Hydrology and Fluid Dynamics

Research in the Hydrology and Fluid Dynamics track within Environmental Engineering Science covers some of the most modern open problems in environmental fluid dynamics, hydrology and water resources. Major themes include: 

  • hydrometeorology (rainfall dynamics, land-atmosphere interaction, remote sensing),
  • eco-hydrology (impact of hydroclimatic variability on ecosystems and feedbacks on the hydrologic cycle and local climate),
  • contaminant transport hydrology (surface-subsurface interactions), and
  • water cycle dynamics and human health, and stochastic hydrology).

Our approach to these complex problems is multifaceted and ranges from advanced theoretical computational analyses, to unique laboratory and field experiments such as the long term Duke Forest experiment.

Opportunities for Graduate Study


Doctoral and Master of Science study in environmental engineering at Duke is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on a broad slate of faculty in the Pratt School of Engineering and the Nicholas School of the Environment. Students have considerable flexibility in crafting a graduate program that suits individual interests, but the core of this curriculum is described in the Hydrology and Fluid Dynamics study track.


The department also offers a program of study towards the Masters of Engineering (MEng) in Environmental Engineering. This 30-credit degree program includes course work towards departmental requirements, an area of specialization, business and management fundamentals, and an internship or applied research experience. There are currently four areas of specialization offered within this degree program:

  • Environmental Engineering and Public Policy;
  • Environmental Process Engineering;
  • Ecohydrology and Environmental Fluid Dynamics; and
  • Environmental Nanotechnology

Hydrology and Fluid Dynamics Faculty

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Surface hydrology and boundary layer meteorology; semi-arid vegetation dynamics; Large eddy simulation of turbulence and turbulent transport; urban air quality; hydroclimatic controls on infectious disease dynamics.
James L. Meriam Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering
Physics of water cycle processes in mountainous regions with a focus on cloud formation and precipitation; remote sensing of the environment using microwave and infrared sensors; long– range predictability and risk analysis of natural hazards; computational environmental fluid mechanics and...
Professor in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Division
River processes (hydraulics, hydrology, sediment transport, ecology) River policy (Clean Water Act, hydropower relicensing, large river management)
Professor Emeritus
Assistant Professor of Oceanography
Environmental fluid mechanics, shallow-water physical oceanography, physical-biological interactions in marine environments, and marine technology
Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Stochastic and deterministic theory of fluid flow and contaminant transport in saturated and unsaturated heterogeneous porous media, theory of related measurements, field and laboratory studies in subsurface hydrogeology, stochastic fields and processes, numerical and analytical methods and...
Professor in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy
Atmospheric chemistry, Regional and Global Modeling and Atmospheric chemical data analysis
Theodore S. Coile Professor of Hydrology and Micrometeorology
Micrometeorology and surface hydrology, Carbon and water cycling, and Environmental fluid dynamics
Assistant Professor of Watershed Hydrology in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy
Assistant Professor of Climate
Dr. Li's research interests focus primarily on climate dynamics, land-atmosphere interaction, hydroclimatology, and climate modeling. Her current research is to understand how the hydrological cycle changes in the current and future climate and their impacts on the ecosystems, subtropical high...
Professor of Eco-hydrology
My research interests include: understanding, through observations and modelling how the interaction between vegetation species and erosion/deposition processes leads to observed intertidal landforms, vegetation patterns, and biodiversity; development of an observational and a modelling...
Nicholas Professor of Earth Systems Science in the Nicholas School of the Environment
Addy Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Near-wall turbulence, nonlinear analysis of hydrologic time series, stochastic soil moisture dynamics and water balance, soil-atmosphere interaction, and ecohydrology, complexity in the environment, sustainable use of soil and water resources.
Professor with Tenure
Dr. Richardson's research interests are in the area of applied ecology and are centered on wetlands ecology and restoration. The objectives of his research are to utilize ecological principles to develop new approaches to environmental problem solving. The goal of his research is to provide...
Professor of the Practice of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Current research focuses on sustainable engineering, community development, water and wastewater treatment design, stormwater retention/detention and treatment design, hazardous waste remediation, urban hydrology, constructed wetland and stream restoration design, ecological stabilization,...

Adjunct Hydrology & Fluid Dynamics Faculty

Adjunct Professor
Turbulence in fluids and its representation. Multiscale decompositions of turbulent flows. The Navier-Stokes, the Large Eddy and the Reynolds equations. Reynolds modeling and subgrid scale modeling for the Large Eddy Simulation of turbulent flows. Hybrid RANS/LES modeling.
Adjunct Professor
Terrain analysis. Surface flow propagation. Surface-subsurface flow interaction. Flood protective measures. Flood control reservoirs. Wildlife impact on earthen dams and levees.
Research Assistant, Ph D Student