Speaker Bios and Summaries

Click on titles below to watch recordings of Marine Science Day 2022 speakers.


Keynote Speaker

Mystery Whale Uncovered Off the Coast of Oregon: Local Research, Global Impact

In September 2021, an expedition aboard the Marine Mammal Institute’s research vessel, Pacific Storm, sailed from Newport, Oregon. It had an extraordinary encounter with a pair of beaked whales. During that encounter, photos, video, acoustic calls, and a skin biopsy sample were collected, which allowed the research team to identify this rare species. They were Hubbs’ Beaked Whales and had been seen alive only once since the species was described in 1955 off the coast of Oregon! Almost nothing is known about this species, but the data collected linking the species to its call will allow scientists to listen to the oceans and learn much more about its range, movements and status. Is it abundant, or could it be endangered? Local research with a truly global impact.


Keynote Speaker: Lisa Ballance

Dr. Lisa T. Ballance is the Director of Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute, Endowed Chair of Marine Mammal Research, and Professor of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences. In this role, she oversees the vision and implementation of research, education, and outreach for the Institute’s 50 professors, post-doctorates, students, and staff. Before joining OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, Dr. Ballance directed NOAA’s Marine Mammal and Turtle Research Division in La Jolla, CA, providing scientific leadership and oversight of applied research in the context of Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection Act directives. She was also Chief Scientist of NOAA’s Eastern Tropical Pacific Dolphin Research Program, which provided the scientific basis for the “Dolphin Safe” label found on tuna cans in supermarkets all over this country. Dr. Ballance holds a PhD in marine ecology, an MS in marine science, and a BS in biology. She has studied the ecology and conservation biology of whales, dolphins, and porpoises (and seabirds) for over 30 years around the world, including the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, Antarctica, the Bering Sea, and Cambodia’s Mekong River.


Family Friendly - Live Animal Interactions - Sea Anemone

Join master marine educators Lindsay Carroll and Cait Goodwin as they reveal the life of the iconic sea anemone, a creature commonly found inhabiting Oregon’s rocky shores. Watch and learn the reason behind their beautiful coloration, how they use “stinging cells” to get food, defend themselves, and more.


Speakers: Lindsay Carroll and Cait Goodwin

Lindsay Carroll is the Marine Education Coordinator with the Oregon Sea Grant Marine Education Program. Cait Goodwin is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. Together, this dynamic marine education duo works to inspire and educate people of all ages about marine science and STEM.

Genomics: How to Give a Whale a PCR Test

Debbie Steel will talk about ways the Cetacean Conservation Genomics research lab at Hatfield uses DNA to reconstruct the past, assess the present, and conserve the future of whales and dolphin populations. She will give a tour of the genetics equipment room where you can learn about PCR and how this and other genetic tools can be used for more than just identification of COVID!


Speaker: Debbie Steel

Debbie Steel is a Senior Faculty Research Assistant with the Marine Mammal Institute’s Cetacean Conservation Genomics Lab at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. She has a master’s in marine science from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Debbie has been with Oregon State University at Hatfield since 2006. She is responsible for the daily operation of the lab, assists graduate students with molecular research techniques, and curates a tissue and DNA collection under cryogenic preservation.

Family Friendly - Live Animal Interactions - Sea Cucumber

No, we aren’t referring to a sea vegetable! Join Lindsay and Cait as they investigate the eye-catching sea cucumber, another unique ocean-dwelling animal. Learn how these crazy-looking critters get food, defend themselves, and who their relatives are - which will probably surprise you!

Speakers: Lindsay Carroll and Cait Goodwin

Think it, Build it, Sink it: Creating Tools for Marine Science

What does it take to design, build and test the instruments that our researchers use to investigate new scientific questions? We will take a peek into the Innovation Lab (iLab), a new prototype laboratory at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, where ideas come to life. ILab Manager, Drummond Biles, will discuss and showcase some of the critical tools we use to create custom instrumentation during the live event.


Speaker: Drummond Biles

Drummond Biles is the manager of the Hatfield Innovation Lab (iLab). The mission of the iLab is to serve the maritime community by providing a hub for creativity and exploration where ideas can be designed and built. This lab is a vast 2,563-square foot workshop filled with equipment for electromechanical design, CNC and manual machining, welding and fabrication, lathes, 3D design, modeling, printing, and laser cutting. There is also an audio and video systems support room and an artist studio. Drummond has his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and joined the Hatfield team in the fall of 2021.

Family Friendly - Live Animal Interactions - Tidepool Sculpin

Now you see me, now you don’t.

Lindsay and Cait discuss the amazing adaptations of the Tidepool Sculpin, a little fish often seen darting around the rocky shore. Learn how its coloration helps it hide from predators and attack prey, as well as other fun facts.

Speakers: Lindsay Carroll and Cait Goodwin

Shark Dissection: A Deep Dive INSIDE sharks with the Big Fish Lab

Have you ever wondered what makes a shark tick? Did you know that some species of sharks are actually warm-blooded (like us) while other species are cold-blooded (like snakes)? Join us as we take a deep dive inside a shark with The Big Fish Lab.

Our team of scientists will be conducting a shark dissection live. We will be exploring the anatomy and physiology of sharks and answering your questions about how sharks work. We’ll talk about what they have in common with other fish and animals and also the unique characteristics that make them the highly effective apex predators of the world’s oceans. So, get your questions ready to enter a new world of shark exploration with us.


Speaker: Taylor Chapple

Dr. Taylor Chapple leads The Big Fish Lab at Oregon State University. He studies sharks and other large marine predators around the world focused on their movements, behaviors and population dynamics. At OSU, he studies the sharks off our coasts and works with local communities to better understand sharks in Oregon.