OSU's Marine Mammal Institute does much more than research. We develop resourceful graduate students who become successful professionals in state and federal government, academia, and research.

Pictured here: PhD student Lisa Hildebrand teaches undergraduate students in Renee Albertson's Biology of Marine Mammals summer course how to track gray whales using a theodolite.

Marine Mammal Institute faculty hold academic appointments in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Questions about applying to academic programs should be directed to the department, college, or Graduate School.

The Marine Mammal Institute is located at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. If you are a prospective student who would like to schedule a tour of HMSC, please visit the Tours and Events page for details.


Start planning your summer 2022 studies at the Oregon Coast!

Join us for Summer Field Courses at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and become immersed in coastal living and learning at the Oregon coast! Earn college credit while getting a unique field experience.

Open to students from all institutions, and all students pay in-state tuition. Registration opens April 11.

HATFIELD SUMMER COURSES

The following Marine Mammal Institute faculty may be taking on new graduate students. To inquire about graduate or postdoctoral mentorship, please contact the professor directly with your letter of interest and curriculum vitae (CV). 

   
C. Scott Baker 
Scott Baker is a professor of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences and the head of the Cetacean Conservation and Genomics Laboratory. Dr. 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. He is particularly interested in projects that bring together both molecular and demographic approaches to improve the conservation of these species.
Leigh Torres
Leigh Torres is an associate professor with the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences and Oregon Sea Grant. Dr. Torres is a marine mammal behavioral ecologist and Sea Grant Extension specialist, who focuses on spatial and behavioral ecology and conservation. She leads the Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Laboratory. Potential graduate students are encouraged to review her Letter to Prospective Graduate Students.
Daniel Palacios
Daniel Palacios is an associate professor with the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences. Dr. Palacios leads the Whale Habitat, Ecology & Telemetry Lab, and his interests are quantitative ecology as applied to habitat characterization, animal movement, risk mitigation, and informing management practices. Potential applicants interested in joining his lab are encouraged to review his Letter to Prospective Applicants.
Kate Stafford
Kate Stafford is an associate professor with the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences and Marine Studies Initiative, who will be joining the MMI in winter 2022. Her research focuses on using passive acoustic monitoring to examine migratory movements, geographic variation, and physical drivers of marine mammals, particularly large whales. Potential graduate students are encouraged to read her Letter to Prospective Applicants. They may send a letter of interest and CV to Dr. Stafford by emailing staffoka@oregonstate.edu
Mauricio Cantor
Mauricio Cantor is an assistant professor with the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences and Marine Studies Initiative. The research focus of his lab will be on the mechanisms of behavioural and ecological interactions and their consequences across scales — from individuals to communities. Potential graduate students may send a letter of interest and CV to Dr. Cantor at mauricio.cantor@oregonstate.edu
John Durban
John Durban is a courtesy associate professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences and an affiliate at the Marine Mammal Institute. Dr. Durban's primary research involves combining photographic mark–recapture for population assessment with drone-derived photogrammetry to monitor individual whale health. He conducts research on cetacean species, with particular focus on killer whales in Alaska, Antarctica, and the Pacific Northwest. Potential graduate students may email a letter of interest and CV to Dr. Durban at john.durban@oregonstate.edu.

INTRODUCTION TO MARINE LIFE IN THE SEA: MARINE BIRDS AND MAMMALS (FW 113)

Term: Spring
Location: Hybrid
Instructor: Renee Albertson
Course Description: Introduces first- and second-year undergraduates, teachers and non-degree students to the breadth of marine science course offerings and research at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center located in Newport, Oregon. Using an experiential-based format, students collect field data to better understand marine mammals (whales, dolphins and porpoises), seabirds, and their interactions with their environment.

BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF MARINE MAMMALS (FW 302)

Term: Summer
Location: HMSC / Ecampus
Instructor: Renee Albertson / Kate Stafford
Course Description: An examination of the biology of whales, pinnipeds, and other marine mammals, including general adaptations to a marine existence; systematics and biogeography; reproduction; diving physiology; communication and echolocation; feeding and migratory behavior; and marine mammal/human interactions; including conservation issues. Taught at Hatfield Marine Science Center or online through Ecampus.

