
  • Linden Clarke, Ph.D. 7/02 Surf zone megaripples. Currently at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Dylan McNamara, in progress: Emergent behavior of ice streams and coupled human-natural systems
  • Postgraduate Researchers I have advised

  • Brad Murray 4/96-7/98: Assistant Professor, Duke University.
  • Lawrence Plug, 4/00-3/02. Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University.
  • Giovanni Coco, 3/00-3/03. Research Oceanographer, National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research, New Zealand.

  • When not working, I like to ride my bike, hang out with my dog, hike and backpack in interesting places and oppose the damage my country and culture are inflicting on the Earth and its inhabitants.

    Photos of landscapes I enjoy