Contact InformationBryan Tolson

Phone: 519-888-4567 x33377
Location: E2 2316

Biography Summary

Bryan Tolson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

His research expertise lies in heuristic optimization methods for environmental simulation model calibration, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis techniques for environmental simulation modelling, and watershed modelling of flow and nutrient transport.

Dr. Tolson’s research interests include discovering advanced methods for environmental simulation model development and subsequent use in environmental decision-making, environmental simulation models, parallel computing, soft computing, forecasting water levels, and optimizing water management policies. His current modelling case studies involve application to the SWAT2000, Watflood and Watclass models. To help fund his research, Dr. Tolson has received a NSERC Discovery Grant, IP3 collaborator grant, and an Environment Canada G&C Grant over time.

He is affiliated with the American Geophysical Union, as well as the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society. Additionally, Dr. Tolson has published several articles and journals under the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Research Interests

  • Hydrologic model calibration
  • Hydrology
  • Water resources planning and management
  • Environmental & Water Resources
  • Environmental simulation model development
  • Environmental decision-making
  • Parallel computing
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Soft Computing


  • 2004, Doctorate, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
  • 2000, Master of Applied Science, Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia
  • 1998, Bachelor of Applied Science, Environmental Science, University of Guelph


  • ENVE 399 - Seminar
    • Taught in 2016
  • GEOE 399 - Seminar
    • Taught in 2016
  • CIVE 497 - Special Topics in Civil Eng
    • Taught in 2016
  • ENVE 400 - Environmental Eng DesProject 1
    • Taught in 2016
  • GEOE 400 - Geological Eng Design Proj 1
    • Taught in 2016
  • CIVE 781 - Pr. of Hydrologic Modelling
    • Taught in 2017
* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Tolson, Bryan and Craig, James, A new fit-for-purpose model testing framework: Decision Crash Tests, , 2016
  • Haghnegahdar, Amin and Tolson, Bryan A and Craig, James R and Paya, Karol T, Assessing the performance of a semi-distributed hydrological model under various watershed discretization schemes, Hydrological Processes, 29(18), 2015, 4018 - 4031
  • Xu, Xiaoyong and Tolson, Bryan A and Li, Jonathan and Staebler, Ralf M and Seglenieks, Frank and Haghnegahdar, Amin and Davison, Bruce, Assimilation of SMOS soil moisture over the Great Lakes basin, Remote Sensing of Environment, 169, 2015, 163 - 175
  • Shafii, Mahyar and Tolson, Bryan and Matott, L Shawn, Improving the efficiency of Monte Carlo Bayesian calibration of hydrologic models via model pre-emption, Journal of Hydroinformatics, 17(5), 2015, 763 - 770
  • Khedr, Ayman and Tolson, Bryan, Comparing optimization techniques with an engineering judgment approach to WDN design, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 142(5), 2015

Graduate Studies

  • Currently accepting applications for graduate students