Tag » Marine Science & the Coast

Lionfish Outcompete the Natives on Coral Reefs
February 1, 2011

Lionfish Outcompete the Natives on Coral Reefs

Lionfish memo to coral reefs in the Bahamas: There’s a new predator in town. Native to the South Pacific, the invasive lionfish is reducing the abundance of native fishes on coral reefs in the Bahamas (see “Deep Ecology,” in Terra, spring 2008). OSU zoologist Mark Hixon leads a team of graduate students and other collaborators […]


Hope Rides on Tagged Gray Whale
February 1, 2011

Hope Rides on Tagged Gray Whale

An electronic tag attached to a single western gray whale may lead to conservation of one of the world’s most endangered whale populations. Bruce Mate, director of Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute, affixed the tag to the animal, a male known as “Flex,” last summer off Sakhalin Island, Russia, in the western Pacific. Mate […]


Tipping Point
February 1, 2011

Tipping Point

West Coast research consortium tackles ocean acidification

In the summer, you may have to go 20 miles out to sea to find it, but close to the seafloor, near the edge of Oregon’s continental shelf, is a preview of the future: water as acidic as what the world’s oceans may be like in 50 to 100 years. “The future of ocean acidification […]


Sea Change
January 31, 2011

Sea Change

My dad navigated merchant ships across the high seas long before his profession became dependent on satellites and GPS. All Karel Houtman needed to know his location was a clear sky, a sextant and a chart. He always felt more comfortable at sea than on land and would steer his way unerringly across the nearly […]


Balance of Power
January 19, 2011

Balance of Power

OSU helps forge national marine energy policy

By Kate Sinner, Director of Federal Relations Renewable ocean wave energy seems like a natural. It promises jobs for Oregon and carbon-free power for the nation. It can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and contribute to economic development. But before we can realize that potential, we need to be careful to find a balance. […]


After the Spill
January 5, 2011

After the Spill

Sarah Allan is tracking toxins in the Gulf of Mexico

The 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico brought up bad memories for Sarah Allan. The Oregon State University Ph.D. student, who grew up in southeast Alaska, was a child in 1988, when the Exxon Valdez struck a reef and dumped millions of gallons of crude into another rich marine ecosystem, Prince William Sound. […]


Big mouths, glowing spines
December 8, 2010

Big mouths, glowing spines

Dragging a net through the water, Ricardo Letelier and Angel White come up with bizarre creatures: animals with long antennae and others with a mouth twice the size of their bodies. Plants with spines. Some with tails that propel them like tiny rockets. The scientists’ net is standard equipment in oceanography, but the microbes they […]


Uncharted Waters
July 23, 2010

Uncharted Waters

Communities, engineers and scientists prepare for the next tsunami

It may come like it did the last time, in the middle of a cold and blustery January night. Suddenly the ground will begin to shake, windows will shatter, bridges collapse, the electricity will go out and parents will frantically try to find a flashlight and dig sleepy kids out of bed, ignore everything else […]


Reserve for Rockfish
April 24, 2010

Reserve for Rockfish

Policy and science in Port Orford

Redfish Rocks is home to a diverse collection of marine species — and to a unique collaboration among fishermen, university scientists and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The jagged reef off the shores of Port Orford, one of two pilot sites in Oregon’s developing marine reserve network, was established by coastal residents who […]


April 23, 2010

Global Ocean

Sea levels are rising. Coral reefs are under siege. “Dead zones” are proliferating. From the poles to the Equator, Oregon State University marine scientists are tackling these and other problems in their quest to understand how oceans work, how ecosystems are responding and how we can manage them. With one of the largest concentrations of […]


Gene Stalker
April 23, 2010

Gene Stalker

DNA fingerprints reveal clues to ancestry and illicit hunting of cetaceans

Scott Baker, an Oregon State University conservation geneticist and cetacean specialist whose work was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary, “The Cove,” has been named one of four 2011 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation.


