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Biological Oceanography

College or University: Oregon State University

Type of degree: Ph.D.

Brief overview of program: Biological Oceanography is the study of ocean ecology. The focus is on how marine organisms interact with each other and with physical, chemical, and geological processes in the ocean. Biological processes in the ocean play a critical role in many Earth systems. For example, marine life is important in global biogeochemical cycling of many bioactive elements (such as C, N, and S), and has a first-order effect on the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Focus areas of the 14-member COAS biological oceanography faculty include phytoplankton physiology and ecology, aquatic microbial ecology, zooplankton ecology, bio-optics, population-to-ecosystem modeling, and benthic sedimentary ecology of continental shelves and estuaries. Spatial scales of interest range from microbial food webs to primary production at regional and global scales studied via ocean bio-optics and satellite remote sensing. Temporal scales of interest range from studies of suspension feeding activity over a tidal cycle to inter-annual variation in nutrient dynamics in the Oregon upwelling system. COAS biological oceanographers are active in field studies at remote locations (for example, the Southern Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea), as well as local sites (the Yaquina estuary and Pacific Northwest coast).

Website: Click here for program website

Description of Facilities: Students in Biological Oceanography have access to state-of-the-art research and computer facilities, either within COAS or throughout the university for specialized equipment. COAS facilities include a flow cytometer and image-analysis laboratory for measuring detailed properties of individual microbial cells, a state-of-the-art seafloor sampling package that collects high-resolution seafloor images and sediment samples from diverse bottom types, and controlled environment rooms for laboratory culture and experiments on marine organisms. At the Oregon coast, HMSC, our two research vessels, and small skiffs provide facilities for field sampling and laboratory studies.

Program Point of Contact: Mark Abbott


Institution address: 202 Apperson Hall Oregon State University
                             Corvallis,OR 97331


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This project is supported, in part, by the NationalScience Foundation.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation .