Institutes & Centers
Many of Oregon State University's research, education, and outreach efforts occur through our affiliate institutes, centers, and programs. With Oregon State faculty represented within each of the following collaborative organizations, we strive to enhance the breadth and scope of our contributions to the marine sciences.
AquaFish Collaborative Research Support Program
The mission of the AquaFish Collaborative Research Support Program (AquaFish CRSP) is to enrich livelihoods and promote health by cultivating international multidisciplinary partnerships that advance science, research, education, and outreach in aquatic resources. The projects involved in the collaborative program are multidisciplinary and draw upon the great depth and expertise in U.S. universities, NGOs, governmental bodies, and the private sector. The overall context for the program is sustainable aquaculture development in coastal and inland waters. Project areas include production technology, watershed management, and human welfare, health, and nutrition.
Visit the AquaFish Collaborative Research Support Program for more information.
Coastal Landscape Analysis and Modeling Study
The Coastal Landscape Analysis and Modeling Study (CLAMS) is a multidisciplinary research effort sponsored cooperatively through OSU’s College of Forestry, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, and the Oregon Department of Forestry. The goal of CLAMS is to develop and evaluate concepts and tools to understand patterns and dynamics of provincial ecosystems such as the Oregon Coast Range and to analyze the aggregate ecological and socioeconomic consequences of different forest policies and strategies across multiple ownerships of the province. CLAMS uses a combination of GIS models, landowner surveys, habitat suitability models, biodiversity measures, stand growth and yield models, and forest succession models to meet its objectives.
Visit the Coastal Landscape Analysis and Modeling Study for more information.
Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station
The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station (COMES) conducts research to understand, utilize, and sustain marine resources and coastal ecosystems in order to benefit the citizens of Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, the nation, and the world. COMES is the largest applied marine research unit in Oregon and the largest branch experiment station in the United States dedicated solely to coastal and marine issues. The research programs of COMES encompass seven primary areas: aquaculture, fish disease, fisheries science, fishery management, marine mammals, marine economics and marketing, salmon and marine fisheries ecology/genetics, and seafood science and engineering. COMES includes faculty, staff, and students located at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Seafood Research and Education Center in Astoria.
Visit the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station for more information.
COMPASS is dedicated to helping ocean scientists connect themselves and their science to the wider world. By giving scientists the communication tools they need, and by bridging the worlds of science, journalism and policy, COMPASS works to ensure that ocean science is better understood and used by society. COMPASS facilitates connections between scientists, policymakers and the media, thereby creating space for scientists to share their knowledge. Additionally, COMPASS hosts training workshops that teach scientists to talk about their work in a clear, engaging manner that will resonate with the media and policymakers. COMPASS staff is housed at affiliate institutions throughout the United States (Oregon State University, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of Washington, and SeaWeb), allowing our team to be more closely aligned and connected with scientists, the latest science, and the constantly changing landscapes of policy and communications.
Visit COMPASS for more information.
Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies
The Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS) was established to foster collaborative research between OSU and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in fisheries ecosystem studies, aquaculture, oceanography, and marine-resource technology and related fields. CIMRS research staff are currently involved in scientific efforts that parallel NOAA’s program objectives in the areas of (1) geological/chemical oceanography, specifically, assessing the effects of spreading-center hydrothermal venting on the marine physical, chemical, and biological environment and defining the tectonic and volcanological processes producing oceanic crust at slow-and fast-spreading ridge systems; and (2) fisheries oceanography, long-term observations, mesoscale surveys and process studies of mesozooplankton, and selected species of euphausiids off the Oregon-northern California coast; distribution and trophic interactions of juvenile salmonids and associated taxa off the Oregon-northern California coast; and chemical and biological implications of ground-fish harvesting on the West Coast of the U.S.
Visit the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies for more information.
