University faculty and agency scientists at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) and Port Orford Field Station represent a wide range of research interests and specialties, covering deep sea, coastal and estuarine environments.

A listing of HMSC faculty mentors and potential REU projects follows below. Be sure to list the faculty mentors and projects that interest you on your application. 

While students work independently with their research mentors, there are numerous opportunities (orientation, weekly seminars, group field trips, social events) to interact with other scientists and students at the HMSC in Newport and other departments on the Corvallis campus.

For more information specific to the HMSC internships, please contact Itchung Cheung. For CEOAS internships, please contact Kaplan Yalcin.

HMSC Mentors - *= accepting 2022 intern applicants (updated)

REU Mentors at HMSC

* = accepting REU intern applicants

Mentor Name Area of Interest
Scott Baker Cetacean biology and conservation genetics
Michael Banks* Population biology and genetics
Susanne Brander* Toxicology, endocrinology and ecology
John Chapman* Marine biological invasion ecology
Taylor Chapple* Sharks, marine predators, animal movements, bio-logging and energetics
Robert Cowen* Fisheries oceanography
Brett Dumbauld* Shellfish aquaculture ecology
Robert Dziak Marine geophysics, ocean engineering and acoustics
Ford Evans* Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
Sarah Henkel* Benthic ecology
Scott Heppell Fisheries and wildlife
Tom Hurst Physiological ecology
Kym Jacobson Zoology
Chris Langdon* Early life history, genetics, aquaculture
Ben Laurel Fisheries biology
Ryan Mueller* Microbial ecology
Jessica A. Miller Ecology
Kathleen O'Malley Fisheries genetics and genomics
Rachael Orben* Marine predator foraging ecology, species–habitat relationships, food web dynamics, marine spatial planning, seabirds
Daniel M. Palacios Whale tracking, data analytics
Steve Rumrill Shellfish, fisheries monitoring
Shawn Rowe Free choice learning
Carla Schubiger* Aquatic microbiology, aquaculture pathogens, seafood safety
Su Sponaugle* Marine fish ecology
Fiona Tomas Nash* Coastal community ecology and conservation
Leigh Torres* Marine ecology
Will White* Nearshore fisheries oceanography



Scott Baker
Professor and Associate Director of Marine Mammal Institute
Cetacean biology and conservation genetics

Scott Baker is broadly interested in the evolutionary and ecological pattern and process in whales and dolphins, including their abundance, population structure, genetic diversity and systematic relationships. Scott is particularly interested in projects that bring together both molecular and demographic approaches to improve the conservation of these species. The advent of molecular genetics and the emerging fields of genomics and bioinformatics have provided powerful new tools to describe the hierarchical structure of biodiversity. These tools complement and extend, rather than replace, demographic methods used in animal ecology and conservation biology.

Current Research Topics include:

  • Population structure and genetic diversity of whales, dolphins, sea lions and fur seals
  • Demographic and genetic impacts of whaling
  • Molecular taxonomy and applied bioinformatics for species identification
  • Molecular monitoring of ‘whalemeat’ markets in Japan and Korea
  • Social organization and kinship in whales and dolphins
  • The evolution of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes in cetaceans and pinniped

One of the recent initiatives of Scott’s research group has been to establish a web-based program for identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises using applied bioinformatics and a validated database of DNA sequences. See details here. An exciting outcome of establishing this database was the discovery of a new species of beaked whales, Mesoplodon perrini (Dalebout et al. 2002) the first mammalian species recognized primarily by genetic characters and the first new species of cetaceans in 15 years.


Michael Banks
Associate Professor
Population Biology and Genetics

Michael Banks' program centers on the application of population genetic and genomic principles towards a better of processes important to the management, utilization, and conservation of marine fisheries. We focus on genetic characterization of natural populations, fishery subjects and aquacultural species where we often resolve hybridized, admixed, or recently diverged populations, methods to determine population membership of mixed fishery samples, as well as individual unknown samples from various contexts (such as water diversions). We are also interested in applying genomic tools to learn how fish (or other creatures important to the fishery food chain) orient in space, smell and time and how findings related to their interaction for mating, migration, respond to environmental variability, etc. 

