Alex Horner-Devine


Environmental Fluid Mechanics

Alex Horner-Devine

163 Wilcox Hall, Box 352700
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-2700
Phone: (206) 685-3032

Alex Horner-Devine started his career in fluid mechanics as a whitewater kayaking instructor. He then studied fluid mechanics in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. Seeking to return closer to his roots, he entered graduate studies in Environmental Fluid Mechanics at Stanford University, where he completed his MS and PhD degrees. Alex joined the Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty at the University of Washington in Fall 2004.


  • PhD Stanford University, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2003
  • MS Stanford University, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 1998
  • BSE Princeton University, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1995


  • CEE 347 Fluid Mechanics
  • CEE 474 Sediment Transport
  • CEE 570 Hydrodynamics

Research Interests

  • Environmental fluid mechanics
  • Coastal oceanography and geophysical fluid dynamics
  • River plumes
  • Sediment transport
  • Laboratory experiments and field observations


Infrared imaging of instability at a plume front
Duwamish River estuary
Merrimack River plume (MA)
Wave-supported gravity currents
River plume dynamics
Sediment dispersal in river plumes
Coherent structures and the distribution of age



  • Yuan, Y. and A. R. Horner-Devine, 2017. Experimental investigation of vortex dynamics in a freely spreading gravity current. In press Physics of Fluids
  • Flores, O., Riley, J.J. and R. Horner-Devine, 2017. On the dynamics of turbulence near a free surface. J. Fluid Mech. 821: 248-265, doi:10.1017/jfm.2017.209.
  • Horner-Devine, A. R. and C.C. Chickadel, 2017. Lobe – cleft instability in the buoyant gravity current generated by estuarine outflow. Res. Lett. 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL072997.
  • Flores, R., S. Rijnsburger, R. Horner-Devine, A. Souza, J.D. Pietrzak, 2017. Sediment fluxes in the mid-field region of the Rhine region of freshwater influence. J. Geophys. Res. 122, doi:10.1002/2016JC012362.
  • Horner-Devine, A.R., D. Pietrzak, A. Souza, S. Meirelles, M. Henriquez, M.A. McKeon, R. Flores, S. Rijnsburger, 2017. Cross-shore transport of surf-zone sediment by river plume frontal pumping. Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL073378.
  • Beuzen, T., C.C. Chickadel and R. Horner-Devine, 2016. The Influence of Sub-Surface Stratification on Turbulence and Aeration in a Tidal River. IEEE Geosci. Remote Sens. Lett. 13(12): 1975-1978.
  • Poggioli, A.R. and A.R. Horner-Devine, 2015. The sensitivity of salt wedge estuaries to channel geometry. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 45, 3169–3183.
  • Hooshmand, A., A. R. Horner-Devine and M. P. Lamb, 2015. Structure of turbulence and sediment stratification in wave-supported mud layers, J. Geophys. Res. 120, doi:10.1002/2014JC010231.
  • Horner-Devine, A. R., R. D. Hetland and D.G. MacDonald, 2015. Transport and mixing in coastal river plumes. Annu. Rev. of Fluid Mech. 47:569–94.
  • Thomson, J., A. R. Horner-Devine, S. Zippel, C. Rusch, and W. Geyer, 2014. Wave breaking turbulence at the offshore front of the Columbia River Plume, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, doi:10.1002/2014GL062274
  • Kakoulaki, G., D.M. MacDonald, A.R. Horner-Devine, 2014. The role of wind in a near- to mid-field river plume. Geophys. Res. Lett. 41, doi:10.1002/2014GL060606.
  • Meirelles, S., A.R. Horner-Devine, M. Henriquez, M. Stive, J. Pietrzak and A.J. Souza, 2014. Middle shoreface sand transport under the influence of a river plume, J. Coastal Res. 70:182-186, doi:10.2112/SI70-031.1
  • McKeon, M.A., A.R. Horner-Devine and S.N. Giddings. Seasonal changes in structure and dynamics in an urbanized salt wedge estuary. In review, Estuaries and Coasts
  • Yuan, Y. and A.R. Horner-Devine, 2013. Laboratory investigation of the impact of lateral spreading on buoyancy flux in a river plume. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 43(12): 2588-2610
  • Talke, S.A., A.R. Horner-Devine, C.C. Chickadel and A.T. Jessup, 2013. Turbulent kinetic energy and coherent structures in a tidal river. J. Geophys. Res. 118, 6965–6981.
  • Horner-Devine, A.R. C.C. Chickadel and D.M. MacDonald, 2013 Coherent Structures and Mixing at a River Plume Front. Coherent Flow Structures in Geophysical Flows at the Earth’s Surface eds. J.G. Venditti, J. Best, M. Church and R.J. Hardy.  .pdf
  • Jessup, A.T., C.C. Chickadel, S.A. Talke and A.R. Horner-Devine, 2013. COHSTREX: Coherent Structures in Rivers and Estuaries Experiment. Coherent Flow Structures in Geophysical Flows at the Earth’s Surface eds. J.G. Venditti, J. Best, M. Church and R.J. Hardy.
  • Nowacki, D.J., A.R. Horner-Devine, J.D. Nash, D.A. Jay, 2012. Rapid sediment removal from the Columbia River plume near field. Cont. Shelf Res. 35 pg.16-28.
  • Giddings, S. N., D. A. Fong, S. G. Monismith, C. C. Chickadel, K. A. Edwards, W. J. Plant, B. Wang, O. B. Fringer, A. R. Horner-Devine, and A. T. Jessup, 2012. Frontogenesis and frontal progression of a trapping-generated estuarine convergence front and its influence on Mixing and Stratification. Estuaries and Coasts 17 pg., doi:10.1007/s12237-011-9453-z.
  • P. L. D. Roberts, J. V. Steinbuck, J. S. Jaffe, A. R. Horner-Devine, P. J. S. Franks and F. Simonet, 2011. Estimation of in situ, three-dimensional particle distributions from a stereo laser imaging profiler. IEEE J. Oceanic Eng. , 36:4 pg. 586-601 doi: 10.1109/JOE.2011.2165923
  • Chickadel, C. C., S. A. Talke, A. R. Horner-Devine, A. T. Jessup, 2011. Infrared based measurements of velocity, turbulent kinetic energy, and dissipation at the water surface in a tidal river. IEEE Geosci. Remote Sens. Lett. . 8:5 pg. 849-853 doi:10.1109/LGRS.2011.2125942.
  • Yuan, Y, M.E. Avener and A.R. Horner-Devine, 2011. A two-color optical thickness method for determining layer depth in two interacting buoyant plumes. Exp. Fluids . 50:5, pg. 1235-1245, doi: 10.1007/s00348-010-0969-y
  • Kudela, R. M., A. R. Horner-Devine, N. S. Banas, B. M. Hickey, T. D. Peterson, E. J. Lessard, E. Frame, K. W. Bruland, M. Lohan, D. A. Jay, J. Peterson, B. Peterson, M. Kosro, S. Palacios and E. P. Dever, 2010. Multiple trophic levels fueled by recirculation in the Columbia River plume. Geophys. Res. Lett. 37: 7 pg. L18607 doi:10.1029/2010GL044342.
  • Talke, S.A., A.R. Horner-Devine and C.C. Chickadel, 2010. Mixing layer dynamics in periodically stratified flow over an estuarine sill. J. Geophys. Res. , 115: 17 pg, C09004, doi:10.1029/2009JC005467.
  • J.V. Steinbuck, P. Roberts, C.D. Troy, A.R. Horner-Devine, F. Simonet, Uhlman, J.S. Jaffe, S.G. Monismith and P.J.S. Franks, 2010. An Autonomous Open-Ocean Stereoscopic PIV Profiler. J. Atmos. Ocean. Tech. 27:1362-1380. doi:10.1175/2010JTECHO694.1.
  • Hickey, B. M., R. M. Kudela, J. D. Nash, K. W. Bruland, W. T. Peterson, P. MacCready, E. J. Lessard, D. A. Jay, N. S. Banas, A. M. Baptista, E. P. Dever, P. M. Kosro, L. K. Kilcher, A. R. Horner-Devine, E. D. Zaron, R. M. McCabe, J. O. Peterson, P. M. Orton, J. Pan, and M. C. Lohan, 2010. River Influences on Shelf Ecosystems: Introduction and Synthesis. J. Geophys. Res. , 115: 26 pg, C00B17, doi:10.1029/2009JC005452.
  • Plant, W.J., R. Branch, G. Chatham, C.C. Chickadel, K. Hayes, B. Hayworth, A.R. Horner-Devine, D.A. Fong, O.B. Fringer, S. N. Giddings, and B. Wang, 2009 Remotely sensed river surface features compared with modeling and in-situ measurements. J. Geophys. Res. , 114: 13 pg, C11002, doi: 10.1029/2009JC005440.
  • Spahn, E. Y., A. R. Horner-Devine, J. D. Nash, D. A. Jay, and L. K. Kilcher (2009), Particle re-suspension in the Columbia River plume near-field, J. Geophys. Res. , 114, C00B14, doi:10.1029/2008JC004986.   .pdf
  • Chickadel, C.C., A.R. Horner-Devine, S.A. Talke and A.T. Jessup. 2009. Vertical boil propagation from a submerged estuarine sill. Geophys. Res. Lett . 36, L10601, doi:10.1029/2009GL037278   .pdf
  • Horner-Devine, A.R. 2009. The bulge circulation in the Columbia River plume, Cont. Shelf Res. , 29, 234–251,   .pdf
  • Horner-Devine, A.R, D. A. Jay, P. M. Orton and E.Y. Spahn. 2009. A conceptual model of the strongly tidal Columbia River plume, Journal of Marine Systems . 78, 460–475 doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2008.11.025   .pdf
  • Jay, D.A., J. Pan, P.M. Orton, and A.R. Horner-Devine. 2009. Asymmetry of tidal plume fronts in an eastern boundary current regime. Journal of Marine Systems , 78, 442–459   .pdf
  • Curtiss, G.M., P.D. Osborne and A. R. Horner-Devine. 2009. Seasonal patterns of coarse sediment transport on a mixed sand and gravel beach due to vessel wakes, wind waves, and tidal currents. Marine Geology 259, 73-85, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2008.12.009   .pdf
  • Morrison, R.R., R.H. Hotchkiss, M. Stone, D. Thurman and A. R. Horner-Devine. 2009. Turbulence characteristics of flow in a spiral corrugated culvert fitted with baffles and implications for fish passage. Ecological Engineering 35: 381-392   .pdf
  • Horner-Devine, Alexander R., Derek A. Fong, and Stephen G. Monismith. 2008. Evidence for the inherent unsteadiness of a river plume: Satellite observations of the Niagara River discharge. Limnol. Oceanogr. 53: 2731-2737.   .pdf
  • MacDonald, D. G., and A. R. Horner-Devine (2008), Temporal and spatial variability of vertical salt flux in a highly stratified estuary, Journal of Geophysical Research , 113, C09022, doi:10.1029/2007JC004620.   .pdf
  • Horner-Devine, A.R., D.A. Fong, S.G. Monismith and T. Maxworthy, 2006. Laboratory experiments simulating a coastal river discharge, Journal of Fluid Mechanics . 555, 203-232   .pdf
  • Horner-Devine, A.R. 2006. Velocity, density, and transport measurements in rotating, stratified flows, Experiments in Fluids , 1-13, DOI 10.1007/s00348-006-0181-2   .pdf