Cooperative Institute for Oceanographic Satellite Studies
The primary purpose of the Cooperative Institute for Oceanographic Satellite Studies (CIOSS) is to establish a cooperative (federal-academic) center of excellence for research involving satellite remote sensing of the ocean and its air-sea interface. CIOSS activities are described within three categories: administration, research, and outreach. Administration consists of activities related to the CIOSS office and broader infrastructure, internal and external governing boards, and the relationships between CIOSS, CEOAS, OSU, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, other NOAA components, and other academic, government, and private institutions. The overarching goal of CIOSS research is to develop, evaluate, improve, and use methods of ocean remote sensing and ocean-atmosphere modeling to increase our understanding of the ocean and atmosphere. CIOSS research helps NOAA/NESDIS fulfill its mission in providing the remote sensing component of the “national backbone” for the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), which includes operational and research components within NOAA, ONR, NSF, and NASA. The overall goal of outreach is to give the research a broader impact on a wider community. Outreach consists of activities, undertaken by NOAA and academic partners, that link CIOSS research and its results to a broader community of students, scientists, resource managers, and the general public.
Visit the Cooperative Institute for Oceanographic Satellite Studies for more information.
Hatfield Marine Science Center
The Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) is Oregon State University’s campus for research, education, and outreach in marine and coastal sciences. Situated on Yaquina Bay in Newport, OR, the campus is operated by OSU to serve the general public, students and staff of the university, partnering state and federal agencies, and visiting scientists from other institutions. Within OSU, HMSC includes researchers, students, or faculty from five colleges and more than ten departments and serves as home to several university programs. Through its partnerships, the center improves scientific understanding of marine systems, coastal processes, and resources and applies this knowledge to social, economic, and environmental issues. The Center plays an integral role in marine and estuarine research and instruction, as a unique laboratory facility serving resident scientists and graduate students and as a base for oceanographic research. The HMSC Visitor Center, which is operated by Oregon Sea Grant, is a key site for public education and serves as a laboratory for free-choice learning.
Visit the Hatfield Marine Science Center for more information.
Institute for Natural Resources
The Institute for Natural Resources (INR) is a cooperative enterprise bringing the scientific knowledge and expertise of the Oregon University System and other Oregon higher education institutions to bear on resource management. Located at Oregon State University and Portland State University, the INR acts as a catalyst by bringing together decision makers and the talented faculty of Oregon’s higher education institutions. The Institute works to provide Oregon leaders with ready access to current, science-based information and methods for better understanding our resource management challenges and developing solutions. The Institute expands OSU’s leadership role in coordinating research, supporting policy analysis, and facilitating information sharing and actions, by partnering with natural resource agencies, other universities, private businesses, conservation groups, and local to national levels of government.
Visit the Institute for Natural Resources for more information.
Institute for Water and Watersheds
The Institute for Water and Watersheds (IWW) is a hub for water-related teaching and research activities at the University, and coordinates about 140 faculty in 27 different Departments, Institutes, and Centers who teach and conduct research in areas related to water and watersheds. The IWW has been a member of the National Institutes for Water Resources for more than 50 years, and its goals include engaging OSU faculty and students with external stakeholders and issues throughout the state and establishing a set of shared water and watershed "collaboratories" supporting research, teaching, and outreach. The IWW will help grow external funding, increase the diversity and quality of OSU students involved in water resource activities, and advance OSU's Stragatetic Plan and Land Grant mission. The center's programmatic coordination will support OSU's renowned landscape-scale ecosystems research.
Visit the Institute for Water and Watersheds for more information.
International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade
The International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET) is an international group composed of economists, academic researchers, government managers, and private industry members among others from over 60 countries interested in the global exchange of marine resource research and information. Organization membership is open to all interested individuals. The institute’s elected Executive Committee is composed of nine members and represents each of the world’s major fishing regions. Member interests include fisheries and marine resource economics, aquaculture economics, fisheries management, seafood trade and world markets, and fisheries development.
Visit the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade for more information.