Projects in Banks' lab are diverse and include the following:

  • Analyzing RNA transcripts to determine the different kinds of proteins a deadly oyster herpes virus (OsHV-1) uses to infect and kill Pacific oysters.
  • Extracting and application of molecular markers (such as SNPs, microsatellites or other genetic elements including reduced representation full genome approaches) from marine organisms so that we can study their population structure, dynamics, ecology and life history variance (for example we study salmonids, rockfish, sardines, their predators and parasites) 
  • Determining population origin of adult Chinook salmon captured in the ocean through characterization against a coast-wide microsatellite baseline and applying these techniques to determine the distribution of different life-history types during ocean residence;
  • Related to this we have long term interests in determining the genetic basis for how salmon orient in space, time and smell. 
  • RNAseq characterization of copepods captured from long-term (climate change) sampling transects off Newport and elsewhere (along with associated environmental conditions) to determine if relative gene expression analysis can complement inferences on how fluxes in copepod physiology and community inform upper trophic level fishery indexes;
  • Genetic, ecology and policy aspects of the feasibility of sea otter restoration in Oregon
  • Population structure and assessment of the potential persistence (or lack thereof) of the genomic underpinnings for anadromy among steelhead (and rainbow trout) at the southern extreme of their natural distribution in the Pacific Northwest despite the recent long-term drought in that region.
  • Genomic and behavioral ecology aspects of mate choice in a hatchery and wild salmon and experimental assessment of applications of ‘wild-like’ mate choice in hatcheries as a means of reducing the lower relative reproductive success of hatchery salmon.


Susanne Brander
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental & Molecular Toxicology (EMT)

The Brander lab’s research encompasses the fields of toxicology, endocrinology, and ecology; integrating molecular approaches with measurements at the organism and population level. Current work examines the impact of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) on gene and protein expression, behavior, sex ratio, and population dynamics in fish and invertebrates.  We are also examining the potential for transgenerational effects following early-life exposure to pollutants, and studying the effects of microplastics.

Intern Projects:
  • Field collection of biota for microplastic analysis
  • Fish response to environmental pollutants


John Chapman
Courtesy Associate Professor 
Marine Biological Invasion Ecology

Introduced species are one of the greatest environmental concerns of the new millennium. John is a pioneer of this field in marine and estuarine ecosystems. His studies include the geography, biology, ecology, and history of introduced and native marine species. His research is conducted within the local areas surrounding the HMSC and the north Pacific and Atlantic. John's most recent REU collaboration involved the energetic costs of an isopod parasite introduced with ballast water to western US estuaries. The student measured the weight loss in its new mud shrimp hosts to estimate per gram energetic costs of this new parasite to its hosts. The student is a senior author on a manuscript describing this work being prepared for the Journal of Crustacean Biology. He will present this work also at the international (ASLO) meeting in Hawaii in February 2006.

Intern Projects: A strong science background is necessary for an REU intern but specific training and all necessary general information and materials required for independent projects are provided in the program. Possible projects could include the distribution, trophic ecology, or parasite-host relationships of introduced non-native species affecting native salmon or commercial oyster populations. These projects may require sampling trips to Pacific Northwest research areas or laboratory and field manipulations of introduced and native species to determine their interactions in marine and estuary ecosystems. Projects are mentored for completion in the allotted time, for quality and innovation sufficient for eventual publication and for sufficient general interest to warrant presentation at major scientific meeting.

Taylor Chapple
Assistant Professor 
Behavior and Physiology of Marine Predators

Taylor’s research has primarily focused on large marine predators, most notably sharks. His background is in population modeling of difficult to assess species, though more recently he is focused on using technology (biologging and telemetry tags, etc.) to understand the movements and behavior of marine animals and their life history and ecosystem consequences. Taylor is also committed to bridging the gap between science and the public through outreach and education.

Intern Project: The Big Fish Lab uses a mix of techniques to understand the movements, energetics, foraging ecology, and behavior of large predatory fish. Possible projects would build on our research into shark stress physiology/behavior and the ecological impact of sharks in Oregon. REU interns could conduct a semi-independent research project to help determine behavioral parameters indicative of a shark stress response. This project will utilize machine-learning video data analysis tools to quantify shark behavior in an experimental setting. There may be additional opportunities for interns to also get field work experience assisting as needed/desired on our research into Sevengill and Salmon shark movements and foraging ecology.



Robert Cowen
Professor and Director of OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center
Fisheries Oceanography

Under the direction of Su Sponaugle and Bob Cowen, the Plankton Ecology Lab is dedicated to studying the underlying physical and biological dynamics shaping planktonic distributions, especially those of larval fishes and their zooplankton prey. Plankton patchiness, the uneven spatial and temporal distribution of organisms in the ocean significantly influence the growth and survival of fish larvae. Read how the lab utilizes state of the art technologies as well as traditional techniques to study plankton distributions and dynamics.

