Assistant Professor National University of Singapore
Aquatic vegetation damps waves and currents, protecting shorelines from erosion. My research combines physical and numerical experiments to develop models that predict the impact of vegetation on wave damping, turbulence generation, and sediment fate. Read more about my work here.
Assistant Researcher, Dalian University of Technology
Many natural plants are composed of leaves and stem, both of which are flexible and reconfigure (bend) in response to current and waves. The motion of plant elements impacts the plant drag, which in turn, modifies the flow structure and turbulent intensity, decreases in-canopy flow velocity, and dissipates wave energy. My research uses experiments with live and model plants, numerical simulation, and field investigation to understand the interaction of flexible plants with current and waves and to build physical-based simple predictive models for plant drag, flow structure, and wave dissipation.
Historically, logjams have been removed from rivers due to concerns of flooding, erosion, and destruction of property. However, new research has demonstrated that logjams have beneficial properties including generating pools that protect salmoniod spawing, propagule retention sites, and increasing biodiversity. For these reasons, engineered logjams are being introduced into rivers across the Northwest of the United States. To better identify the key components that enable logjams to create suitable habitat for salmonid fish, I am conducting physical experiments with model logjams. These experiments vary the dimensions and solid volume fraction of the log jam, and measure the velocity and turbulence in the wake. After characterizing the dimensional effects of the logjams, suggestions on which type of logjam is most suitable given what is known about fish preference are made.
Asst. Professor, East China Normal University
State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research
The evolution of vegetated landscape occurs through the interplay of flow, vegetation, and sediment transport. There is a lack of predictive models that accurately account for the impact of vegetation morphology on sediment transport. Most previous studies have only considered circular cylinders as a model for vegetation. My study focuses on the sediment transport in channels with realistic models of emergent cattail. First, flume experiments will be used to describe and predict the turbulence level and form drag within a canopy of cattails. Second, the incipient sediment motion will be investigated and compared with the bare channel. Finally, I will attempt to construct a theoretical model that predicts sediment transport rate in channels with different distributions of realistic cattail models.
Georgette Tso is an MEng student studying green seawalls. Seawalls are a common infrastructure used to protect coastal regions from storm surge and waves. Historically, seawalls have been constructed from marine concrete blocks with smooth, vertical geometry. Because the seawalls eliminate intertidal zones, they diminish marine biodiversity. To make seawalls more hospitable to marine fauna, researchers have introduced texture and shapes to seawall surfaces, and introduced concrete mixes with enriched levels of CaCO3. This study will compare marine cement and enriched cement for the attributes of recruitment rate and durability (measured through changes in material strength). The study can inform installation choices for optimizing green seawall design. Knowledge of recruitment and durability under high wave exposure is particularly relevant to future Boston-area developments.
Current Position: PhD student, Wuhan University
My research examines turbulence and sediment transport in flows with submerged vegetation. Turbulence can be generated by the wakes of individual plants. In addition, the velocity is redistributed by submerged vegetation, and a shear layer is formed at the top of the canopy, which generates canopy-scale turbulence.
School of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering
North China Electric Power University
My study focused on the effects of submerged vegetation on sediment resuspension under waves. The plant-generated turbulence was shown to promote sediment resuspension, changing the velocity threshold for resuspension.
Professor, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
My research is in the broad area of Environmental Fluid Mechanics. I am particularly interested in (1) the influence of floating treatment inlands (FTIs) on the mass retention and sedimentation, (2) the influence of vegetation on groyne fields, (3) the evolution of vegetation in channels, and (4) the hyporheic exchange in stream restoration.
Now: Sichuan University, Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction
In my first project, I characterized the drag forces on individual mangrove trees in random and in-line tree distributions. I also studied the effect of floating aquatic vegetation on the velocity field and mass removal from a channel. Finally, I created an experiment to measure sediment transport inside regions of clustered vegetation.
Assistant Professor in University of Minnesota (Sept 2020)
At MIT my researched focused on the sediment transport inside a vegetation patch. Vegetation is a basic component of most natural water environments and has been widely used in river restoration, yet few practical models exist to predict the incipient motion and rate of sediment transport in a canopy. Using a LDV, a high-speed camera and a sediment-recirculating flume, I quantitatively connect the sediment motion with the flow characteristics inside vegetation canopies.
Visiting Graduate Student Nanjing Inst. of Geography and Limnology
Now at Liaocheng University
At MIT I studied the effect of submerged vegetation on wave-induced sediment resuspension. Previous studies suggest that the near-bed turbulence level is correlated with sediment resuspension. My experiment measured velocity and sediment concentration simultaneously, to determine the threshold level of turbulence needed for resuspension. In addition, I developed models to predict the level of near-bed turbulence associated with stem-wake turbulence generation.
Mangrove forests are an integral part of coastal ecosystems — they store carbon, provide habitat, and serve as a natural barrier to wave forces. My research quantified the degree to which mangrove forests dissipate tidal energy at varying growth densities and arrangements.
For profiles of current lab members, visit the current members page.