Marine Mammal Institute
The Marine Mammal Institute primarily focuses on endangered marine mammal species whose distribution, movements, and critical habitats (feeding, breeding, and migration areas) are unknown for much of the year. Decision makers use this valuable information to manage human activities that may jeopardize the recovery of endangered whale populations. Established in 1975, the Marine Mammal Program at Oregon State University has gained international recognition and respect. This respect comes largely as a result of the program’s pioneering role in developing a method of tracking whales (and other marine mammals) via satellite, and the number of significant discoveries concerning their biology and behavior that resulted from this new technique. In 2006 the Institute added two professors, Scott Baker and Marcus Horning, expanding its research into cetacean genetics as well as the ecology of seals and sea lions. The Institute has also contributed to the training of several resourceful graduates who have become successful professionals in state and federal government, academics, and research.
Visit the Marine Mammal Institute for more information.
Molluscan Broodstock Program
The Molluscan Broodstock Program (MBP) works in partnership with the West Coast oyster industry to improve the performance of Pacific oysters through genetic selection. Other objectives are to establish a broodstock management program with industry for sustainable, long-term improvements in commercial production and to maintain a repository for genetically selected oyster families and cryopreserved gametes. The West coast oyster industry has already made extensive use of MBP broodstock and plans to continue this in the future. At present the program focuses on selecting for yield—the sum effect of both survival and growth. Future characteristics to be selected include shell and mantle color and shell shape. MBP has evaluated oyster family performance in a range of growing environments. We have planted MBP families as far south as Tomales Bay in California and as far north as Prince William Sound in Alaska.
Visit the Molluscan Broodstock Program for more information.
Natural Resources, Tourism, and Recreation (NATURE) Studies Lab
The Natural Resources, Tourism, and Recreation (NATURE) Studies Lab is housed in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, and is an active group of faculty and graduate and undergraduate students conducting scientific research, teaching, planning, and management focusing on human interactions associated with recreation, tourism, marine and terrestrial parks, wildlife, and other natural resource issues. This lab has conducted a large number of empirical studies in marine areas focusing on issues such as:
- Coastal resident perceptions of the proposed marine reserves in Oregon
- Carrying capacity and management of coral reefs and marine protected areas in Hawaii (e.g., Molokini Shoal, Kealakekua Bay, Pupukea)
- Conflict and crowding associated with tours offering night diving with manta rays along the Kona Coast of Hawaii
- Effects of cruise ships and commercial marine tourism operators in southeast Alaska
- Efficacy of educational and interpretive messages during whale watching and other marine wildlife viewing opportunities
- Visitor behaviors and satisfaction with coastal state parks in Oregon
These efforts have been supported by federal agencies such as the USDA Forest Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and state agencies such as Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Visit the NATURE Lab for more information.
Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center
The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) is a DOE-funded partnership between Oregon State University and the University of Washington. The center works to address wave and tidal energy issues while contributing to outreach and information dissemination initiatives. The center’s primary aim is to close key gaps in the understanding of marine energy and to inform the public, regulators, research institutions, and device and site developers about efforts and discoveries in the field of wave and tidal energy. Tidal energy activities are structured around the following key areas: instrumentation for cost-effective characterization of sites and devices, optimization of arrays with respect to device orientation and placement, modeling of environmental effects of extraction for both near-field and far-field, and improved reliability and survivability of devices through the use of advanced composites.
Visit the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center for more information.
O.H. Hindsdale Wave Research Laboratory
The O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, together with the Coastal and Ocean Engineering Program in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University, is a leading center for research and education in coastal engineering and nearshore science. Strengths are a critical mass of faculty specializing in physical and numerical modeling of coastal dynamics; an expanding, interdisciplinary graduate program; one of the largest and technically most advanced laboratories for coastal research; and expertise in tsunami and coastal hazard mitigation. The Coastal and Ocean Engineering Program offers graduates opportunities to earn their M.S., M.E., and Ph.D. degrees. The ties between the program and the laboratory ensure that students will have access to state-of-the art facilities for research in coastal and ocean processes. Research foci include wave-structure interaction, nearshore hydrodynamics, sediment suspension and transport, tsunami and coastal hazards, and environmental fluid mechanics. The people at the Hinsdale laboratory and in the Coastal and Engineering Program work in all aspects of coastal science and technology including large-scale physical modeling, numerical modeling, and fieldwork.