Intern Projects:

  • Participation in a major oceanographic cruise to sample the mesozooplankton and larval fish communities of the California Current.
  • Assisting with field deployment of SMURFs (Standardized Monitoring Units for the Recruitment of Fishes) along the coast of Oregon to sample fishes settling to nearshore rocky reefs as well as the collection of new recruits to tidepools. This is part of an ongoing collaborative monitoring effort with ODFW to better understand population replenishment of nearshore fish inside and outside of marine reserves.
  • Analysis of newly settled coastal Oregon fishes including taxonomic identification, length measurements, otolith (ear stone) dissections to obtain estimated of age and growth rates, and possible gut contents analysis.

Brett Dumbauld
Courtesy Associate Professor
Shellfish Aquaculture Ecology

Two major research projects are being addressed in Brett Dumbauld’s lab: 1) ecology of pests and predators affecting West coast marine shellfish aquaculture with a focus on the problem shellfish growers are currently having with two species of burrowing shrimp that cause their crops to be smothered by estuarine sediments and die and 2) the role of shellfish aquaculture in West coast estuaries with a current focus on the effects of shellfish on eelgrass and other habitat and the use of these habitats including aquaculture beds by other marine organisms.

Study sites include several West coast estuaries where shellfish aquaculture is important from Humboldt Bay, California to Willapa Bay, Washington with a focus on the latter since this estuary produces over 10% of the nation’s oyster crop. Oyster growers in Washington state have historically applied a pesticide to the estuarine tideflats to kill burrowing shrimp and Brett’s research is designed to examine the life history and behavior of these shrimp to assist the growers in finding alternative control procedures and develop an integrated pest management plan. Pest control and other aquaculture practices certainly influence the estuarine environment, but aquaculture is a very important component of the local coastal economy and Brett’s research is designed to investigate this impact and determine whether these practices are environmentally and economically sustainable and how to keep them that way.

Intern Projects: Students can participate in on-going field studies in coastal estuaries and/or carry out experiments in the laboratory. REU projects might involve examining burrowing shrimp molting patterns and behavior, mating, or juvenile growth and behavior with a focus on determining whether there are vulnerable periods for control. Other projects could be related to several avenues of research into how juvenile fish and crab or other organisms utilize shellfish aquaculture areas. These projects have and will continue to offer opportunities to collaborate with other mentors, for example, John Chapman with an investigation of how parasitic isopods affect burrowing shrimp populations or Cliff Ryer and Jessica Miller on fish behavior as it relates to shellfish as habitat.

Robert Dziak
Marine Geophysics, Ocean Engineering and Acoustics

The Acoustic Monitoring Project, managed by Bob Dziak, is a joint venture between OSU and the NOAA Vents Program. The main research focus of the project’s faculty is to develop effective hydroacoustic methods for the detection of earthquakes associated with seafloor volcanic and tectonic activity. To accomplish this goal, researchers use hydrophone arrays that are part of the U.S. Navy's SOund SUrveillance System (SOSUS) that monitors northeast Pacific spreading centers in real time. Project personnel also have developed and deployed self-recording (autonomous) hydrophones used for regional experiments throughout the global oceans.

Intern Projects: Undergraduate intern projects would involve utilizing the ocean earthquake database to study seafloor volcanic and tectonic processes. An example project would be to use a GIS (e.g. ARC-GIS, GMT, or other mapping tools) to plot earthquakes on a map of the seafloor and then develop a "movie" of how the earthquakes change through time, allowing for insights into the dynamics of short-term plate motion. Earthquake databases available for analysis cover the global oceans, from the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge to the north and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Islands and will soon include the Scotia Sea off the Antarctic Peninsula. In addition, several ocean engineering, software development, and computer management undergraduate intern projects are available.

We currently have a project underway to develop a “smart-hydrophone” within a float that can dynamically adjust its buoyancy. When the hydrophone detects a certain type of acoustic signal, the float rises from the seafloor to the sea surface. Once at the sea-surface, the float transmits a copy of the acoustic signal to a satellite which then relays it to our laboratory for further analysis. We need an intern to develop the software communication (interface) between the hydrophone and the Digital Signal Processor on the float.

Requirements for the intern include (1) knowledge of C or C++, and (2) familiarity with digital and analog electronics. The intern will acquire practical knowledge of how to build a DSP platform and gain familiarity with signal processing techniques. This summer REU intern would be involved with shallow water hydrophone work off the Oregon coast in support of wave energy environmental monitoring projects. There will be opportunities to assist in mooring deployment/ recoveries, and drifting hydrophone data collection. The student intern will learn the basic electronic circuitry of the hydrophone instrumentation as well as data processing and analysis. 


Sarah Henkel
Associate Professor, Hatfield Marine Science Center
Benthic Ecology

Sarah Henkel’s research interests include species distributions, trophic ecology, and human impacts on seabed communities. Sarah works with the Pacific Marine Renewable Energy Center examining the ecological effects of wave energy development. Work in Sarah's lab includes large-scale community surveys as well as targeted experiments. 

2022 project(s): (1) calorimetry of Crangon shrimp: This is an ongoing project in which the 2022 intern would be the third (and final) intern to analyze the caloric content of this important prey item. Tasks will include sorting the shrimp out of trawl collections, using a calorimeter, analyzing seasonal and interannual trends of caloric density, and correlating potential environmental drivers.  (2) genetic analysis comparing offshore to estuarine ghost shrimp (Neotrypaea) to elucidate taxonomy: Intern will extract DNA, sequence, and analyze results.

Scott Heppell
Associate Professor
Fisheries & Wildlife

Scott Heppell’s research interests are the physiological ecology of fishes, in particular how physiology, behavior, and life-history traits affect the interactions between fish populations, their respective fisheries, and the environment. He has worked on bluefin tuna on the Atlantic high seas, Mediterranean, and east coast of the United States, on groupers throughout the southeast Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico, on rockfish in Oregon and Alaska, and on trout, steelhead, and salmon in Japan and the high deserts of eastern Oregon and Northern Nevada. Scott collaborates with academic scientists, state and federal agencies, foreign agencies and universities, and commercial and recreational fishermen, working together to try and address issues related to the sustainability of marine and freshwater resources and their ecosystems.

Intern Projects: Depending on qualifications and interest, interns might develop a project from several aspects of a current study comparing juvenile rockfish life-history traits between Oregon estuaries of different development levels. This project involves trapping and collecting specimen and community data, lab work for stable isotope and lipid analysis, aging fish using otoliths, identification of diet components, and processing for proximate analysis (energy content). These projects may require travel with a supervisor to Oregon estuaries or general laboratory skills, but all interns will receive project-specific training.


Tom Hurst
Research Fishery Biologist
NOAA - Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Tom Hurst is a research fisheries biologist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Fisheries Behavioral Ecology Program. Tom's research interests focus on the physiological ecology of fishes and how environmental variability affects the feeding, growth and survival of early life stages of marine fishes. For example, a recent study compared the depth distribution, light requirements for feeding and diets of three co-occurring flatfishes. Tom is particularly interested in the pervasive effects of temperature variation on fishes and communities. He recently completed a comprehensive review of the phenomenon of 'winter mortality' and is currently examining how temperature affects fish behavior, including schooling and vulnerability to predators. Species currently being researched are Pacific cod, walleye pollock, northern rock sole and Pacific halibut.

A current area of investigation that an intern would participate in is the effect of ocean acidification on larval and juvenile stages of Alaskan fishes. Ocean acidification is caused by the dissolution of anthropogenically produced CO2 into the surface ocean, reducing the pH of the ocean. Research has shown that low pH can affect the growth, survival, and behavior of small fishes. The selected intern will take primary responsibility for conducting experiments on one of these responses while collaborating on examination of other responses. Ultimately this data will be used in conjunction with climate models of the Bering Sea Gulf of Alaska to determine the long term consequences of ocean acidification to fisheries production.


Kym Jacobson
Research Zoologist
NOAA Fisheries

Kym Jacobson and members of her lab are interested in the ecology of host-parasite interactions. Kym is a zoologist with the Estuarine and Ocean Ecology Program of NOAA Fisheries. Her current research examines the ecology of host-parasite interactions of anadromous and marine fishes in the Columbia River estuary and the Northeast Pacific Ocean. One area of research in her lab focuses on parasites of juvenile salmon as salmon make the transition from freshwater to estuarine and marine habitats to gain a better understanding of environmental factors that affect salmon-parasite relationships and the potential effects of parasites on growth and survival of salmon populations. Her research also examines parasites obtained through trophic interactions to gain a better understanding of fish diet, migration, and habitat use and conditions. In addition to studying parasite communities of juvenile salmon, her lab is also studying parasites of Pacific sardines to gain a better understanding of migration patterns and habitat use to help delineate potential stock separation.

Intern Projects: Potential projects for an intern are examining any life stage of a parasite in freshwater, estuarine or marine habitat.


Chris Langdon
Early Life History, Genetics, Aquaculture

Chris Langdon's aquaculture laboratory undertakes research on a broad range of topics including seaweed (dulse) culture, breeding and genetics of Pacific oysters, nutrition and microparticulate feed development for the larvae of marine mollusks and fish, restoration of Native oysters, effects of ocean acidification on the larval stages of oysters and mussels. The oyster genetics program complements research in Michael Banks' and Brett Dumbauld’s laboratory. 

Intern Projects: REU interns working in Chris's lab are exposed to many of these research topics and will learn about practical “hands-on” aspects of aquaculture.


Ben Laurel 
Research Fisheries Biologist
NOAA - Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Ben Laurel is a Research Fisheries Biologist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Fisheries Behavioral Ecology Program. His interests include the behavioral and physiological ecology of larvae and juvenile fish species in coldwater marine systems. He is particularly interested in the thermal sensitivity of Arctic fish species and how these species will respond to climate change.
Biological data on these species is largely unavailable, yet such data is a critical component of forecasting the future winners and losers in Arctic ecosystems.  

Intern Projects: Using fish recently collected from the Arctic, potential REU intern projects could involve live animal experiments to determine how varying species respond to scenarios of climate change.


Jessica A. Miller 
Associate Professor (COMES)

Jessica Miller is interested in the ecology and evolution of life-history diversity in fishes and the development and maintenance of that diversity. Her research focuses on dispersal and transport, population connectivity, and migratory behavior of marine and anadromous fishes. For example, she is interested in how juvenile salmon use coastal watersheds and how management and restoration activities affect those patterns. She combines techniques, including otolith microchemistry, genetic, and time-series analyses, to provide novel information on these topics. Currently, Jessica is continuing to use otolith microstructure and chemistry to identify patterns of mixing and migration in marine and anadromous and also working on the ecological assessment of estuarine restoration efforts.

Intern Projects: REU projects would involve understanding environmental effects (e.g., temperature, prey, pH) on the early growth and survival of marine fishes. Interns would quantify the growth rates of larval fish raised under ocean acidification conditions in the laboratory or early growth rates of juvenile Pacific Cod collected from the Alaskan ecosystem. By comparing the growth of fish under stressful environmental conditions the interns will contribute to understanding how climate change poses a risk to marine ecosystems and the potential resilience of fish populations to these changes.


Ryan Mueller  
Associate Professor
Microbial Ecology

Microbes inhabit all corners of the biosphere and are responsible for some of the most important processes in these ecosystems. For instance, by turning vast amounts of organic carbon into CO2 and methane, microbes have huge impacts on global carbon cycles and climate processes. Additionally, the microbiomes of animals and plants can greatly affect the health and well-being of these hosts and how they respond to environmental change. Research in Ryan Mueller's lab explores the role of microbial communities in these processes. 

Intern Projects: REU projects may include studying the role of specific microbial populations in marine biogeochemical cycles, symbioses between prokaryotes and seagrasses, and how probiotic and pathogenic bacteria impact the health and growth of oyster larvae used in aquaculture.


Rachael Orben
Assistant Professor (Fisheries & Wildlife)
Marine Mammal Institute Affiliate Faculty

Rachael Orben is a marine ecologist with a background in field biology, biologging, and oceanography. She is interested in how individual marine animals interact with their environment through movement. She is the PI of the Seabird Oceanography Lab. The lab tackles research projects that range from long-term monitoring of seabirds at Yaquina Head, advancing monitoring methods for burrow nesting seabirds, developing biologging tags to measure oceanographic conditions, counting albatrosses from satellite imagery, and albatross-fisheries interactions. Interns will be co-supervised by Rachael Orben and MS student Suzie Winquist and split their time between a computer based analysis and field work. 

Intern Projects: Our project involves the analysis of biologging data from foraging Adélie penguins in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Interns will be expected to develop a project using the Adélie penguin dataset. Interns will supplement this experience through field work monitoring the reproductive success of common murres as part of the long-term monitoring of seabirds at Yaquina Head.

We are looking for a motivated intern to assist with elements of video analysis including:

  • Classification of image color as a proxy for chlorophyll level in the water column and its relationship to dive behavior. 
  • Detection and quantification of novel or rare prey capture events, such as rare or unknown prey types, benthic foraging, and bioluminescent prey.
  • Desired skills for a competitive applicant will include experience with R, video analysis, an enjoyment of early mornings in the field, science communication, and interest in oceanography and seabirds

  • To learn more about the larger projects this work fits into please visit and the Seabird Oceanography Lab Website.


Kathleen O'Malley
Associate Professor, State Fisheries Geneticist (Fisheries & Wildlife)
Fisheries Genetics and Genomics

Kathleen O'Malley is the State Fisheries Geneticist at the State Fisheries Genomics Lab. It is housed within the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station. Kathleen's lab conducts fisheries genetics research used by the scientific and management communities and concentrates on species of ecological, evolutionary and economic importance. Her research areas include reintroduction of threatened spring Chinook salmon, population connectivity in the marine environment (e.g. albacore tuna, rockfishes, and Dungeness crab), genetic basis of migration timing in salmon, fitness differences between hatchery and wild salmon and steelhead, adaptation to the changing climate, and species or sex identification.


Daniel M. Palacios
Endowed Associate Professor (Fisheries & Wildlife) - Marine Mammal Institute
Whale Tracking, Data Analytics

Ecologist Daniel Palacios's primary interest is understanding the environmental factors that influence whale distribution and movements at a variety of Spatio-temporal scales. As a member of the Marine Mammal Institute's Whale Telemetry Group, he focuses on the analysis and visualization of the group’s tracking data sets with the objectives of a) characterizing critical habitat as well as the spatial aspects of foraging ecology, b) quantifying long-distance migration, navigation, and interactions with human activities, and c) informing the management and conservation of whale populations.

Intern Projects: Prospective REU interns will implement data science approaches on whale tracking and remotely sensed environmental data sets, and therefore should have a background in statistics or computer science and programming ability. Interns may have the opportunity to participate in ongoing fieldwork, but this will not be the focus of the project.


Steven Rumrill
Shellfish Program Leader, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Adjunct Professor, Marine Resources Management

Steven S. Rumrill is the Leader of the ODFW Shellfish Program. This multi-faceted program encompasses resource assessment activities, fishery monitoring, scientific research, outreach and management for a diverse group of shellfish that inhabit Oregon’s bays and estuaries, sandy beaches, rocky shores, sub-tidal reefs, and deeper water habitats.  The Shellfish Program manages the recreational and commercial harvest of many different types of shellfish including crab, shrimp, bay clams, razor clams, mussels, scallops, abalone, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and others.

Intern Projects:

  • Experimental enhancement of native Olympia oyster populations in Oregon bays and estuaries
  • Characterization of estuarine habitats, shellfish communities, and development of stock assessments for bay clams
  • Measurement of annual variability in the population structure and abundance of razor clams along Oregon’s sandy beaches
  • Development of sampling protocols, monitoring methods, and metrics to characterize recreational harvest of mussels from Oregon’s rocky shores
  • Extent, magnitude, and ecological impact of infestation of bivalves, mussels, and oysters by non-native mud blister worms


Shawn Rowe
Associate Professor (College of Education)
Free Choice Learning

As a Marine Education Learning Specialist, Shawn Rowe researches free-choice learning. This is the kind of learning people do outside classrooms and other formal education settings. He uses the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center as a Free Choice Learning Laboratory to study learning behavior. Shawn has a background in applied linguistics (studying how people learn a language) and developmental psychology in education.


Carla Schubiger, VMD, PhD
Associate Professor (Sr. Res)
Aquatic microbiology, aquaculture pathogens, seafood safety

Carla Schubiger's lab at Hatfield studies aquatic bacteria as disease agents in aquatic animals but also as beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in aquaculture production, such as oysters, shrimp and finfish, and seafood safety.

Intern Projects: Summer projects available include for example isolation and testing of probiotics used against shellfish disease agents, investigations into the shellfish immune response, and evaluation of (marine) insects as aquatic feeds.


Su Sponaugle
Professor (OSU Department of Integrative Biology)
Marine Fish Ecology

Under the direction of Su Sponaugle and Bob Cowen, the Plankton Ecology Lab is dedicated to studying the underlying physical and biological dynamics shaping planktonic distributions, especially those of larval fishes and their zooplankton prey. Plankton patchiness, the uneven spatial and temporal distribution of organisms in the ocean significantly influence the growth and survival of fish larvae. The lab uses state of the art technologies as well as traditional techniques to study plankton distributions and dynamics. Learn more information about the lab here.

Intern Projects:

  • Participate in a major oceanographic cruise to sample the mesozooplankton and larval fish communities of the California Current.
  • Assist with field deployment of SMURFs (Standardized Monitoring Units for the Recruitment of Fishes) along the coast of Oregon to sample fishes settling to nearshore rocky reefs as well as a collection of new recruits to tidepools. This is part of an ongoing collaborative monitoring effort with ODFW to better understand population replenishment of nearshore fish inside and outside of marine reserves.
  • Analyze newly settled coastal Oregon fishes including taxonomic identification, length measurements, otolith (ear stone) dissections to obtain an estimate of age and growth rates, and possible gut contents analysis.


Fiona NashFiona Tomas Nash
Courtesy Assistant Professor (Fisheries & Wildlife)
Assistant Professor, Instituto Mediterraneo de Estudios Avanzados, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain
Coastal community ecology and conservation

Fiona Tomas Nash's lab works to understand the processes and mechanisms that regulate the structure and functioning of coastal benthic systems, with particular emphasis on how human activities transform them. Research focuses primarily on seagrasses and macroalgae since they provide critical habitat for many species and perform key ecological functions at the land-sea interface. The Nash lab combines field, mesocosm and laboratory work to understand the ecological consequences of different human impacts (pollution, climate change and invasive species) on ecosystem health. Fiona is particularly interested in examining the effects of anthropogenic stressors on trophic interactions (predator-prey, plant-herbivore) because these interactions are fundamental in determining ecosystem structure and function as well as species evolution.

Intern Projects: Summer research projects will be co-supervised by Fiona Tomas Nash and Ryan Mueller and will focus on how stressors (e.g. pollutants, warming) affect seagrass health, its susceptibility to disease, and the role of microbes on driving disease susceptibility.


Leigh TorresLeigh Torres
Associate Professor - Marine Mammal Institute
Marine Ecology

Leigh Torres is a marine ecologist interested in understanding how marine animals, including marine mammals, seabirds and sharks, use their environment in the context of behavior, space and time. Leigh’s research explores how marine predators find prey within highly patchy, variable marine ecosystems. Much of this work is directed toward improving conservation management of protected or threatened species. Leigh’s work spans multiple spatial and temporal scales and occurs in many ecosystems including estuaries of Florida, near and offshore waters of the US and Latin America, pelagic regions of the Southern Ocean, and sub-Antarctic islands and coastal waters of New Zealand. Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna (GEMM) Laboratory

Intern Projects: The GEMM Lab has been studying gray whale foraging ecology off the Oregon coasts for five years. Our data collection protocol includes deployment of (1) a GoPro camera at multiple locations to assess prey availability and benthic habitat type, and (2) drones to assess gray whale body condition and behavior. We are seeking a motivated, collaborative and creative intern to assist us with analysis of these data. The project will involve developing a spatial map of prey availability and benthic habitat and then using that map to analyze spatial patterns of behavior. There will also be opportunities to assist in extracting drone images for photogrammetry analysis. Desired skills in competitive interns for this position are: ArcGIS, R, Python, data management, image or video analysis, and scientific writing or communication.

To learn more about the project check out these links:


Will WhiteWill White
Assistant Professor (Fisheries & Wildlife)
Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station (COMES)

Our lab group uses mathematical models and computer simulations to understand and predict how marine fish and invertebrate populations will respond to climate change and human management. Potential projects are related to modeling the adaptive management of fish populations in marine protected areas - how do they respond to disturbances like marine heatwaves, and how should management adjust accordingly? 

Intern Projects:

  • Analysis of long-term fisheries datasets (oysters, salmon) to detect effects of environmental disturbances
  • Assist with the development of software packages for analysis of fish populations inside marine reserves
  • Assist with the analysis of a global database of marine reserve effects on fished populations

Prior experience or very strong interest in math, statistics, and programming is important. REU students will be taught how to use either the R or Matlab programming languages (depending on the project), both of which are widely used in scientific applications.