GoMRI Mourns the Passing of Kenneth E. Barbor

Ken Barbor. Photo provided by The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering.

Ken Barbor. Photo provided by The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering.

It is with deep sadness that we share the news that Rear Admiral Kenneth “Ken” Eicher Barbor passed away on Sunday July 22, 2018 after battling cancer. Barbor served as Commander of Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command and was the Director of the International Hydrographic Bureau in Monaco. Barbor was also the founding Director of the Hydrographic Science Research Center at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). His work there focused on directing the center’s efforts toward improving navigation and charting capabilities for the Navy, commercial vessels, and recreational boaters.

Barbor’s work related to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) was as a co-Principal Investigator with the LADC-GEMM (Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center – Gulf Ecological Monitoring and Modeling) research consortium. LADC-GEMM is assessing the long-term environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident on deep-diving marine mammals and improving regulations, monitoring, and mitigation efforts for industrial operations in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Professor Stephan Howden with the Division of Marine Science at USM and a co-Principal Investigator with the LADC-GEMM consortium described Barbor as being very dedicated to hydrography from implementation to research and education.  “Admiral Barbor exhibited strong leadership in, and advocacy for, Hydrographic Science from the international level down to the local level.  He was instrumental in partnering the U.S. Navy with USM to initiate the Masters of Science program in Hydrographic Science at USM as a Category-A recognized program by the International Federation of Surveyors, the International Hydrographic Organization, and the International Cartographic Association. Ken was a genuinely warm and generous colleague who will be greatly missed.”

The U.S. Government designated the USM program as a “national center of hydrographic expertise.”

Barbor was an active member of his community, serving as President of the Bay St. Louis Harbor Commission and board member of the Bay St. Louis Habitat for Humanity.

The GoMRI science community extends sincere sympathy to Ken Barbor’s wife Leslie, family, friends, and colleagues.

In memory of Ken E. Barbor, contributions may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, Melanoma Moon Shot, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486 or www.mdanderson.org/gifts, Habitat for Humanity, Bay-Waveland Area, or the Ken Barbor Scholarship Fund at USM (see obituary)


The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative or GoMRI is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies.  An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research.  All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available.  The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP.  For more information, visit https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/

© Copyright 2010-2018 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) – All Rights Reserved. Redistribution is encouraged with acknowledgement to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). Please credit images and/or videos as done in each article. Questions? Contact web-content editor Nilde “Maggie” Dannreuther, Northern Gulf Institute, Mississippi State University (maggied@ngi.msstate.edu).