Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Women in Oceanography

Several of our researchers were featured in Women and Oceanography, the December 2014 special issue of Oceanography. Read about their stories, their discoveries, and their challenges below:

Kelly Benoit-Bird

Kelly Benoit-Bird

Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

I am an ocean ecologist interested in understanding why the complex spatial and temporal dynamics of ocean life matter. My research lab has examined the interactions of 1 mm to 20 m long animals representing a variety of taxa (crustaceans, fish, cephalopods, birds, and mammals) living in temperate, tropical, and high-latitude ecosystems. Integrating these studies has provided a comparative framework to elucidate general principles of pelagic ecology that can be applied beyond the conditions and species within a particular study or site.
Read more about Kelly Benoit-Bird.

Kim S. Bernard

Kim S. Bernard

Assistant Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

I am a biological oceanographer specializing in high-latitude zooplankton ecology. My research focuses primarily on zooplankton communities and trophic interactions. I am particularly interested in patterns of community structure at various spatial and temporal scales and how their variability impacts higher and lower trophic levels and biogeochemical cycling.
Read more about Kim Bernard.

Tuba Özkan-Haller

Tuba Özkan-Haller

Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

My work focuses on the nearshore ocean, the so-called “dirty rim around the bathtub,” where water waves are important to just about anything that happens, contributing to its beauty, enabling recreational activities, and fueling dreams of renewable energy extraction. Waves are a major driver of long-term change to coastlines and of acute damage to cities and towns during storms. Waves also generate currents that are the leading cause for lifeguard rescues (and, unfortunately, also fatalities). So, as much as the nearshore ocean is beautiful and fun, it is also mysterious and dangerous. And I have had a fascination with it, and a healthy respect for it, since I was a child.
Read more about Tuba Özkan-Haller.

Clare E. Reimers

Clare E. Reimers

Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

In the years since my autobiographical-scientific sketch appeared in the 2005 special issue of Oceanography, I have remained at Oregon State University as a professor in a college that has recently expanded and been renamed the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. My research and teaching have continued to focus on areas of sediment biogeochemistry and applied electrochemistry, with a new direction that employs an approach called “eddy correlation” to derive benthic chemical fluxes from co-located velocity and chemical sensor measurements. My service activities have expanded, largely through contributions to the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS). I guess it is fair to say that I have become passionate about the importance of modern research vessels for oceanography, and I am working as chair of the UNOLS Fleet Improvement Committee to ensure fleet renewal.
Read more about Clare Reimers.

Evelyn B. Sherr

Evelyn B. Sherr

Emeritus Professor of Oceanography, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Snow-covered ice stretched to the horizon around US Coast Guard Cutter Healy at a 24-hour sampling site in the Chukchi Sea in spring 2004. The nighttime sun, low in the sky and occluded by clouds, still gave enough light for us to see the polar bear coming our way. A sediment trap, deployed at the edge of a nearby ice floe, was kept afloat by orange plastic spheres attached to a line. The bear, likely a young male, noticed this curious contraption and first toyed with the rope, then began dragging on it. One by one, orange balls came out of the water onto the ice. Entranced, the bear mouthed and batted the balls, having as much fun as a kitten with a ball of yarn. A technician and I left our chlorophyll sampling and joined the crew and scientists watching the spectacle. The crew yelled and shot off emergency flares, with no obvious effect. After a while, the balls lost their novelty, and the bear departed. The sediment trap, with its clawed and chewed float balls, was duly recovered. This is one of many fond memories from a career in oceanography spanning more than 40 years.
Read more about Evelyn Sherr.

Marta E. Torres

Marta E. Torres

Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

I have been extremely fortunate in finding my oceanographic career to be a truly rewarding life-long experience. I completed my bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1976 at the University of Costa Rica and was inspired by two visiting professors to pursue a career in oceanography. At Oregon State University (OSU), I earned my MS in chemical oceanography (1983) and PhD in marine geochemistry (1988). I then spent two years as a staff scientist for the Ocean Drilling Program and three years at GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany, before returning to OSU, where I have been on the faculty since 1993.
Read more about Marta Torres.

Angelicque E. White

Angelicque E. White

Assistant Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

I am a biological oceanographer who dabbles in microbial ecology, marine biochemistry, and satellite oceanography. I look for stories to tell and systems to outline. Like many of the rest of you, I am curious by nature; I just happen to want to know about the lives of microbes. I want to know how nitrogen-fixing organisms compete for nutrients in the open ocean. I want to outline their habitats and understand the limits of their physiology. I want to know what controls community productivity in our seas. I want to know why the general public cares more about plastic pollution in the middle of the ocean than sea level rise or coastal eutrophication, for example. I want to know why there are subsurface maxima of methane throughout the oligotrophic ocean. I also want to ride my bike and run in the woods. I want to love and be loved. I want to learn.
Read more about Angelicque White.


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