Graduate Studies

The OSU Marine Mammal Institute does much more than research. It develops resourceful graduate students who become successful professionals in state and federal government, academics, and research. Most of MMI's faculty hold academic appointments in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. The following faculty members may be taking on new graduate students. Please contact them directly with your letter of interest and curriculum vitae (CV).

Dr. Lisa T. Ballance is a professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and director of the Marine Mammal Institute. Dr. Ballance is a broadly trained cetacean and seabird ecologist. Her current interests include macroecology (species diversity patterns in space and time), changes in marine ecosystems associated with recovery of protected species, and conservation biology.  

Dr. Scott Baker is a professor of Fisheries and Wildlife and the head of the Cetacean Conservation and Genomics Laboratory. Dr. Baker is broadly interested in the evolutionary and ecological pattern and process in whales and dolphins, including their abundance, population structure, genetic diversity, and systematic relationships. He is particularly interested in projects that bring together both molecular and demographic approaches to improve the conservation of these species.

Dr. Leigh Torres is an associate professor with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Oregon Sea Grant. Dr. Torres is a marine mammal behavioral ecologist and Sea Grant Extension specialist, who focuses on spatial and behavioral ecology and conservation. She leads the Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Laboratory. Potential graduate students are encouraged to review her Letter to Prospective Graduate Students.

Dr. Daniel Palacios is an associate professor with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Dr. Palacios leads the Whale Habitat, Ecology & Telemetry Lab, and his interests are quantitative ecology as applied to habitat characterization, animal movement, risk mitigation, and informing management practices. Potential applicants interested in joining his lab are encouraged to review his Letter to Prospective Applicants.

Dr. Mauricio Cantor is an assistant professor with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Studies Initiative, who will be joining the MMI in fall 2021. The research focus of his lab will be on the mechanisms of behavioural and ecological interactions and their consequences across scales — from individuals to communities. Potential graduate students may send a letter of interest and CV to Dr. Cantor by emailing them to

For a general overview on how to get started selecting a school, see the article, Exploring Marine Science Research Labs for Graduate School, which features a contribution by Professor Scott Baker.


Internship Opportunities

Marine Mammal Institute faculty often participate in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer internship program, which is open to non-OSU as well as OSU students. 

Academic internship opportunities based at the Hatfield Marine Science Center can be found here:

Internships for students through the OSU Marine Studies Initiative can be found here:

Other opportunities for students at OSU include the STEM Leaders Program and Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and the Arts (URSA Engage)

Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars program helps to prepare undergraduate students for graduate school and careers in marine science, policy, management, and outreach.



To arrange a visit to the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, please complete a Tour Request Form.