Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center
The Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) is the hub of Oregon State University’s coastal research, teaching and marine extension activities. The center was built on the shores of Yaquina Bay in 1965 with the help of the Port of Newport and the federal government, which granted the initial construction funds. Since that time, HMSC facilities have expanded to accommodate over 300 researchers and students from many departments at OSU and from six state and federal agencies. Facilities include a Visitor Center, research and teaching laboratories, including seawater wet lab facilities, and on-site housing for undergraduate and graduate students in residence and visiting scientists. HMSC also serves as a base for oceanographic research vessels and is adjacent to the site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Operations Center – Pacific.
Agencies located at the HMSC include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (Marine Resources Program), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex), the U.S. Geological Survey, the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, and NOAA, which includes elements of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Collaboration between university and agency scientists and community partners is a hallmark of research and education activities at HMSC, which aim to increase understanding of coastal and ocean ecosystems and foster sustainable management of marine resources.
The HMSC Visitor Center, managed by Oregon Sea Grant, offers the opportunity to explore over 15,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring interactive hands-on exhibits and aquaria. The public wing with its beloved touch pool and octopus tank features frequently changing exhibits, including a wave tank exhibit installed in 2012. Computer simulations enable visitors to play the role of scientific explorers while learning about some of the current research underway at the center, and a new webcam features the giant Pacific octopus: http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/visitor/octocam. The Visitor Center doubles as a living laboratory for OSU’s Free-Choice Learning Lab, which researches self-paced, leisure-time lifelong learning to understand what informal science education venues can do to enhance visitors’ learning experience. Informal education programs are offered in the auditorium, along the Yaquina Bay estuary nature trail, beside the docks and in occasional workshops. Hands-on laboratories are available for school and organized groups with prior reservations, and a dedicated corps of trained volunteers assists visitors with their individual explorations.
Admission to the Visitor Center is by donation. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). For more information, see Web site.
The HMSC was named in 1983 in honor of Mark O. Hatfield, who served Oregon as a state legislator and two-term governor before joining the U.S. Senate in 1966, where he served more than 30 years.
Dr. George W. Boehlert, Director
Address: 2030 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport 97365