Student Spotlight: Daniele Pinton

Daniele Pinton, PhD student, Civil and Coastal Engineering Department 

Daniele Pinton is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida (ESSIE). He is currently studying how sea level rise affects the release of fecal bacteria from septic systems by combining groundwater and surface water models, calibrated by field measurements of pollutant concentrations and fluid flow in the groundwater and surface water. Daniele is also focusing on coastal protection through nature-based techniques, pairing an oyster population model with a wave model to predict the post-restoration survival rate of oyster reefs and to estimate their contribution to wave dissipation and coastal protection.

Daniele completed a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2015 and a master’s in Hydraulic Engineering in 2018 at the University of Padova in Italy. After graduation, he worked as a numerical modeler and hydraulic engineer in Italy.

Daniele joined Assistant Professor Alberto Canestrelli’s lab in Spring 2019, and through his research won a fellowship with the University of Florida Informatics Institute in 2020 and developed three models.

His models can: identify the spatial distribution and the geometric properties of mussel mounds in a salt marsh from high-resolution detection systems, identify the spatial distribution Spartina alterniflora in coastal environments from high-resolution lidars and images, and calculate surface water velocity in a salt marsh by tracking dye drops released from a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle).

In addition, Daniele modeled hydrodynamics and particulate matter to estimate the Filtration Services of Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica). The model results show that oyster reefs populating the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas (GTM) estuary improved water quality by filtering about 60% of the estuary’s volume within 12.6 days. The model also proved that the spatial distribution of the filtration service at the reef and watershed scales varied spatially across the estuary, and that, at the watershed scale, filtration services depended on the distribution of the reefs in the watershed and on the proportion of the watershed area they occupy. For this research, the One Health Center of Excellence at the University of Florida awarded Daniele a fellowship in 2019.  

In his free time, Daniele plays his saxophone!