Daniel MacDonald - professor - SMAST, College of Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering


Daniel MacDonald, PhD


SMAST / Estuarine & Ocean Sciences

Professor / Co-Chairperson

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Research Website



School for Marine Science & Technology East, New Bedford 233



Violette Research 107B


2003Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint ProgramPh.D. in Oceanographic Engineering
1996Cornell UniversityM.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering
1992Univeristy of New HampshireB.S.C.E.


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




Research activities

  • Investigating the evolution of an advancing river plume front in collaboration with researchers at UMaine and UConn. Specifically, UMassD is focused on turbulence and mixing in the front, with data collected from the UMassD T-REMUS
  • Development of the maximal asymmetric drag wave energy converter (MADWEC), for use in providing at-sea power for moorings, autonomous vehicles and communications.
  • Drone based elevation surveys of Buzzards Bay salt marshes in collaboration with the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Project.
  • 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.


Research awards

  • $ 496,876 awarded by Office of Naval Research for UMassD MUST IV: Development of a Remotely Deployable MADWEC Wave energy Conversion System for Utilization with a Sonobuoy Deployed Balloon Communication Package
  • $ 33,308 awarded by Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program | EPA for Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems to Monitor Salt Marsh Loss from Climate Change and Other Factors, Year 2
  • $ 373,048 awarded by Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for Closing the Experience Gap
  • $ 59,549 awarded by EOM OFFSHORE, LLC for Development of a Low Cost, Low Maintenance Maximal Asymmetric Drag Wave Energy Converter (MADWEC)
  • $ 32,500 awarded by The Link Foundation for Link Ocean Engineering & Instrumentation Ph.D. Fellowship


Research interests

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

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.


      External links