Advanced research on the transport and behaviour of contaminants in water bodies requires the integration of knowledge in Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Aquatic Chemistry and Biology. Environmental Fluid Mechanics is a relatively new and evolving field of study which seeks to examine the fundamental role of fluid motions in determining environmental quality. When an understanding of fluid mechanics can be coupled to knowledge of the transformations and fate of contaminants and nutrients, water management alternatives for natural systems can be adequately developed and evaluated. The scope of Environmental Fluid Mechanics is perhaps best defined by considering some of the problems that it addresses. Topics of current interest include the rehabilitation of lakes (reaeration, artificial recirculation, hypolimnetic withdrawal), the wind-wave induced suspension of mine tailings, the feasibility of the subaqueous disposal of mine tailings, the dispersion of nutrients and pollutants in lakes and coastal waters, the fluid mechanics of nutrient uptake in seaweed, the generation and dynamics of internal waves in lakes and reservoirs, hydrodynamic stability, turbulence and mixing in stratified flows, the development of biomonitors for aqueous contaminants, biotransformation of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in sediments, distribution, concentrations and movement of toxic materials in aquatic environments.
Specialized facilities for studies in Environmental Fluid Mechanics include recirculating sediment flumes, fresh water flumes, stratified flow facilities, laser doppler anemometer, acoustic doppler velocimeter, 5 watt laser for flow visualization, wave flume and wave basin, current meters, conductivity probes and thermistor arrays.
We have an array of equipment for field experiments including UBC-Gavia, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), conductivity-temperature depth (CTD) instruments, acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP), and conductivity and thermister cells for moorings.