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Thushara Gunda


Postdoctoral Fellow


Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 
M.S., Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
B.S., Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
B.A., Environmental Thought and Practice (Interdisciplinary Policy Major), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Research Interests

  • Security of water, food, energy, and waste resources 
  • Natural resource planning, development, and management
  • Integration of physical and social science research


Gunda, T., J.T. Bazuin, J. Nay, and K.L. Yeung (2017). Impact of seasonal forecast use on agricultural income in a system with varying crop costs and returns: an empirically-grounded simulation. Environmental Research Letters, DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa5ef7. Model available online at OpenABM

Davis, K., J. Gephart, and  T. Gunda  (2016). Future environmental impacts of Sri Lanka’s policy on self-sufficiency in rice. AMBIO, DOI: 10.1007/s13280-015-0720-2.

Gunda, T.,  G.M. Hornberger, and J. Gilligan (2016). Spatiotemporal patterns of meteorological drought in Sri Lanka from 1880-2010. International Journal of Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.4365.

Gunda, T., L. Benneyworth, and E. Burchfield (2015). Exploring water indices and associated parameters: a case study in two South Asian countriesWater Policy, DOI: 10.2166/wp.2014.022.

Gunda, T. and T. Scanlon (2013). Topographical and Hydrological Influences on the Spatial Distribution of Mercury at the Catchment Scale. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution,  DOI: 10.1007/s11270-013-1511-7.

Projects in progress

  • Characterization of patterns in crop water demands of Sri Lankan rice irrigation systems 
  • Development of data-light proxies for reference crop evapotranspiration estimates (machine learning approach)
  • Evaluation of climate change on streamflow and subsequent impacts to community dynamics in acequias of northern New Mexico (system dynamics approach) 
  • Quantification of waste streams in the United States 
  • Assessment of food-energy-water nexus in African nations
  • Application of datasets from GRACE and SMAP satellite missions for water budget modeling
  • Comparative assessment of natural and social drivers of water security in US states

Hobbies and Interests

Hiking, rock climbing, dancing, cooking, and yoga