University of Oregon

Young lab: potential projects


Craig Young’s laboratory studies reproductive biology, larval development, and ecology of deep-sea and subtidal invertebrates. A current focus of this research is larval dispersal and connectivity, using oceanographic models to predict dispersal trajectories and laboratory experiments to establish biological parameters needed for model. Oceanographic cruises often provide opportunities for undergraduate student participation, and deep-sea animals maintained at OIMB are available for student projects. (1) As an example, it has been hypothesized that some deep-sea larvae remain on or near the bottom rather than migrating into the water column to feed. Student projects might include video microscopy to measure larval swimming speed, or feeding experiments using fine detritus or heterotrophic bacteria as food. To accomplish these experiments, students would learn to obtain and fertilize gametes, to culture larvae under deepsea conditions, and to design statistically sound experiments. (2) The local continental shelf, which is faunistically rich but poorly known, is accessible at OIMB by dredge and a 600-m ROV.

REU students may conduct mentored research on subtidal ecology to test hypotheses about the causes of subtidal zonation, community interactions, or the relationship between bottom type and biodiversity. In recent undergraduate projects, for example, Cotrell (2013) used scanning electron microscopy of dredged samples to greatly expanded our knowledge of Oregon subtidal bryozoans, Hayman (2011) explored the patterns of epifaunal diversity in an area being considered for a marine reserve, and Dorning (2016) tested the causes underlying local distributions of a common introduced ascidian. (3) The gametogenic processes of intertidal animals are fairly well understood, but subtidal and deep-sea reproduction off Oregon remains mostly unexplored. Students may use histology or electron microscopy to undertake comparisons of gametogenesis among intertidal and shelf animals, testing hypotheses about how timing and speed of gametogenesis differ in animals experiencing different food regimes and environmental conditions.

Cotrell DM. 2013. The subtidal bryozoan fauna off Cape Arago, Oregon. Undergraduate Thesis, Clark Honors College, University of Oregon.

Dorning S. 2016. The ecology and seasonal distribution of the invasive violet tunicate (Botrylloides violaceus) in the Coos Estuary. Undergraduate Thesis, Clark Honors College, University of Oregon.

Hayman NT. 2011. The shallow rocky bottom invertebrate community off Cape Arago, Oregon and its implications for the Oregon marine reserve designation process. Honors Thesis, University of Oregon.