Our Mission

Create a healthy future for our ocean and the planet through transdisciplinary research and teaching that emphasizes collaboration, experiential learning, engagement with society and problem solving.

Advancing excellence in marine-related education, research, and outreach and engagement.

The world's ocean belongs to everyone and its health is critical to our future. The world is increasingly looking toward the ocean to provide food, renewable energy, climate impact mitigation, safe shipping and commerce, as well as for recreation and spiritual renewal. However, marine habitats are facing new and daunting pressures that threaten their sustainability — from climate change to pollution to dwindling fish stocks.

Building on a deep history of nationally ranked programs, world-leading research, and premier facilities, the Marine Studies Initiative is pioneering new research and teaching models to help sustain healthy ocean and coasts to ensure wellness, environmental health, and economic prosperity for future generations. The Marine Studies Initiative is a university-wide commitment that will have local to global impacts on the economy and environment.

This 10-year initiative builds on Oregon State's leadership and nationally ranked programs.

Harnessing the collective expertise of faculty and staff from across campus, we are advancing practices and innovations that promote positive change for the university and the community it serves. We are weaving together the natural and social sciences with arts and humanities in an exceptional education, research, and outreach program to explore all facets of the marine environment and its dynamic connections to terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere, while positively impacting economic and social progress. Learn more from our Strategic Plan.

OSU at the Oregon coast

Oregon offers an unparalleled living-learning laboratory with diverse ecosystems, including a 300-mile coastline. Our centers of research on the Oregon Coast include: 

We have expanded and enhanced facilities to provide environments that encourage creative collaborations, leverage the university's strengths, and have meaningful impacts. This includes the new Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. 

This event will be held in Coos Bay, Oregon, which is located on the traditional lands of the Miluk (mill-luck) Coos (kooz) people who have managed these lands for abundance since time immemorial. We recognize the continued connection of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos (kooz), Lower Umpqua (uhmp-kwuh) and Siuslaw (sye-oo-sluh) Indians, the Coquille (ko-kwel) Indian Tribe, and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz (si-letz) Indians to these lands and waters and the Tribes’ ongoing stewardship of this important place.

Heceta Bank Film Screening

Join us for a special screening of this wondrous Oregon State Productions short film, "Heceta Bank: Oregon's Hidden Wonder." Immerse yourself in the beautiful Coos Bay coastal community by viewing this film and hearing from an esteemed panel of Oregon's leading marine scientists, filmmakers, and more.

Read the Panelists' Biographies Below!

Jack Barth, Executive Director, Marine Studies Initiative, and Professor of Oceanography, Oregon State University 

Dr. Barth is a physical oceanographer who studies how coastal ocean circulation and water properties influence coastal marine ecosystems. Additionally, he serves on the Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council’s (OPAC) Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, where he contributes to the design, implementation, and evaluation of a set of Oregon’s marine reserves. 

Contact info: [email protected]

Administrative Assistant: Simone Burton, [email protected]

Bill Pearcy, Professor Emeritus, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University

During his time at OSU, Dr. Pearcy studied ocean ecology and biogeochemistry. In 1960, He became one of the first faculty members in the Department of Oceanography and is considered a world-renowned authority on many aspects of biological oceanography. 

Contact info: [email protected]

David Baker, Director of Oregon State University Productions 

David’s work at Oregon State Productions aims to advance the university’s land-grant mission, and he enjoys telling the stories of students and scientists at OSU. He also teaches a documentary film studies course. 

Contact info: [email protected]

Dawn Barlow, Postdoctoral Scholar, Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University

Dr. Barlow studies the ecology and conservation of marine mammals. In particular, she is interested in what drives when and where whales are found, and how their distribution overlaps with a variety of human activities using tools such as spatial modeling, acoustic monitoring, and oceanography. She has had the pleasure of conducting numerous at-sea surveys for marine mammals in Oregon waters through collaborative research projects. 

Contact info: [email protected] 

Will Kennerley, Faculty Research Assistant, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, & Conservation Sciences, Oregon State University

Will works in Oregon State University's Seabird Oceanography Lab on research projects that seek to understand how ocean conditions influence seabird spatial distribution and reproductive success. As a part of this work, he performs vessel-based seabird surveys to better learn where and when seabirds occur along the Oregon coast. 

Contact info: [email protected] 

Nick Edwards, Commercial Fishermen, Coos Bay Resident, and owner of the F/V Carter Jon

Nick Edwards has been a commercial fisherman for 43 years and lives in Coos Bay. He owns the F/V Carter Jon out of Charleston. His vessel harvests Jordani pink shrimp and Dungeness crab. Nick is a Port Commissioner for the International Port of Coos bay, a board member of the Ocean Policy Advisory Committee (OPAC) and resides on the board of the International Cold Water Prawn Forum in the European Union.

Contact info: [email protected]


Through its Marine Studies Initiative, Oregon State will be recognized as a global leader in 21st-century transdisciplinary education and research and lead the development of inclusive strategies for successful stewardship of our ocean and planet for today and tomorrow.

Marine Studies Announcements, Events, and News

  Check out the full series in the new short film, "The Wind Moves Us"

   2023 MSI Student Award applications open NOW!

    Learn about the Marine Degrees OSU offers