Marine & Environmental Science News & Events

Message from the Chair

During the 111th Convocation on October 10, 1978, Hampton University’s President, Dr. William R. Harvey addressed the Hampton University faculty with new directions in “The Pursuit of Excellence”. One of the new directions was to establish a Center for Marine Science that would develop opportunities in ocean living marine resources, marine and ocean science, fisheries, maritime law, and aquaculture for Hampton University students.

Fast-forward to former President Obama stressing the need for well-trained scientists, and now with the current attack on the environment, skills in Marine and Environmental Sciences are needed more than ever, and students in our department are meeting these challenges. .

The Department of Marine and Environmental Science (MES) has a student to faculty ratio of 10:1, which allows for close mentorship of each student One hundred percent of our students are engaged in research during their academic tenure in the department and during the summer, this is a requirement for their professional development and successful matriculation. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funded programs in our department are facilitating a remarkable level of research engagement among our students.<

Students at MES have undertaken research projects in variety of topics. For example, they researched: the great white shark distribution and migration in South Africa; the use of magnets on the reduction of by-catch of sand sharks at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS); aerial photography to determine grey whale reproductive status in California; the risk of mercury exposure through seafood consumption in the James River, VA; the effects of estrogen in sewage outflow on marine organisms at our Home by the Sea; the viability of the lower trophic levels in Chesapeake Bay(HU and VIMS); the trophic interactions of zooplankton and salmon in the Mid Atlantic ocean (HU,Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Oregon State University); the effects of the changing environment of the Chesapeake Bay on the hearing and vision of fishes; the sediment oxygen demand in the Bay as it relates to the global concern of hypoxia; and the oyster population in the Hampton River. HU’s first Marshall Scholar and MES major, interned with a world-renowned fisheries scientist. This student was able to exercise her passion for science and policy by investigating the fishing practices of the small Island of Vanuatu. More recently, students have been investigating the utilization of various diets for fish aquaculture through a HU-Virginia Tech funded partnership, and they are studying the impacts of climate change and pollution on coral reefs in Mo’orea, French Polynesia.

These rich experiences have allowed our students to pursue Masters and PhDs at Yale, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University College of London, University of Maryland, College Park, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Old Dominion University, UCLA, U Mass. Boston, among others. Upon completion of their advanced degrees, MES alumni pursued careers in several settings. Examples of positions currently held by our students are: toxicologist for the US Government, Minister of Fisheries in the Bahamas, Director of Fish and Wildlife, USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Director of vessel operations for Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s Foundation, science educator, environmental consultant, conservation scientist, aqua culturist, researcher and medical doctor.

As an incoming student, if you are looking for one-on-one mentorship from your professors, you are not just a number here. If you are interested in conducted exciting research in the United States and abroad, then Hampton University’s Department of Marine and Environmental Science is for YOU!