Human Impact



Intro inspirational starter paragraph/call to action. Earth, the water planet, is two-thirds covered by water, and despite humans efforts, less than one percent of this alien environment has been explored. New technologies continue to evolve and allow us an opportunity to observe this mysterious aquatic environment. In nearly every field of study at Hatfield, researchers are on the cutting edge of technology, pushing to advance their fields of study and our understanding of our water planet.



The Sponaugle-Cowen Plankton Ecology Laboratory conducts basic and applied research on the ecology of marine fishes and the dynamics of their early life history stages. They are especially interested in the processes underlying the growth, survival, and dispersal of early life stages, leading to successful settlement and recruitment to the benthic populations. Most of their work has focused on marine fishes in a variety of systems but especially those on tropical coral reefs. Some of thier interdisciplinary efforts have focused on identifying the physical and biological processes creating temporal and spatial pattern in offshore larval distributions and overall larval supply. Other efforts have been directed at identifying the linkages between the pelagic life of larvae and subsequent recruitment of juveniles to the reef. The labs overarching goal is to better understand the events occurring in the pelagic larval stage that influence population replenishment and connectivity. The data they collect are not only relevant to ecology and oceanography, but also are useful for quantifying overall population replenishment, designing and evaluating marine reserves, and interpreting future environmental changes.


The Western Ecology Division (WED) conducts innovative research on watershed ecological epidemiology and develops tools to assist stakeholders achieve sustainable and resilient watersheds. Research focuses on terrestrial, freshwater and coastal systems and how they are connected.  Scientists develop tools to monitor and predict the condition of these systems and their contributions to human well-being nationwide, with a special focus on the Pacific Northwest.  

WED leads innovative research and predictive modeling efforts that link environmental condition to the health and well-being of people and society. WED advances research and tools for achieving sustainable and resilient watershed and water resources. WED advances systems-based research to predict the adverse effects of chemicals and other stressors across species and biological levels of organization through the development and quantification of adverse outcomes pathways across multiple scales.


The Benthic Ecology lab seeks to elucidate how global climate change and human activities affect marine species at the molecular, organism, and population level as well as affect community structure and ecosystem functioning. They investigate the ecological effects of wave energy development on benthic communities. Within this context, the lab explore two main issues: (1) how reduction in wave energy will affect communities and species inshore of wave capture devices, and (2) how the introduction of novel ‘habitat’ provided by wave capture devices and associated structures affects communities and species within an array of wave energy capture devices. The lab is also engaged in other research pertaining to human impacts on benthic systems.

Currently, they are investigating potential bioaccumulation of metals and organic compounds from the Georgia Pacific paper mill outfall in benthic organisms. The lab is also are investigating the success (in terms of providing ecosystem services such as habitat and sediment accumulation) of a replanted native eelgrass bed as compared to longer-standing reference beds.


The GEMM Lab focuses on the ecology, behavior, health, and conservation of marine megafauna including cetaceans, pinnipeds, seabirds, and sharks. We aim to fill knowledge gaps about species ecology, health and distribution patterns so that conservation efforts can be more directed and effective at reducing space-use conflicts with human activities.


The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network began in the 1980s, under the umbrella of the Northwest Marine Mammal Stranding Network, as an informal alliance of marine mammal experts from Oregon universities interested in collecting information and specimens from stranded marine mammals. With the advent of the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program in 2002, funding for a dedicated full-time Stranding Coordinator became available, enabling work to progress from casual observations of marine mammal stranding events to a serious scientific endeavor involving the systematic collection, analysis, and archiving of stranding data and biological samples. Data collected from such events are entered into a national database that is used to establish baseline information on marine mammal communities and their health.

We work closely with partners and stakeholders to fully understand issues and needs, and prioritize communication of our work and findings through a variety of formal and informal outlets.


The Aquatic Animal Health Program (AAHP) supports various captive aquatic animal stakeholders including the aquarium fish industry, research enterprises, aquaculture, and educational institutions in domestic and international settings.


The Marine Resources Program (MRP) is ODFW’s home for management of fish and wildlife species and habitats in the ocean, bays, and estuaries. Based in Newport with field offices in Astoria, Charleston and Brookings, MRP staff are responsible for the monitoring, sampling, research and management of commercial and sport marine fisheries and associated marine habitats. In addition to our fisheries-focused work, MRP is engaged in a wide variety of research, management and policy actions about all aspects of ocean use and conservation.


Jane Doe Explorer, email, group, other contact info

Joe Doe Explorer, email, group, other contact info


Partner One - link to their website

Partner Two - Link to their website