George Waldbusser, a biogeochemist at Oregon State University, straps a bag of oysters to rebar as a control while doctoral student Sophia Wensman places a bag of oysters on top of empty oyster shells in Netarts Bay.


By Michelle Klampe, OSU News and Research Communications

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon Sea Grant has awarded $1.15 million to five OSU scientists to study beach grass, groundfish trawling, sea lions and oysters over the next two years.

Oregon Sea Grant receives a share of congressionally appropriated funds every two years that it awards – via a competitive process – to scientists at Oregon universities who are studying ocean and coastal issues important to the region and the nation.

For 2020-22, Oregon Sea Grant is awarding all of that funding to researchers in four colleges at Oregon State. Each project will receive about $230,000.

“The results of this research will help agencies and other stakeholders manage Oregon’s critical natural resources and expand our understanding of our coastal environment,” said Shelby Walker, the director of Oregon Sea Grant.

The project titles and lead researchers are:

  • “From genes to dunescapes: genetic and ecological consequences of a new ‘super beach grass’ hybrid for U.S. Pacific Northwest coast ecosystem services,” Sally Hacker, College of Science.
  • “Quantifying and communicating the impacts of groundfish bottom trawling on deoxygenation and nutrient fluxes off Oregon,” Clare Reimers, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.
  • “PBDEs/methylmercury and immune function in non-stranded male California sea lions,” Sarah Rothenberg, College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
  • “Determining habitat suitability under climate change and ocean acidification for oysters in Oregon’s estuaries,” George Waldbusser, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.
  • “How do beach grasses build dunes? Exploring foredune stability with native and invasive grasses to guide management practices on the Oregon coast,” Meagan Wengrove, College of Engineering.

Descriptions of the projects are at under the tab “Biennial Projects: Oregon Sea Grant Omnibus Grant-Funded Projects (2020-2022).”