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.
Visiting Graduate Student
My research uses experiments with live and model plants and numerical simulation to understand the interaction of flexible plants with current and waves. The leaves and stems of flexible plants reconfigure (bend) in response to currents and waves, and this impacts the drag. I am creating predictive models that capture the reconfiguration of both leaves and stems and the impact on hydrodynamic drag. These models will be used to predict the wave attenuation associated with marsh grasses.
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.
International Visiting Student 2016-2107
At MIT I used numerical experiments to explore how different configurations of floating treatment island impacted pollutant removal in a detention pond.
Visiting Graduate Student (2015-2016)
Current Position: State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
At MIT I studied the flow and deposition around a model patch of vegetation with different degrees of submergence and different blade lengths. The deposition of fine material, rich in nutrients and organic matter, is considered a precursor to growth, so the ability to predict the regions of fine-particle deposition will allow us to predict the future growth patterns in vegetated landscape.
For profiles of current lab members, visit the current members page.