Sustaining healthy oceans for future generations

Coastal scene of Newport
Global challenges need global champions. Marine habitats, nearshore ecosystems and coastal communities face daunting pressures that threaten their sustainability — climate change, ocean acidification, rising sea levels, variable fish stocks, natural disasters and many others. That’s where Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative comes in.

The Marine Studies Initiative is a new teaching and outreach model created to address ocean health issues with far-reaching impacts now and in the future. It builds on Oregon State’s deep history of nationally ranked programs in marine sciences and natural resources, world-leading research and premier facilities.

The Marine Studies Initiative will incorporate academic, research and outreach programs from OSU colleges, the Graduate School and the OSU Extension Service. In addition to a new undergraduate major in Marine Studies, there will be academic programs that blend the natural and social sciences and liberal arts, incorporating such themes as marine biology, big data, business and technology, natural resources and ecosystems, coastal resiliency and public safety, marine policy, ocean law and science, education and human health. A $50 million, state-of-the-art research
and teaching facility will be built at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, and by 2025 there will be 500 resident students at that campus.

In addition to being a university-wide commitment, the Marine Studies Initiative will include collaborations with local businesses, community colleges and government agencies to address current challenges and discover new opportunities. By working with our partners and communities to promote such areas as sustainable fishing, tourism, forestry, energy and others, Oregon State can help stimulate economic growth along the Oregon coast and lower Columbia River.

Jane Lubchenco, distinguished professor in Oregon State’s College of Science and former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says, “I’m energized by Oregon State’s commitment to elevate ocean stewardship, provide much-needed global leadership and expand the range and quality of opportunities available to students.”

Research facilities in Corvallis
While the impact of the Marine Studies Initiative will be seen globally, it will also make waves locally. The O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory provides expertise in tsunami wave research and improving the resiliency of coastal communities to prepare for a large-scale earthquake. The Wallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility researches
the best ways to promote sustainability by generating renewable energy from ocean resources, while the Marine Geology Repository analyzes ocean rocks and sediment for scientific research and education. All of these research facilities are in Corvallis, and the initiative will expand other Corvallis-based programs.

For more information visit marinestudies.oregonstate.edu.

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