Dr. Bernard Laval joined the Department of Civil Engineering in June 2002, and currently serves as the Department Head. Additionally, Dr. Laval served as the Associate Head for the Undergraduate Program from 2012-2015 and 2016-2017. His background in Engineering Physics (University of British Columbia) provides him with a very versatile technological base. He has a Masters in Physical Oceanography (McGill University) and a PhD in Environmental Engineering (University of Western Australia). From 1995-1998 Bernard worked as a research scientist developing Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (submersibles) for use as instrument platforms for the study of lakes and coastal waters. Dr. Laval has over 20 years of experience in applied fluid mechanics of inland and coastal waters and has authored several publications on field instrument and numerical model development, as well as description and theory of transport processes in lakes and estuaries.

Research Interests

Field and 3D numerical modeling techniques to describe the spatial and temporal variations of physical processes and their impacts on transport in lakes and coastal waters.


CIVL 215 Fluid Mechanics I
CIVL 315 Fluid Mechanics II
CIVL 416 Environmental Hydraulics
CIVL 542 Physical Limnology
CIVL 543 Turbulent Fluid Dynamics

Student Research Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in joining our research group!

We are always on the lookout for exceptionally bright and eager students to join our team. I supervise MASc and PhD students in Environmental Fluid Mechanics at UBC. I am looking for students who are:

  1. naturally curious about the world around us;
  2. good communicators
  3. independent and creative thinkers; and
  4. proficient in calculus and computational tools.

We seek a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, cultures, and personalities in our lab, and encourage applicants from un(der)-represented groups. Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) positions are limited and competitive. Students who pursue and receive funding through outside scholarships or fellowships greatly increase their likelihood of admission. I keep the team moderately sized so that I can work closely with every student in the group.

More information on the graduate admission process, including deadlines and minimum entry requirements can be found here:

If you would like to join our team, please do the following:
1. Review the requirements for the program you are interested and be sure you meet all the criteria.
2. Review our recent publications on this website to ensure it aligns with your research interests and goals.
3. Contact me by email with:

  • A subject line of “BEL Research Group - Prospective Student: [surname]”
  • A brief (1-2 paragraph) statement of your interest and qualifications in the body of the email,
  • A CV (pdf attachment), and
  • A one-paragraph (<250 word) summary of what you see in the figure below.

Note that due to the large number of unsolicited emails from individuals who would like to participate research activities within our group, I am generally unable to acknowledge receipt and/or reply to all emails.

Thank you again for your interest!


  • I. Hatam, Pettcrew, E. L., French, T. D., Owens, P. N., Laval, B., and Baldwin, S. A., “The bacterial community of Quesnel Lake sediments impacted by a catastrophic mine tailings spill differ in composition from those at undisturbed locations – two years post-spill”, Scientific Reports, vol. 9, pp. 2705-2716, 2019.
  • S. Brenner and Laval, B., “Seiche modes in multi-armed lakes”, Limnology and Oceanography, vol. 63, pp. 2717-2726, 2018.
  • A. K. Hamilton, Laval, B., Mueller, D. R., and Copland, W. F. Vincent, “Dynamic response of an Arctic epishelf lake to seasonal and long-term forcing: implications for ice shelf thickness”, The Cryosphere, vol. 11, 2017.
  • G. B. Kirillin, Forrest, A. L., Graves, K., Fischer, A., Englehardt, C., and Laval, B., “Axisymmetric circulation driven by marginal heating in ice-covered lakes”, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 2893-2900, 2015.
  • V. A. Petryshyn, Lim, D. S. S., Laval, B., and Tripati, A. K., “econstruction of limnology and microbialite formation conditions from carbonate clumped isotope thermometry”, Geobiology, vol. 13, 2015.
  • E. L. Petticrew, Albers, S., Baldwin, S., Carmack, E. C., Dery, S. J., Gantner, N., Graves, K., Laval, B., Morrison, J., Owens, P. N., Selbie, D. T., and Vagle, S., “Initial observations of the impact of a catastrophic mine tailings impoundement spill into a large oligotrophic lake: Quesnel Lake, British Columbia”, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 42, no. 9, pp. 3347-3355, 2015.
  • A. L. Brady, Laval, B., Lim, D. S. S., and Slater, G., “Autotrophic and heterotrophic associated biosignatures in modern freshwater microbialites over seasonal and spatial gradients”, Organic Geochemistry, vol. 67, pp. 8-18, 2014.
  • E. Carmack, Vagle, S., Morrison, J., and Laval, B., “Space-for-time proxy for climate change in deep lake in the Canadian cordillera: Seasonality along a latitudinal climate gradient”, Journal of Great Lake Research, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 608-617, 2014.
  • A. Forrest, Laval, B., Pieters, R., and Lim, D., “A cyclonic gyre in an ice covered lake”, Limnology and Oceanography, vol. 58, no. 1, pp. 363-375, 2013.
  • C. R. Omelon, Brady, A. L., Slater, G. F., Laval, B., Lim, D., and Southam, G., “Microstructure variability in freshwater microbialites, Pavilion Lake, Canada”, Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2013.
  • D. Schulze-Makuch, Lim, D., Laval, B., Turse, C., Resendes, M., de Sousa, A., Chan, O., Pointing, S. B., Brady, A. L., Reid, D., and Irwin, L., “Pavilion Lake Microbialites: Morphological, Molecular, and Biochemical Evidence for a Cold-Water Transition to Colonial Aggregates”, Life, vol. 3, pp. 21-37, 2013.
  • Y. Imam, Laval, B., Pieters, R., and Lawrence, G. A., “Strongly damped baroclinic response to wind in multi-basin reservoirs”, Limnology and Oceanography, 2013.
  • Y. Imam, Laval, B., and Lawrence, G. A., “The baroclinic response to wind in a small two-basin lake”, Aquatic Sciences, 2012.
  • Y. Imam and Laval, B., “The Effect of Along-thalweg Depth Variability on the Baroclinic Response to Wind in Elongated Basins”, Journal of Environmental Fluid Mechanics, 2012.
  • B. Laval, Potts, D. J., Carmack, E. C., Morrison, J., James, C., Vagle, S., Sentlinger, G. I., McLaughlin, F. A., and Foreman, M., “The joint effects of riverine, thermal, and wind forcing on a temperate fjord lake: Quesnel Lake, Canada”, Journal of Great Lakes Research, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 540-549, 2012.
  • A. Forrest, Wittmann, M. E., Schmidt, V., Raineault, N. A., Hamilton, A., Pike, W., Schladow, S. G., Reuter, J. E., Laval, B., and Trembanis, A. C., “Quantitative assessment of invasive species in lacustrine environments through benthic imagery analysis”, Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, vol. 10, pp. 65-74, 2012.
  • D. Schulze-Makuch, Laval, B., Lim, D., and Irwin, L., “The Rise of Complexity: Pavilion Lake microbialites suggest a pathway towards macroorganism communities”, Hypotheses in Life Sciences, vol. 2, pp. 55-59, 2012.
  • D. S., Lim, S., Brady, A. L., Abercromby, A. F., Andersen, D. T., Andersen, M., Arnold, R. R., Bird, J. S., Bohm, H. R., Cady, S. L., Cardman, Z., Chan, A. M., Chan, O., Chenard, C., Cowie, B. R., Davil, A., Deans, M. C., Dearing, W., Delaney, M., Downs, M., Fong, T., Forrest, A., Gernhardt, M. L., Gutsche, J. R., Hadfield, C., Hamilton, A., Hawes, I., Hansen, J., Heaton, J., Imam, Y., Laval, B., Lees, D., Leoni, L., Looper, C., Love, S., Marinova, M. M., McCombs, D., McKay, C. P., Mullins, G., Nebel, S. H., Nuytten, P., Pendery, R., Pike, W., Pointing, S. B., Pollack, J., Raineault, N., Reay, M., Reid, D., Sallstedt, T., Schulze-Makuch, D., Seibert, M., Shepard, R., Slater, G. F., Sumner, D. Y., Suttle, C. A., Trembanis, A. C., Turse, C., Wilhelm, M., Wilkinson, N., Williams, D., Winget, D. M., and Winter, C., “A Historical Overview of the Pavilion Lake Research Project – Analog Science and Exploration in an Underwater Environment.”, Geological Society of America Special Issue: Analogs for Planetary Exploration, 2011.
  • A. Forrest, Andradottir, H. O., and Laval, B., “Wind regime reconditioning of an underflow in a subarctic lake”, Aquatic Sciences, vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 361-374, 2011.

For a full list of my publications, visit my profile on:

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