Dr (Mrs.) Mala Damayanthi Amarasinghe
Ph D (Salford), M Phil (Peradeniya), B Sc (Peradeniya)

University Location : Room No. B1 313
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Telephone: +94-11-2914480/2903229
Fax: +94-11-2914480

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I am a B Sc hounors graduate (in Botany) from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (1980) and I have earned an M Phil degree from the same university in 1990 for the thesis based on research that I carried out on structural and functional properties of mangrove ecosystems of a lagoon on the north western coast of Sri Lanka. I pursued Ph D studies in Environmental Science at the University of Salford, UK and I was conferred the degree for the thesis submitted on “Environmental assessment for wetland management in Sri Lanka” which involved development of EIA methods particularly for tropical wetlands. I served as a scientist at the National Aquatic Resources Agency of Sri Lanka for 15 years and was engaged in research on coastal wetland ecology and management in Sri Lanka. I also participated in collaborative research with other local and overseas institutions including universities, research institutions and community-based organizations. Subsequently I joined the Department of Botany at the Open University of Sri Lanka in 1997 as a senior lecturer and was involved with development of post-graduate programmes in Environmental Science and production of audio-visual material for teaching Ecology. I joined the Department of Botany in University of Kelaniya as a senior lecturer in 1998. In 2000/2001, I taught Tropical Wetland Ecology and Management in a postgraduate programme on “ Environmental Management in the Third World” conducted by the Royal Holloway College, University of London. In addition to undergraduate teaching I also was involved with developing a postgraduate programme on Biodiversity and Integrated Environmental Management at the Department of Botany and at present serve as its coordinator.




Plant ecology, tropical wetland ecology and management, EIA and environmental assessment, environmental management, production of audio-visual teaching material, interpretation of remotely sensed data and preparation of maps.


Research Interests:


Detritus and nutrient dynamics in mangrove ecosystems and man-made freshwater wetlands, phytoremediation potential of wetland plants, ecological engineering techniques for waste water treatment using wetlands and wetland plants, indigenous knowledge on aquatic resource conservation and management, decision-support systems for natural resource management, mangrove and sea grass ecology


Special Training:


Mangrove research methodologies, assessment of wetland nutrient dynamics, EIA techniques, wetland functional assessment, database development.


Current Research Activities:


Phytoremediation potential of freshwater wetland plants, plant-based wastewater treatment systems, diversity and distribution of mangroves and sea grasses, coastal resources management.


Selected Publications:


Perera K.A.R.S. and Amarasinghe M.D. 2014. Effect of vegetation structure on carbon assimilation capacity of mangrove ecosystems in the east coast of Sri Lanka. J. Coast. Dev. 17:382. doi: 10.4303/1410-5217.1000382

 Perera, K.A.R.S  Amarasinghe, M.D. and Somaratna, S. 2013. Vegetation structure and species distribution of mangroves along a soil salinity gradient in a micro tidal estuary on the North-western coast of Sri Lanka. American Journal of Marine Science 1 : 7-15. doi: 10.12691/marine-1-1-2.

Madurapperuma, B.D., Amarasinghe, M.D. and Oduor, P.G. 2013. Salient ecological functions of a tropical freshwater wetland. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research & Management 18: 45–51. doi: 10.1111/lre.12019

Amarasinghe, M.D. and Pugh Thomas, M. 1995. The environmental impact assessment system in Sri Lanka, with special reference to the shrimp farming industry. The International Journal of Environmental Education and Information, 14(3)


Amarasinghe, M.D. and Balasubramaniam, S. 1992. Structural properties of mangrove stands on the north western coast of Sri Lanka. Hydrobiologia , 247: 17-27


Amarasinghe, M.D. and Balasubramaniam, S. 1992. Net primary productivity of two mangrove forest stands on the north western coast of Sri Lanka. Hydrobiologia, 247: 37-47


Amarasinghe, M.D. 1997. Ecological functions of mangrove and related ecosystems and their contribution to economic sustainability. Sri Lanka Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 2: 1-20


Amarasinghe, M.D. 1997. Leaf litter decomposition in the mangrove ecosystems of Dutch bay, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 2: 21-28


Pahalawattaarachchi, V. and Amarasinghe, M.D. 1997.Leaf litter decomposition and changes in leaf C:N ratio in the mangals of Negombo lagoon (Sri Lanka). Sri Lanka Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 2: 29-42

Amarasinghe, U.S.; Amarasinghe M.D. & Nissanka, C. 2002. Investigation on the Negombo estuary (Sri Lanka) brush park fishery with an emphasis on community based management. Fisheries Management and Ecology 9: 41-56

Amarasinghe, M.D. & Jayamanne, S.C. 2004. Functional evaluation for wetland management: A case study from a river basin in Sri Lanka. In J.M. Jahi, K. Arifin, S. Surif & S. Idrus (eds) Proceedings of Second World Conference on Environmental Management, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia: 65-71

Amarasinghe, M.D., Liyanage, J.A & Nirbadha, K.G.S. 2004 Presence of heavy metals in lants of a tropical freshwater wetland in Sri Lanka as an indicator of their relative phytoremediation potential for heavy metal contaminated water from urban runoff. In J.M. Jahi, K. Arifin, S. Surif & S. Idrus (eds) Proceedings of Second World Conference on Environmental Management, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia: 311-319