ECOLOGY OF MARINE AND ESTUARINE BIRDS (FW 331)

Term: Summer
Location: HMSC
Instructor: Rachael Orben
Course Description: An in-depth study of marine megafauna (mammals, birds, turtles) with an emphasis on methods and analyses of behavior and physiology for conservation. Lab and field exercises include investigations into the behavior–physiology nexus of diving, migration, thermoregulation, energy expenditure, and mating systems. Research techniques to be explored will include, for example, tracking and remote biotelemetry monitoring technologies, respirometry, genetics, and direct field study observation. Theoretical approaches, field techniques and statistical analyses will help prepare students for a career in fisheries or wildlife science. Lec/lab. Taught at HMSC.

Conservation Genetics (FW 370)

Term: Spring / Fall
Location: Ecampus
Instructor: Renee Albertson
Course Description: A foundational course in preparation for a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife or other degrees focused on conservation of natural resources. Covers a broad range of topics associated with issues surrounding genetics that working professionals in the biological sciences should be conversant about. One of the most important aspects of the course is the development of problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

the Natural history of whales and whaling (FW 419/519)

Term: Fall / Winter
Location: HMSC / Ecampus
Instructor: Scott Baker / Renee Albertson
Course Description: During the last 200 years, whaling expanded into a global industry, systematically driving most populations of baleen whales (suborder Mysticeti) and some larger toothed whales (suborder Odontoceti) to near extinction. This nearly eliminated an entire trophic level of the marine ecosystem, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. Although viewed by some as a relic of the past, whaling remains a strong imperative for some native people and national interests. This course addresses the natural history of whales as a unique example of adaptation in an evolutionary lineage and the history of whaling as a general example of the failings of international resource management.

antarctic science and conservation (FW 467/567)

Term: Winter
Location: Ecampus
Instructor: Renee Albertson
Course Description: Explores the history, geology, climate, and ecosystems of Antarctica, with an emphasis on current research and conservation issues. Focuses on critical thinking skills developed through independent research on a topic of interest, an internal peer review project, and discussions of relevant case studies in Antarctic research.

METHODS IN PHYSIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF MARINE MEGAFAUNA (FW 469/569)

Term: Fall
Location: Ecampus / HMSC
Instructor: Renee Albertson
Course Description: An in-depth study of marine megafauna (mammals, birds, turtles) with an emphasis on methods and analyses of behavior and physiology for conservation. Lab and field exercises include investigations into the behavior–physiology nexus of diving, migration, thermoregulation, energy expenditure, and mating systems. Research techniques to be explored will include, for example, tracking and remote biotelemetry monitoring technologies, respirometry, genetics, and direct field study observation. Theoretical approaches, field techniques and statistical analyses will help prepare students for a career in fisheries or wildlife science.

socioecology of marine MEGAFAUNA (FW 499/599)

Term: Fall
Location: HMSC
Instructor: Mauricio Cantor
Course Description: An in-depth study of marine megafauna (mammals, birds, turtles) with an emphasis on methods and analyses of behavior and physiology for conservation. Lab and field exercises include investigations into the behavior–physiology nexus of diving, migration, thermoregulation, energy expenditure, and mating systems. Research techniques to be explored will include, for example, tracking and remote biotelemetry monitoring technologies, respirometry, genetics, and direct field study observation. Theoretical approaches, field techniques and statistical analyses will help prepare students for a career in fisheries or wildlife science. Lec/lab. Taught at HMSC. Recommended: 200-level Bio series; FW302; background in vertebrate ecology or animal behavior is desirable. Some familiarity with programming (especially R language) is desirable for some of the laboratory assignments. Course subject to change.

Please refer to the OSU course catalog for current class information.
Check with your academic department for specific program requirements.
Visit Academic Programs and Study at the Coast for more courses offered at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

current opportunities

Gray Whale Research Summer Undergraduate Internship [FILLED]
Join a team studying gray whale foraging behavior for 6 weeks this summer in Port Orford, Oregon! Compensation: minimum wage + overtime. See the complete description for details.

 

APPLY BY MARCH 31

 

INTERNSHIPs with mmi

Marine Mammal Institute faculty often participate in the Hatfield Marine Science Center Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer internship program, which is open to students from OSU and other domestic institutions. 

MMI faculty may also participate in internships for OSU students through the OSU Marine Studies Initiative.

Information about insurance coverage during internships can be found on the OSU Insurance and Risk Management Services website.

other INTERNSHIPS

For other student internship opportunities, visit the following links: