Daniel MacDonald, PhD


Civil & Environmental Engineering


SMAST / Estuarine & Ocean Sciences



School for Marine Science & Technology East, New Bedford 233


School for Marine Science & Technology East, New Bedford 233


2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint Program Ph.D. in Oceanographic Engineering
1996 Cornell University M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering
1992 Univeristy of New Hampshire B.S.C.E.


  • Environmental Fluid Mechanics
  • Pollutant Transport in the Environment
  • Turbulence
  • Wave Mechanics
  • Stratified Flows and Estuarine Dynamics

Research interests

  • Environmental Fluid Mechanics
  • Turbulence and Mixing
  • River Plume Dynamics
  • Marine Renewable Energy
  • Environmental Data Collection with Autonomous Vehicles

Research activities

  • Office of Naval Research. The Role of Scale in the Development and Evolution of Stratified Shear Turbulence, Entrainment and Mixing. D. MacDonald and M. Raessi. $155,121. 2015-2019.
  • Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council, Reducing the cost of wave energy with an innovative tethered ballast system. D. MacDonald. $239,898. 2016-2018.
  • Department of Energy (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy), as subcontractor to Littoral Power Systems, Inc. A cost-disruptive, low impact, modular form factor low-head hydropower system. D. MacDonald. $196,192 ($1,421,666 total). 2016-2018.
  • Other ongoing research includes use of the UMassD turbulence microstructure equipped autonomous underwater vehicle (T-REMUS) to quantify coastal turbulence in a variety of settings.

Select publications

Horner-Devine, A.R., R. D. Hetland, and D. G. MacDonald (2015).
Mixing and Transport in Coastal River Plumes
Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 47, 569-594.

MacDonald, D.G., J.O. Carlson, and L. Goodman (2013).
On the heterogeneity of shear-stratified turbulence: Observations from a near-field river plume
Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans, 118, 6223-6237.

D.G. MacDonald and F. Chen (2012).
Enhancement of turbulence through lateral spreading in a stratified-shear flow: Development and assessment of a conceptual model.
Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans, 117, C05025.

At UMass Dartmouth, Dr. MacDonald leads the Coastal Engineering and Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, which focuses research in a variety of areas related to coastal physics and engineering. Basic and applied research encompasses the areas of stratified hydrodynamics, turbulence and frontal dynamics—with specific emphasis on estuarine flows, river plumes, and industrial discharges. A significant research focus also lies in the area of renewable energy, including wave energy and the hydrodynamic aspects of other marine renewable technologies, and conventional hydropower. He is also actively involved in the utilization of robotic platforms for environmental data acquisition in coastal and inland aquatic environments.

Dr. MacDonald is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Geophysical Union.


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