NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduates

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

student looking over the side of a boat

The Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) and Department of Oceanography 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.

2019 Program important dates: May 27 - August 2

  • Arrival May 27: housing at off-campus apartments adjacent to campus
  • Week 1: Program begins May 28; initiate research projects in consultation with mentors
  • Week 4: Group project: Glider deployment on research cruise
  • 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 glider mission and deploy a glider during a research cruise
  • at the end of summer, prepare a final report and make a presentation to the group
  • compete for a Best Presentation award

Application Period Opens: December 19, 2018

Applications Deadline: February 19, 2019

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, pollutants and their environmental effects in coastal and marine ecosystems 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, dissolved organic matter (DOM), anthropogenic contaminant Dr. Alejandro Orsi, physical oceanography, global circulation, ocean climate variability, seagoing observations Dr. Colleen Petrik, biological oceanography, biological-physical interactions, fish ecology, fisheries oceanography, numerical modeling, zooplankton ecology Dr. Henry Potter, air-sea interaction and boundary layer turbulence, tropical cyclones, ocean observing instruments and technology Dr. José Sericano, determining the impact and fate of trace organic contaminants in the environment Dr. Kathryn Shamberger, ocean acidification in the coastal ocean (will not be taking students in 2019) 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, microbiol ecology, 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. Kristin Thyng, numerical modeling, especially of coastal physics; drifter modeling to track material such as oil and phytoplankton Dr. Terry Wade, sources, fate, and effects of pollution. John Walpert, ocean observing system design, mooring system design, instrumentation and glider operations. 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”