Mar 02, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Marine and Coastal Science


Program website:

Students and faculty at Western engage in coastal and marine-focused research and education through a wide array of programs and partnerships, cooperating across fields of study, working in the lab and in the field. Marine and Coastal Science (MACS) is a joint program of the Shannon Point Marine Center, and the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Environmental Sciences. We are advancing the state of knowledge about the oceans, coasts, and their ecosystems for the scientific community and for the communities we call home. Our students are learning to understand these systems, engage deeply with them, and become the creative problem solvers of tomorrow.

The program brings together expertise on physical, chemical, geological and biological concepts in marine science. Our courses allow students to explore and interpret fundamental observations about our coasts and oceans. Students develop an understanding of the process of science while gaining practical skills in an equitable and inclusive learning environment. The program has an emphasis on place based leaning that emphasizes connections to people and communities.

Mission Statement

The Marine and Coastal Science program helps students develop into competent, thoughtful, ethical, scientists who are ready to meet the growing marine and coastal needs of Washington State, the nation and the world.


The departments of Geology, Biology, Environmental Sciences, and Shannon Point Marine Center are home to faculty with many marine specialties, including marine sediments, physical oceanography, marine chemistry, estuaries, geophysics, volcanology, paleoecology, geochemistry, salmon habitat, larval and plankton ecology, deep-sea ecology, marine mammology, microbial communities, invertebrate physiology, symbiosis, chemical ecology of algae, protozoology and environmental genomics.

Program Faculty

Several new faculty members are joining the university as part of this program and as we expand our areas of expertise, the major’s program details and offerings will evolve in response to the efforts and interests of these new faculty.

SHAWN ARELLANO: BIOL (2018) Assistant Professor. BS, University of Kansas; PhD, University of Oregon.
M. BRADY OLSON: BIOL (2018) Assistant Professor. BS, University of Idaho; MS, Western Washington University; PhD, University of Washington.

Affiliate Faculty

ALEJANDRO ACEVEDO-GUTIÉRREZ: BIOL (2002) Professor. BSc, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Mexico; PhD, Texas A&M University.
BRIAN L. BINGHAM: ESCI (1995) Professor. BS (zoology), MS (zoology), Brigham Young University; PhD (biology), Florida State University.
JACQUELINE CAPLAN-AUERBACH: GEOL (2006) Professor. BA, Yale University; PhD, University of Hawaii-Manoa.
ROBYN M. DAHL: GEOL (2017) Assistant Professor. BA, Oberlin College; MS, PhD, University of California –Riverside.
DEBORAH A. DONOVAN: BIOL (1998) Professor. BSc, MSc, University of California-Davis; PhD, University of British Columbia.
MARCO B.A. HATCH: ESCI (2016) Assistant Professor. BS (Aquatic and Fishery Sciences), University of Washington; MS and PhD (Biological Oceanography), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.
BERNARD A. HOUSEN: GEOL (1997) Chair and Professor. BS, University of Washington; MS, PhD, University of Michigan.
ROBIN KODNER: BIOL (2012) Associate Professor. BS, University of Wisconsin; PhD, Harvard University
WAYNE G. LANDIS: ESCI (1989) Professor and Director, Institute of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. BA (biology), Wake Forest University; MA (biology) and PhD (zoology), Indiana University.
BROOKE A. LOVE: ESCI (2012) Associate Professor, BS (engineering geology) Stanford University, PhD (chemical oceanography) University of Washington.
ERIKA McPHEE-SHAW: ESCI (2017) Professor. BA (physics) Dartmouth College; PhD (oceanography) University of Washington.
BENJAMIN MINER: BIOL (2006) Professor. BA, University of Florida; PhD, University of California-Santa Cruz.
CRAIG L. MOYER: BIOL (1997) Professor. BS, MS, Oregon State University; PhD, University of Hawaii
JOHN M. RYBCZYK: ESCI (2000) Professor. BS (wildlife biology), Michigan State University; MS (ecosystem biology), Eastern Michigan University; PhD (oceanography and coastal science), Louisiana State University.
DAVID H. SHULL: ESCI (2003) Professor. BS (oceanography), University of Washington; MS (oceanography), University of Connecticut; PhD (environmental, coastal and ocean sciences), University of Massachusetts Program 
RUTH M. SOFIELD: ESCI (2003) Professor. BA, West Virginia University; MS, McNeese State University; PhD (environmental science and engineering), Colorado School of Mines.

Major/Minor Declaration Process

A major is under development. During the interim, please see the major website ( for further information, including advising sheets for students who wish to prepare to enter the major when it becomes available.


    Marine and Coastal Science

    Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.