Depths of Discovery
February 22, 2010

Depths of Discovery

A young oceanographer carries on a legacy of epic seafloor science.

The colossal clamshells caught the young scientist’s eye soon after he arrived at Oregon State University in the late 1970s. Giant bivalves the size of footballs were piled in the corners of offices and cradled in the arms of researchers walking the halls of the School of Oceanography. “I realized pretty quickly that they weren’t […]


Acid Ocean
July 19, 2008

Acid Ocean

New study finds increasing acidification along the West Coast

Water that upwells seasonally along the West Coast of North America is growing increasingly acidic, according to a survey conducted in 2007 by an international team of scientists. In June, they reported finding acidified ocean water within 20 miles of the shoreline, raising concern for marine ecosystems from Canada to Mexico. Deep-ocean currents take years […]


Deep Ecology
April 4, 2008

Deep Ecology

From coral reefs in the tropics to Oregon’s rocky banks, Mark Hixon investigates coastal marine fishes

When talk turns to the mud-dwelling creatures of the deep seafloor, Mark Hixon jumps up from his swivel chair, strides to a cabinet in his office and swings open the door. Taking out a long cardboard box, he gently lays it on his desk. “This,” he says, reaching inside, “is a sponge from just off […]


Invaders in the Dunes
January 23, 2008

Invaders in the Dunes

Unnoticed by most beach–goers, a showdown is under way in Oregon’s coastal dunes, and the winner could pack increased risks for coastal property, especially during winter storms. OSU scientists have documented a slow but steady takeover by American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), an invasive species from the East Coast and Great Lakes. They have found […]


Great Blue Engine
July 23, 2007

Great Blue Engine

Dawn Wright is pioneering powerful new tools to study Earth’s troubled oceans

The ocean shimmers to the curved rim of the Earth. Pressing her face against the jetliner window, Dawn Wright scans the azure expanse for a glimpse of her destination, a tiny volcanic archipelago that is barely a blip in the vast South Pacific. At 5,000 miles from Wright’s office at Oregon State University, American Samoa […]


July 4, 2007

Salmon Survival

Ocean conditions play a key role in the health of Northwest salmon runs, and scientists at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center are trying to pinpoint why. Clearly there are more salmon during cold-water regimes, when strong and persistent upwelling fertilizes the marine food web. Bill Peterson, a federal biologist at the Hatfield Center, says one […]


June 4, 2007

Feast or Famine

Gray whales have roamed the world’s oceans for some 30 million years. The species hasn’t survived that long without adapting to changes, such as those in the California Current over the past decade. 2006 was a banner year for the whales and whale watching on the central Oregon coast. In kelp beds a mere quarter-mile […]


April 1, 2007

Fishing for Life

Every spring, the Umatilla people of northeastern Oregon join other Columbia River tribes in celebrating the return of the salmon. Growing up on the reservation in the foothills of the Blue Mountains east of Pendleton, Patrick Luke learned to appreciate the bond between fish and people. When he wasn’t helping to tend the family’s horses, […]


July 23, 2006

Coastal Winds, Changing Seas

The winds were late last year, but when they did arrive, they blew harder and longer than normal. The result: a series of “bizarre events” in Oregon’s normally productive coastal waters.


Tracking the Great Whales
June 22, 2006

Tracking the Great Whales

Bruce Mate's pioneering tagging technologies are helping protect marine mammals from human impacts.

Some whale species and other marine mammals are still not in the clear. Research by Bruce Mate and colleagues in the Marine Mammal Program is revealing new details about ocean ecosystems and helping to address new threats.


Sea Power
April 23, 2006

Sea Power

OSU engineers are working with coastal communities to tap offshore energy.

OSU electrical engineers Annette von Jouanne and Alan Wallace and their students are developing innovative wave energy devices. Their plan to create a wave energy research park near Reedsport, Oregon, brings hope to a community hit hard by economic decline.