Visit the O.H. Hindsdale Wave Research Laboratory for more information.
Oregon Biodiversity Information Center
The Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC) together with OSU’s Valley Natural Resources Digital Library, make up the Information Office of the Oregon State University Institute for Natural Resources. Located in Portland, the Center has a mission to identify the plant, animal, and ecological community resources of Oregon. As part of the Natural Heritage Network and NatureServe, ORBIC’s key function is to maintain, develop, and distribute biodiversity information throughout the state. The center is working with partners to provide the most comprehensive information on plants, wildlife, fish, fungi, and vegetation throughout Oregon. To better do this, ORBIC also manages the Oregon Gap Analysis Program (OR-GAP), a national program of the USGS to identify how well native animal species and habitats are represented in our present-day network of parks and reserves. Through OR-GAP, the Center continues to develop and distribute GIS information on many of Oregon’s species and habitats.
Visit the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center for more information.
Oregon Sea Grant
Oregon Sea Grant is an integrated program of research, public engagement and education aimed at helping people understand, rationally use, and conserve ocean and coastal resources. As part of NOAA's National Sea Grant College program, Sea Grant receives both federal and state support; at least 50% of its federal appropriation goes toward the program's rigorous, peer-reviewed biennial grant competition, supporting science that addresses issues of high importance and societal relevance to Oregon, the region, and the nation. Sea Grant-funded researchers are expected to include public outreach and engagement components in their projects, and the program's marine Extension and communications professionals are available to help them meet that requirement, providing scientists with vital contact with - and assistance from - coastal communities, and providing communities with the knowledge that comes of their research. The program also has a long history in marine education, and manages the Visitor Center at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center as both an educational aquarium and a laboratory for research in free-choice learning. Over its four decades, Oregon Sea Grant has become a preeminent supporter of marine science, education and public engagement in Oregon.
Visit Oregon Sea Grant for more information.
Oregon State University Seafood Research and Education Center
The Oregon State University Seafood Research and Education Center, located in Astoria, OR, is designed to meet the increasing needs of the seafood industry through research and development, extension outreach to the fishing industry, and graduate research, training, and instruction. The Surimi School is held each year and attracts attendees from around the world, and the lab collaborates with public and private organizations to research, create and test new seafood products and processing techniques. Research priorities include value-added product development, seafood safety, seafood biochemistry and quality, surimi and surimi seafood, and seafood waste issues.
Visit the Oregon State University Seafood Research and Education Center for more information.
Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans
The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) integrates long-term monitoring of ecological and oceanographic processes at dozens of coastal sites with experimental work in the lab and field, exploring how individual organisms, populations, and ecological communities vary over space and time. PISCO is a research consortium involving marine scientists from Oregon State University, Stanford University, University of California Santa Barbara, and University of California Santa Cruz. These researchers focus their field work on coastal and nearshore habitats. The Partnership is built around a group of established scientists who represent an unusual breadth of approaches to marine ecology. By promoting close collaboration among specialists in oceanography, ecology, molecular biology, physiology, and genetics, PISCO is able to make new advances toward understanding complex coastal ecosystems. PISCO also actively links its scientific research with student training and public policy and outreach. PISCO scientists interact frequently with resource managers, policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, and the public, as well as scientists at other universities and government agencies.
Visit the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans for more information.
Salmon Disease Laboratory
The Center for Fish Disease Research is a multidisciplinary unit that serves as a research and educational center within OSU and the Oregon University System. Investigators conduct research on a wide variety of fish species, although diseases of salmonid fishes remain a primary focus of the center. The John L. Fryer Salmon Disease Laboratory, dedicated to the study of organisms infectious for salmonids and other species of marine and freshwater fish, remains the central research facility of the CFDR.
Visit the Center for Fish Disease Research for more information.