Dr. James M. Kaihatu, Professor and Associate Department Head for Research, with a Gretsch G5623 electric guitar.


201F and 310D DLEB


Ph +1-979-862-3511 (310D)
Ph +1-979-845-1353 (201F)

Research Interests

My primary interests involve many aspects of surface wave generation and propagation, including shelf-scale wave transformation, nonlinear wave-wave interaction, tsunami inundation, wave breaking and nearshore circulation, and the effects of various bottom types. Recently, I have started working on transport of contaminated sediments and water quality issues in estuaries, with a specific focus on Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel. I am also interested in data assimilation, and the ability to invert known or best-deduced dynamics to yield information such as bottom characterization parameters, input conditions and bathymetry.


Ocean wave propagation and generation, wave transformation, nearshore nonlinear dynamics, wave breaking, nearshore circulation, transport of contaminated sediments, modeling of water quality in estuaries, wave propagation over cohesive sediments, data assimilation, tsunami propagation, waves over vegetation.


16 December 2020: Congratulations to Jin Young Kim, who successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation.

19 November 2020: We are presently working on a new website for the research group. We expect this site to go dark toward the beginning of next year, but we will endeavor to make sure that the new site will be up and running prior to this. The new site is in development but you can have a look at the site in its present state if you wish.

3-9 October 2019: I participated in a damage survey of coastal structures and infrastructure in the Bahamas associated with Hurricane Dorian. The survey centered on Marsh Harbour (Abaco Island), Man-O-War Cay, and Freeport (Grand Bahama Island). In addition, high water marks were also surveyed where possible. This work was done under the guidance of the Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance Network (StEER), supported by the National Science Foundation. I recently gave a presentation to the department's advisory panel; the PowerPoint Presentation slide show can be viewed here.

27 June 2019: I have been appointed to be the new editor of the ASCE Journal of Waterway, Ports, Coastal and Ocean Engineering. My initial three-year appointment starts 1 October 2019.

17 May 2019: Congratulations to Xin Yang, who successfully defended his M.S. thesis.

29 November 2018: I was invited to give an overview on coastal infrastructure and community resilience at the Connected Coast Infrastructure Summit, hosted by the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. The talk (PowerPoint Presentation Slide Show) can be viewed here. A brief video about the summit can be seen here.

13-14 November 2018: I co-organized and participated in a workshop (sponsored by the National Science Foundation) to outline new directions in coastal engineering.

2-8 November 2018: I participated in a damage survey of coastal structures and infrastructure at Mexico Beach, FL connected with Hurricane Michael.

25 June 2018: An advance copy of Advances in Coastal Hydraulics has arrived.

June 2018: Four graduate students from my research group have successfully defended their work. Congratulations to David Pauling (M.S.), Mourya Penugonda (M.S.), Wonhyun Lee (Ph.D.) and John Goertz (Ph.D.).

7 April 2018: I was recently interviewed for DesignSafe Radio, part of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure network supported by the National Science Foundation. The interview can be heard on several websites; this link is from Stitcher. The entire series can be heard in podcast form from iTunes here.

2 March 2018: The World Scientific volume Advances in Coastal Hydraulics, co-edited with Dr. Vijay Panchang (Professor and Program Chair, Mechanical Engineering Program, Texas A&M University at Qatar), will be released in August 2018.

12 December 2017: Our work on tsunami-island interaction was written up in the 12 December 2017 issue of EOS, the newsletter of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Link to PDF of article.


This semester (Summer 2020) I will be teaching:

Office hours are available on the Meeting Schedule. For a list of other courses that I teach and their related on-line materials, visit the Teaching pages of this web site.