Marine and Environmental Sciences

Northeastern student researches dolphin behavior for a Greek marine conservation nonprofit during Mediterranean Sea co-op
Undergraduate Student, Mark Teh, is Bridging Biochemistry and Environmental Sciences
Being queen is all in this termite’s head. Really.

Rising to the Occasion

The Northeastern Marine and Environmental Science program seeks to prepare future generations of climatologists, ecologists, and marine biologists for the front lines of climate change — to reclaim our coral reefs, and oceans, our biodiversity, our air, and certainty for our future.

It is in the times marked by great uncertainty that we see the potential of the human spirit. The past trials of war, famine, and disease were equally met by the will of entire generations to overcome. Now, as the reality of climate change sets in, we once again stand at the precipice of a historic and unique challenge, with a call for leadership, foresight, and great courage.

In these times, hope must be prefaced by action. Hard scientific truths will have to be reconciled with economic, political, and social ramifications. It will require a global commitment where every person, no matter their education, age, careers, or affiliations, wear the badge of scientist.

Diversity & Inclusion

The community of faculty, students, and staff at the Northeastern University Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences (MES) and the Marine Science Center (MSC) values diversity and promotes a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration that is responsive to the needs of our multicultural and global society. We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are the foundation of effective teaching, learning, and training. Diversity is not only desirable but also required, for advancing our understanding of the environment and arriving at solutions that allow science to more effectively serve humanity

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Faculty Labs & Research

Marine and Environmental Sciences
Biomimetic Underwater Robot Program
Dr. Ayers' research focus is on the neuroethology of motor systems in invertebrates and lower vertebrates and the application of this knowledge to the development of advanced robots.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Detrich Lab
One central strategy of the Detrich Lab's work is the comparative approach to adaptational evolutionary biology – they use phylogenetically controlled contrasts to evaluate molecular causation in natural experiments, such as the evolution of proteins to function efficiently at cold temperature. O..
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Lotterhos Lab
The Lotterhos Lab at Northeastern Marine Science Center seeks to understand how climate has shaped marine biodiversity and how a now rapidly changing climate will affect biodiversity in the future.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Vollmer Lab
This research group studies the evolution and ecology of marine organisms using cutting-edge, next-generation sequencing, which had revolutionized molecular genetics by providing unprecedented access to the genetic variation in any organism’s genome or transcriptome.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Emergent Epidemics Lab
Research in the Emergent Epidemics Lab spans a broad range of topics in complex systems and network science, with an emphasis on infectious disease dynamics and forecasting/predictive models.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Bowen Lab
Much of the research in the Bowen Lab is focused on how salt marsh microbial communities, and in particular those microbes that are important in the nitrogen cycle, respond to global change drivers.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Grabowski Lab
The Grabowski lab focuses on marine ecology, fisheries, conservation biology, social-ecological coupling, environmental policy, and ecological economics.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Helmuth Lab
The Helmuth lab uses mathematical and physical models to incorporate the many factors of our changing climate to predict patterns of body temperature in key intertidal organisms around the world.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Hughes Lab
The lab is interested in the interactions among the numbers and identity of species, the genetic individuals that make up those species, and the ecosystem services that they provide.  They use a combination of lab and field experiments, molecular techniques, and data synthesis to understand the co..
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Kimbro Lab
The Kimbro lab studies why coastal habitats such as salt marshes and oyster reefs thrive in certain areas, but not in others.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Earth Surface Systems Lab
The lab studies hydrologic and climatic variability and its connections to the natural and built environment. They are interested in how floods, droughts, and other climate-related hazards shape landscapes and societies across the land-sea interface.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Ries Lab
The program investigates a wide range of subjects in the marine and geological sciences, including global climate change, ocean acidification, paleoceanography, paleobiology, carbonate sedimentology, isotope geochemistry, biomineralization, and carbon sequestration.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Trussell Lab
Research in the Trussell Lab is focused on the ecology and evolution of marine communties, in particular the role of species interactions in shaping communities. This work involves laboratory projects and field research that spans the breadth of habitats in the Gulf of Maine.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
STReSS Laboratory
The STReSS Lab allows for critical advances in security and sustainability, as structures and their components are tested for resilience against hazards and events both man made and natural.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Environmental Sensors Lab @ Northeastern University
The Environmental Sensors Lab develops new sensors, instruments, and signal processing strategies to optimize our ability to study the natural and built environments.  
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Sustainability & Data Sciences Laboratory (SDS Lab)
Researching computational and data-enabled solutions for a sustainable and secure environment.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Patterson Lab
The Patterson lab works to develop autonomous underwater robots for civil infrastructure and marine sensing and decision support tools for gray/green infrastructure like tide gates while studying environmental fluid mechanics,biomechanics, and mass transfer in living systems.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Rosengaus’ Lab
Dr. Rosengaus’ research tries to understand the factors that may have selected for the evolution of insect sociality. This work is at the interface of evolutionary biology, behavioral and chemical ecology, immunology and genetics. Social insects represent excellent social test organisms to answer..
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Stubbins Lab
Aron Stubbin's research fouses on environmental chemistry, geochemistry, the carbon cycle, freshwater, coastal and ocean biogeochemistry, feedbacks between natural biogeochemical cycles and climate change, permafrost, black carbon, and aquatic microplastics
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Eckelman Lab
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Coastal Sustainability Institute at the Marine Science Center
The MSC's research topics relate to understanding how the projected impacts of climate change will affect marine habitants, and how urban communities along the coast can best prepare for these impacts.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Marine Science Center
An internationally recognized research institution that focuses on the ocean environment, marine life and ecology, and discovering biotechnological and medical potentials in the sea. Projects include building underwater robots and creating genetically engineered seaweed to clean wastewater from a..
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Center for STEM Education
This university-wide center aspires to play a key role in shaping and implementing the K-20 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education strategy at Northeastern University, and to impact STEM teaching and learning at all levels, both locally and nationally.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Distel Lab
The Distel Lab studies the evolution, physiological ecology, genomics, and metabolism of marine bacteria and bacteria-animal symbioses, with a focus on symbioses between bacteria and bivalve mollusks. Most recently, Dr. Distel and his colleagues have described two new species of shipworms, with uni..
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Ocean Genome Legacy Center
The Ocean Genome Legacy Center (OGL) at Northeastern University's Marine Science Center is a non-profit research organization and biological specimen repository dedicated to exploring and preserving the wealth of information contained in the genomes of endangered, rare, unusual, and ecologically cr..
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Socio-ecological Dynamics, Plant Ecology, and the Science-policy Lab
We examine socio-ecological plant systems that preserve biodiversity and foster resilience to a changing climate, including how plant population and community dynamics impact human well-being and management decision-making, and how those decisions feed back to influence ecosystem dynamics.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Ocean Literacy
Led by Assistant Professor Alison Glassie research areas include environmental humanities, qualitative and narrative approaches, oral history.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Sustainability ​Science Lab
Research includes representation and communication of social–ecological models, cultural models in environmental decision making, stakeholder engagement in environmental policy, and environmental communication.

