Environmental Fluid Dynamics


Professor Mathew Wells

Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences

Email address: m.wells@utoronto.ca

Twitter: @EFD_Toronto , @WaterPathways

Youtube: video channel

My  research group aims to quantify the mixing in environmental flows, particularly those in large lakes and the coastal ocean where stratification and the Earth’s rotation play a dominant role in the dynamics. We are particularly interested in how physical processes in lakes structure biological processes such as fish habitat usage and winter  dynamics of oxygen in frozen lakes.

We study such mixing and dispersion in both the field studies and through laboratory studies.


Togethor with Cosima Porteus, I lead WATER PATHWAYS  Research Cluster. This cluster funded by the UTSC CSPP program, and is focused on how to best optimize the urban ecosystem services of the Great Lakes that control our water security, affect fish habitat, influence transportation, and allow for recreation. Our goal is to understand the transport and fate of nutrients, pollution, sediments and biology between rivers and near-shore zones of the Great Lakes.



Currently our main areas of research are in the study of turbidity currents, density currents , double diffusive convection, sediment laden convectionrotating turbulence, Coriolis effects, biological fluid coupling, dispersion in environmental flows,  dynamics of internal seiches, surface seiches and under-ice processes in the Great lakes.







Vortices in shear flows Dispersion of ballast water






Brief CV


2021 -present,  Professor, University of Toronto.

2011 – 2021, Associate Professor, University of Toronto.

2006 – 2011, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto.

2003 – 2005 Research Associate, Department of Geology, Yale University

2001 – 2002 Post Doctoral Fellow, Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Department of Applied Physics,
Eindhoven Technical University, The Netherlands

1997 – 2001 PhD in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Research School of Earth Sciences, 
Australian National University

1993 – 1996 Bachelor of Science  – First Class Honours
 Australian National University



2011 Early Researcher Award – Ontario Ministry of Innovation

2011 NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement

2016 NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement