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.

A new model to address emerging issues and challenges facing Oregon and the globe.

The world's ocean belongs to everyone and its health is critical to our future. Marine habitats are facing new and daunting pressures that threaten their sustainability — from climate change to pollution to dwindling fish stocks.

Global challenges need global champions, and Oregon State University is responding to the challenge with our Marine Studies Initiative. Building on a deep history of nationally ranked programs, world-leading research, and premier facilities, we are pioneering new research and teaching model to help sustain healthy oceans and 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 are expanding and enhancing facilities to provide environments that encourage creative collaborations, leverage the university's strengths, and have meaningful impacts. This includes the construction of a new Marine Studies Initiative building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Ocean stewards of today and tomorrow-- Ana K. Spalding


Marine Studies: Ocean stewards of today and tomorrow- Ana Spalding


The Marine Studies Initiative envisions a future where marine issues are tackled from all angles, from the natural sciences and policy, to the humanities and arts. And at OSU, we have exceptional faculty who have embodied this mission in their own way.

Meet Ana K. Spalding, the first MSI faculty hire in the College of Liberal Arts and a coastal and marine public policy expert who spent years in her country of origin, Panama, looking at the impacts of socio-economic change and migration in the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro. She is essentially a marine social scientist, a new field where scientists are looking at the connection between human behavior, policy, and coastal and marine ecosystems.


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.

2 Astoria men caught setting stolen crab traps in protected marine reserve

NEWPORT, Ore. (KTVZ) — Two Astoria men who were caught setting stolen crab traps in the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve off the northern Oregon coast await trial following a joint effort of citizen reporting and solid detective work.

Bob Browning has fished Oregon waters all his life. He started fishing off the Garibaldi dock with his family when he was 5 years old. When he saw a strange object bobbing on the ocean surface, he pointed it out to his client, Dr. Sarah Henkel. Henkel, a researcher with the Oregon State University Marine Program, was collecting data for her latest project: The feeding ecology of Dungeness crab in a reef area. She had hired Browning and The Lady Lee on April 3, 2019 to take her out to the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve for the research project (Continue reading). 

Marine Studies Announcements, Events, and News

    Check out our summer intern projects! 

   Apply now for undergraduate scholarships and awards!

  Eder Family Dungeness Crab Research Fund 2020 awardee announced!