Organismal biology is the glue that rests between and connects the molecular/biochemical realms of living systems to evolutionary/ecological scales of biological systems. Understanding the attributes of cells, organ systems and entire living organisms, and getting a clearer picture of how living systems develop and function under an array of circumstances, is the broadest goal of organismal biology. The faculty members in our department that work in this field strive to understand fundamental principles of living systems -- such as how cells divide, what causes aging and cell death, how anatomy and physiology combine to allow individuals to find and recognize each other, and what regulates the complex dynamics of symbiotic relationships. Biologists from a century ago would be amazed at the tools and technologies now in the hands of modern organismal biologists -- allowing them to address these questions and many others -- to continually advance our understanding of what it means to be alive.
Our organismal biology faculty
Felipe S. Barreto
My research examines how marine species adapt and diversify across environmental gradients. By facing such gradients, marine taxa face physiological challenges as they acclimated or adapt. I employ biochemical and genetic approaches to quantify variation and mechanisms of physiological variation and evolution in marine animals.
Michael S. Blouin
We study the snail immune system and how that interacts with trematode parasites. We also study how salmon respond to selection in hatcheries, which includes aspects of physiology and behavior.
Jamie M. Cornelius
I study organismal responses to climate change and environmental challenges commonly encountered by wild songbirds. My research utilizes behavioral and physiological approaches in both field and captive environments.
I am a fish biologist, and my research focuses on early life history, age and growth, essential fish habitats, conservation of fishes, fisheries biology, and impacts of climate change
Sarah K. Henkel
I am a benthic ecologist at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and Associate Director of the Pacific Marine Energy Center at Oregon State University. My research broadly addresses potential effects of human activities (e.g. marine renewable energy installations, marine reserve designations, coastal development, invasive species, climate change) on seafloor habitats and species.
Nathan L. Kirk
We study the behavior and basic biology of sea anemones and then use molecular techniques to help understand the mechanisms of the broader observed patterns. We use reproductive patterns and basic demographics to help us understand how sea anemones function in the field.
Bruce A. Menge
Major research areas are marine community and meta-ecosystem ecology, physiological ecology, and impacts of climate change, including ocean acidification, on the stability of coastal marine ecosystems.
Rebecca C. Terry
Research in the Terry Lab is grounded in specimen-based research, with specific areas of interest that include body size and shape, dietary niche breadth, the digestive damage that predators inflict on the bones of their prey, and thermoregulation. We approach these themes via stable isotope analysis, 2D and 3D geometric morphometrics, and scanning electron microscopy.
Virginia M. Weis
Our group examines the cellular and molecular interactions that govern coral-algal symbioses including the role of host innate immunity in symbiosis regulation and inter-partner regulation of growth during host development.