The chemistry of Oregon’s coastal waters and the health and productivity of fisheries have become high priorities for Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative. The MSI links research, a new academic program and coastwide collaboration, says Jack Barth, executive director of the MSI and a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.
“The MSI brings the liberal arts and sciences together to address challenges facing our coastal communities and the oceans,” says Barth. “The Port Orford Field Station and the new facility due to be built in Newport add to the great network we already have through the Experiment Station, Extension and Oregon Sea Grant.”
Groundbreaking for the new $50 million MSI building is anticipated next spring with completion in 2019.
Private support launched the MSI effort and has continued to be key. In the last year, research on the biology of Oregon’s largest fishery, Dungeness crab, has received a boost from Bob Eder and Michelle Longo Eder, leaders in the coastal fishing community. “They see the MSI as the connector to get this work done,” says Barth. Previously, The Schmidt Family Foundation contributed to the ongoing effort to study ocean acidification and to develop courses based on the latest research.
The College of Liberal Arts will be the home for a marine studies degree program, which is making its way through the academic review process. New classes, Barth notes, will have a cross-disciplinary emphasis.