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The Bob and Norma Street Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory

Research in the Bob and Norma Street Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory (EFML) is home to state-of-the-art field and laboratory equipment to study pressing problems in environmental and geophysical fluid dynamics, hydrology, and water resources.

The EFML was known as the Hydraulics Laboratory and was renamed the EFML in 1986 to more accurately reflect the research interests of the faculty. In 2013, the lab was renamed the Bob and Norma Street Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory in honor of the contributions and tireless support of the laboratory by Professor Robert Street and his wife, Norma. Robert Street was the founding director of the EFML from 1986 to 1991, Jeffrey Koseff served as director from 1991 to 1996, after serving as the associate director from 1986 to 1991, and Stephen Monismith has been the director since 1996. Research in the lab is focused on turbulence and mixing in natural water bodies and particularly the near-coastal environment; stratified flows in lakes, reservoirs, estuaries and coastal seas; physical-biological interactions in coastal and estuarine flows; sedimentation in reservoirs; and sediment transport in watersheds, lakes and estuaries.

The EFML has three major experimental research facilities and a set of smaller facilities. The major facilities include two large wave-current flumes and a stratified flow tank for studying internal gravity waves. Research using the two large wave-current flumes can document flows over coral reefs, kelp forests and sea-grass, reflecting the ever-growing interest in biological fluid mechanics in the EFML, which is now regarded as a national leader in biological fluid mechanics for environmental flows. The laboratory has state-of-the-art laboratory-scale measurement capabilities, including PIV (particle image velocimetry), PLIF (planar laser-induced fluorescence), laser-Doppler anemometry and acoustic-Doppler velocimetry.

The EFML is also home to state-of-the-art field instrumentation used to understand numerous complex environmental flows, such as waves breaking over coral reefs, mixing and transport in kelp forests and sea grass canopies, internal gravity waves in lakes and coastal seas, and sediment transport in lakes and estuaries. Instrumentation is available to measure currents and turbulence with ADCPs (acoustic Doppler current profilers) and ADVs (acoustic Doppler velocimeters); temperature and salinity with thermistors and CTD sensors (conductivity, temperature, depth); suspended sediment concentrations with OBSs (optical backscatter sensors), a LISST (Laser In Situ Scattering and Transmissometer) and an automated water sampler; and real-time imaging of fish behavior with the ARIS (Adaptive Resolution Imaging Sonar). The EFML is also home to an AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) that is used to obtain spatial distributions of currents and temperature to augment the instrumentation that measures time series of fluid properties at fixed points in space.

The EFML also supports field studies of hydrometeorologic and ecohydrologic processes and fluxes using meteorological stations, evaporation pans, throughfall collectors, portable streamflow flumes and weirs, soil moisture sensors, piezometers, pressure loggers and sediment traps.