New CCS postdoc Dr. Hithaishi Hewageegana will develop a hydrodynamic model of the Caloosahatchee River estuary to predict harmful algal blooms

Dr. Hithaishi Hewageegana joined the Center for Coastal Solutions (CCS) and Engineering School for Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment (ESSIE) as a Postdoctoral Associate in January 2022. Hithaishi will be working alongside Dr. Maitane Olabarrieta and CCS-affiliated colleagues to understand how flow and nutrients from Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River Watershed will impact the coastal water quality and the generation of harmful algal blooms. This multi-institute and multi-discipline research project is funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Hithaishi’s focus on the project is the hydrodynamic modeling the Caloosahatchee River estuary and the surrounding coastal area. Using physics-based state of the art numerical models, the researchers will try to understand the circulation patterns in the area and forecast possible harmful algal bloom events.

Hithaishi’s main area of expertise is in numerical modelling (hydrodynamic and morphodynamic) of coastal environments. He received his Ph.D. in Coastal Engineering from the University of Florida, in 2020. His research was on morphodynamic modelling of beaches and on how to improve onshore sandbar migration and beach recovery in coastal models. Hithaishi also has a Masters in Coastal Engineering from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, which he earned in 2017.

Hithaishi is originally from Sri Lanka. Coming from an island nation, he is passionate about coasts and strives to solve the various issues faced in these dynamic environments. Hithaishi is excited to join CCS and work alongside the many enthusiastic scientists who are meeting the challenges head on and providing sustainable solutions to make the world a better place.