Interested in our graduate programs?

The Minds Behind COS Marine and Environmental Science
Faculty Spotlight
Katie Lotterhos
Marine and Environmental Science
Among other research, Lotterhos is trying to help the oyster industry select for the traits that will make oysters both thrive in their environment and melt in your mouth.
Randall Hughes
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Hughes is interested in understanding the causes and consequences of biodiversity within and across species. She focuses on marine and estuarine systems because of the strong experimental tradition in these systems and the important ecosystem services they provide to humans.
Joseph Ayers
Marine and Environmental Sciences
For more than four decades, Ayers has been working to develop underwater robots that do not rely on algo­rithms or external con­trollers.

Detrich Lab at the Marine Science Center

Detrich Lab at the Marine Science Center

Interested in working with us? Apply Now.

Co-op Experiences

Many Marine and Environmental students choose to participate in the university’s signature co-operative education program because it offers excellent preparation and exposure to exciting careers.
Sarah Beecy and Sonia van Stekelenborg
Beecy, a third-year marine biology student, and van Stekelenborg, a third-year environmental science student, experienced co-op as marine cephalopod aquarists at Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Meet Sarah and Sonia
Sophia Samaha
The past three months have made me more confident in my decision to work in a food justice or environmental justice field. But, more importantly, it has solidified my desire to work at companies that resonate with my values,`` says Samaha.
Meet Sophia

Degree Options

Coursework and Requirements
A sampling of the types of courses you could take here.
Climate and Atmospheric Change
ENVR 5150

Offers an in-depth view of the processes that drive change in Earth’s climate system. Examines the modern climate system and how and why climate changes through time. Introduces the tools used to explore past climates and changes, and explores the long-term and short-term controls on the climate system.

Genetics and Evolution in Action
EEMB 3001

Uses hot topics in genetics and evolution (e.g. COVID-19) to teach how evolution shapes the world around us and impacts our society. Cutting edge genetic approaches and concepts are taught using case-studies, media reports, and scientific papers.

Sustainable Development
ENVR 2515

Focuses on the principles and practice of sustainable development, both as a way of looking at the interconnected world and an overarching framework for promoting economic development, social inclusion, and environmental stewardship.

Interested in our undergraduate offerings? Apply Today!


Northeastern student researches dolphin behavior for a Greek marine conservation nonprofit during Mediterranean Sea co-op

In the Media

Dan Distel
Marine and Environmental Sciences
A New Creature Emerges From a Forest Drowned by the Gulf of Mexico
February 6, 2024
Brian Helmuth
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Forecasting Our Future: Robotic mussels may hold key to saving New England shoreline
October 13, 2023
Samuel Muñoz
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Here’s Why Salt Water Is Invading the Mississippi and Whether It Will Happen More Often
October 12, 2023
Brian Helmuth
Marine and Environmental Sciences
UFOs ‘submerging under sea’ as expert warns aliens may be hiding in the ocean
September 18, 2023
Sam Munoz
Marine and Environmental Sciences
As floods become more intense, local researchers search for way to better predict rising waters
September 13, 2023
Jahson Alemu
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Survey: Residents around Belle Isle marsh worry about flooding made worse by rising seas
July 29, 2023
Rebeca Rosengaus
Marine and Environmental Sciences
“The Last Of Us” Is Based On A Real “Zombie” Fungus. Here’s How It Works IRL
January 30, 2023
Rebeca Rosengaus
Marine and Environmental Sciences
The Fossil Record Of ‘Fungal Zombies’
January 19, 2023
Auroop Ganguly
Marine and Environmental Sciences
A Million Migrating Birds Expecting Kansas Wetlands Will Find Dust
November 21, 2022