Jeffrey Richey


School of Oceanography
University of Washington
Box 355351
Seattle WA 98195 USA


Professor, School of Oceanography, Univ. of Washington, 1990-

Adjunct Professor, Quaternary Research Center, Civil and Environmental Engineering,Forest Resources

Visiting Professor, University of Sao Paulo, 2012

Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, member of the Academia Brasileira de Ciências (Brazilian Academy of Sciences), member of the World Bank's Hydrology Expert Facility, recipient of the Medalha Ademar Cervellini de Merito Academico (the Ademar Cervellini Medal of Academic Merit) of the University of Sao Paulo, and the Zayed International Prize for the Environment with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment,

Educational Background

B.A., Biology, Stanford University, 1968

M.S.P.H., Environmental Biology, University of North Carolina, 1970

Ph.D., Ecology, University of California, Davis, 1974

Research Interests

Drainage basin and riverine biogeochemistry, hydrological cycles, sediment transport, and gas fluxes; from field, modeling and remote sensing; with a focus on large drainage basins and land ocean interaction in the coastal zone. Development of integrated system models, ultimately expressed as "dynamic information frameworks (DIF)," as the means to converge and disseminate complex information.


Jeff got his start in Biology and Ecology at Stanford, studying barnacles at the Hopkins Marine Station and the Checkerspot butterfly at Jasper Ridge, under Paul Ehrlich. He then went to the University of North Carolina, and began to learn the principles of systems ecology and energetic, from Howard Odum. From Chapel Hill, he went to UC Davis, studying Limnology with Charles Goldman, working on phosphorus dynamics in a mountain lake of northern California and salmon decomposition in Lake Tahoe.  After finishing his thesis (before, actually), Jeff came to the Fisheries Research Institute at the University of Washington, working on the lakes portion of the Coniferous Forest IBP project. He focused on field measurements and modeling of biogeochemical cycles across lakes of Western Washington. As part of IBP, he worked with the "Stream Team," as they developed the principles of the River Continuum theories. This involvement led to consideration of the Amazon River, as the end-member of the continuum of rivers. Together with colleagues at the University of Washington, MIT, and the USGS, Jeff participated in the research expeditions of the RV Alpha Helix, on the Amazon, producing among the first analyses of the carbon dynamics of very large rivers. This work led to the development of the Carbon in the Amazon River Experiment (CAMREX), a long-term progam funded over time by NSF Ecosystem Studies and by NASA (Earth Observing System, LBA). An important part of this work was the close partnership with Brazilian institutions, particularly the Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA, Piracicaba) and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia (INPA, Manaus). This work then lead to comparative analyses of riverbasins of Southeast Asia, through the SEA-BASINS project, funded by NSF and NASA. An important question here was not only the basic functioning of these systems, but developing the capabilities to think about human impacts. The lessons learned in studying large basins were brought back to the Pacific Northwest, through the development of the PRISM (Puget Sound Regional Synthesis Model). The objectives of this project include using advances in synthetic studies of land and sea (including computer technologies necessary to do this) to address regional issues. Jeff is now working with international development agencies, on the application of systems capabilities to the data-sparse and transboundary regions of Southeast and South Asia and Africa.