Portrait of Barbara Hickey

Barbara Hickey

Professor Emeritus


As one of the first female physical oceanographers to work at a university in the United States, Barbara Hickey has earned an international reputation for her studies of the interactions between estuaries and oceans in coastal ecosystems. Her research spans a variety of topics, from the biophysical properties of low-oxygen environments, to the rise of harmful algal blooms in coastal waters and how they can affect shellfish populations. For the past several years, she and her students have worked in southwest Washington to describe the effects of the Columbia River plume, a massive influx of freshwater that jets into the Pacific Ocean and drives much of the region’s ecology. In recognition for contributions to the basic science of atmosphere and the oceans throughout her career, she was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.