NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduates

NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU): Observing the Ocean

student looking over the side of a boat

The Department of Oceanography and the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) at Texas A&M University are proud to announce an REU program that will focus on "Observing the Ocean: hypoxia, harmful algae, oil spills and ocean acidification." Ten students will be introduced to new ocean observing technologies and will use data from ocean observatories, buoys and time series to investigate the ocean. Students will work with faculty and staff mentors in laboratories and on seagoing projects to acquire the analytical skills for multidisciplinary oceanographic research.

2021 Program important dates: May 31 - August 6

  • Arrival May 31: housing at off-campus apartments adjacent to campus
  • Week 1: Program begins June 1; initiate research projects in consultation with mentors
  • Week 4: Group project: Research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Week 10: REU Student Research Symposium: Best presentation prize awarded ($1500 travel grant).


To be eligible for this research opportunity you must be:
  • A US citizen, US national, or US permanent resident
  • Enrolled as an undergraduate in a degree program leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree; preference will be given to students with rising junior or sophomore status
  • Most accepted applicants will have a minimum grade point average of 2.75
  • Non-US students and graduating seniors are not eligible for this program

Students will:

  • Work with faculty mentors to develop a research plan
  • Receive training on sensors, data analysis, data management and science writing
  • Meet weekly to present and discuss results of their projects
  • As a group, develop a research plan for a research cruise
  • At the end of summer, prepare a final report or poster, and make a presentation to the group
  • Compete for a Best Presentation award

Application Period Opens: December 1, 2020 

Applications Deadline: February 15, 2021

Announcement of acceptances: early March

Mentors & Research Interests

For more information, see Mentors & Projects page.

Dr. Lisa Campbell, phytoplankton ecology, harmful algal blooms. Dr. Steve DiMarco, observational oceanography and ocean observing systems, hypoxia Dr. Jessica Fitzsimmons, biogeochemistry of trace metals in the ocean Dr. Gerardo Gold Bouchot, biogeochemistry of dissolved organic matter (CDOM/FDOM) in coastal waters and estuaries, spectroscopic analysis of CDOM/FDOM, PARAFAC Dr. Darren Henrichs, dinoflagellate ecology, individual-Based Modeling, and plant/phytoplankton taxonomy Dr. Robert Hetland, theory and numerical simulation of flow in marine environments; applications include plankton bloom dynamics, continental shelf hypoxia, ocean current forecasting. Dr. Andrew Klein, remote sensing and Geographic Information Science (GISci) to study the cryosphere. Dr. Anthony Knap, atmosphere/ocean interactions, oil pollution, effects of contaminants on the marine environment; ocean health and human health interactions. Dr. Yina Liu, chemical oceanography, organic biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, mass spectrometry analysis and data algorithm development Dr. Alejandro Orsi, physical oceanography, global circulation, ocean climate variability, seagoing observations Dr. Henry Potter, air-sea interaction and boundary layer turbulence, tropical cyclones, ocean observing instruments and technology Dr. Sanjiv Ramachandran, High-resolution ocean modeling, submesoscale eddies, air-sea interaction, high-performance computingDr. Kathryn Shamberger, ocean inorganic carbon cycling and ocean acidification impacts on coastal ocean and calcifying marine ecosystems, including tropical coral reefs, deep-sea corals, and oyster reefsDr. Niall Slowey, geological oceanography, paleoceanography; high-resolution seafloor mapping and seismic stratigraphy Dr. Scott A. Socolofsky, environmental fluid mechanics, including stratified and multiphase flows, dynamic behavior of oil-well blowouts, and shallow geophysical flows.Dr. Jason Sylvan, microbial ecology, deep ocean hydrothermal ecosystems, response of microbial communities to exposure to oil and oil dispersants Dr. Daniel Thornton, microbial ecology, phytoplankton physiology, and biogeochemical processes in the ocean.Dr. Kristen Thyng, numerical modeling and data analysis, particularly of coastal physics; drifter modeling to track material such as oil and phytoplanktonJohn Walpert, ocean observing system design, mooring system design, instrumentation and glider operations. Dr. Kerri Whilden, ocean engineer, coastal oceanography, tidal inlet and estuary dynamics, and ocean observing systems. Dr. Shari Yvon-Lewis, role of the ocean in regulating important atmospheric gases, halocarbons, methane, carbon dioxide and other trace gases Dr. Yige Zhang, paleoceanography, past changes in climate and global biogeochemical cycles, stable isotopes of lipid biomarkers or “molecular fossils”