Dr Sharyn Hickey

Remote sensing and spatial ecology of coastal environments

Advancement in remote sensing data and spatial applications offer a new frontier in marine and coastal habitat assessment for sustainable management.Dr Sharyn Hickey

Dr Sharyn Hickey’s research interests focus on geographical elements of environmental systems, and how spatial and temporal models can examine environmental change and the drivers of change. This includes investigating changes in coastal and marine habitats using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing (satellite and drone) data.

Dr Hickey’s recent research projects have used remote sensing technologies and spatial analytics as tools for monitoring and detecting change in marine habitats, including mangroves, seagrass, and coral reefs. Dr Hickey is particularly interested in developing and testing emerging methods in remote sensing, as well as exploring the capabilities of GIS for marine and environmental monitoring. This has included using drones to model coral communities on reef flats, cloud processing to model seagrass and mangrove habitats, and developing methods for blue carbon assessments.

Over her career Dr Hickey’s research experience has expanded to include GIS in population health. Her research in this field, has contributed to the development of environmental and spatial metrics for studies investigating the relationship between the built environment and an individual’s health, and levels of physical activity in participants’ neighbourhoods.

Dr Hickey is a lecturer in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment. She teaches postgraduate units that combine concepts and real-world scenarios to ensure students are empowered to apply their knowledge and skills upon completion. Dr Hickey is the Unit Coordinator for the postgraduate units ENVT 4408 Programming in GIS, and ENVT 4409 Remote Sensing of the Environment.


  • Bachelor of Science (Marine Science) (Honours) The University of Sydney
  • PhD The University of Western Australia

External Positions

  • Australian Institute of Marine Science

Notable achievements

Article ‘Mangrove dieback during fluctuating sea levels’ in Scientific Reports Top 100 Ecology collection

SSSI Women in Spatial Award 2011

Shortlisted for The UWA Alumni Fund People’s Choice Award 2019


Teaching and supervisor opportunities

Dr Hickey welcomes prospective students with overlapping research interests. Particularly projects that utilise GIS, remote sensing, marine or coastal environments. Some current project opportunities include:

Teaching overview:

  • Course Co-Coordinator: Masters of Environment (Marine and Coastal)
  • Postgraduate Teaching
    • ENVT 4408 Programming in GIS  (Unit Coordinator)
    • ENVT 4409 Remote Sensing of the Environment (Unit Coordinator)



Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre (The University of Western Australia, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development)

  • ICoAST - Integrated Coastal Analyses and Sensing Technology
  • Hickey, S., Radford, B., Langlois, T., Fraser, M., Hansen, J., Branson, P., and Sequeira, A.


Fisheries Research & Development Corporation

  • Climate driven shifts in benthic habitat composition as a potential demographic bottleneck for western rock lobster: understanding the role of recruitment habitats to better predict the under-size lobster population for fishery sustainability
  • Langlois, T., Hovey, R., Hickey, S., Radford, B., Kendrick, G., Wernberg, T., Wyatt, M., de Lestang, S. and How, J.


Director of National Parks

  • Optimal scientific long-term monitoring of fish, seagrass and algal assemblages across the Geographe Australian Marine Park
  • Langlois, T., Giraldo Ospina, A., Hovey, R., Radford, B., Hickey, S., Kendrick, G. & Davies, H.


Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

  • Climate-smart landscapes for promoting sustainability of Pacific Island agricultural systems - Phase 2
  • Boruff, B., Thu, P. M., Helsen, J., Bruce, E., Wales, N., Manu, V., Connell, J., Pauli, N., Hickey, S., Radford, B. and O'Connor, N.

Contact Dr Sharyn Hickey