Research Opportunities

At Hopkins Marine Station, we encourage Stanford undergraduates to get a taste of our world-class research—early and often. You can collaborate with grad students, post docs, and faculty on a wide range of research activities during the academic year and over the summer.

Academic Year

While studying at Hopkins, you can also work on a research project under the supervision of one of the Hopkins faculty—and get additional academic credit in BIOHOPK 199 Guided Research. Our faculty is available to help you identify appropriate research opportunities—before you arrive or after you get here.

To see what we are working on, explore our Faculty Research Page


There are two research options for undergraduates: REEFS or Major Grants. Students typically spend 10 weeks living and learning at the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula, two hours from main campus. 

REEFS Grants - Summer 2022 Projects

Research Experiences Especially for Freshmen and Sophomores (REEFS) grants allow you to start conducting research at Hopkins in the summer after your freshman year. These are paid summer research internships where students work directly with Hopkins faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and research staff on ongoing faculty research projects. Internships are only open to current Stanford undergraduates. 

Funding: $7500 stipend

Applications are currently closed. The application for Summer 2023 at Hopkins will open in late January/early February. 

White Shark Fin Matching in Monterey Bay

This project is aimed at using the unique markings on white shark fins to census individuals and match them to a large data base we maintain. Our laboratory has a unique capacity to keep track of white sharks by photographing the fins of sharks, and matching the individual white sharks our data base from the trailing edge distinctive marks. We use these fin matches to help identify individuals and create profiles of the white sharks that are matched with electronic tracks and DNA data. The intern will be working with the field team and have some opportunity to get out on Monterey Bay.  This project will help census the white sharks of Monterey Bay using multiple data types and has a public outreach component. Faculty Sponsor: Barbara Block

Bluefin Tuna as Ocean Sentinels in Monterey Bay

We are tracking how Pacific bluefin tuna use Monterey Bay with electronic tags. This is a project that will utilize existing electronic tagging data, and biological habitat data from Monterey Bay to understand how these open ocean fish use the ocean realm. Data from electronic tags on bluefin tuna and ocean data from Monterey bay will be examined to better understand how the fish use the canyons and shelf waters of the region. As each bluefin dives to depth they probe the ocean and gather data- the intern will work with a postdoc to help put together the fine scale features of the water column the tuna is swimming in. Some lab research work with live bluefin examining heart rate monitoring is possible at the same time. Faculty Sponsor: Barbara Block

Kelp Forest Resilience and Recovery on the Monterey Peninsula

Kelp forests on the Monterey Peninsula have declined over the past two decades, but remnants of forested habitat remain. This project seeks to understand the mechanisms underpinning forest resilience and recovery. The position involves computer work (video analysis of kelp forest habitats), lab work (kelp recruitment assays), and field work (boat-based field assistance). The student(s) will also interact with Robin Elahi's kelp forest ecology students who will be collecting the underwater videos and recruitment samples. Faculty Sponsor: Fio Micheli

Marine Spatial Planning for Climate Adaptation 

To effectively adapt to climate change, novel approached to ocean governance are needed. Marine Spatial Planning – a public process aimed to allocate human uses at sea while maintaining multiple ecosystem services – as currently implemented is too static to adequately incorporate climate refugia and responses of marine life to climate change. The goal of this project is to provide more robust models for climate smart planning in the California Current region. The Intern will contribute to the research activities under the supervision of Dr. Gissi and Prof. Micheli, with specific tasks, such as analyzing patterns of ecosystem services under climate change scenarios. The intern will also be involved in addressing specific research questions emerging from the project results, such as studying the role of biological sex and life stages in climate response and effective management strategies. Faculty Sponsor: Fio Micheli

Laboratory Analysis of the Impact of Climate Change on Sea Urchin’s Feeding Rates at Hopkins Marine Station: Implications for Mapping Local Refugia in California (USA) and Baja California (MX) 

We are especially interested in recruiting a summer intern passionate in experimental ecology and eager to work with PhD student Maurice Goodman and conduct laboratory experiments on thermal & oxygen sensitivity  of sea urchin’s feed rates and metabolism  under alternative hypotheses on how climate change will affect intensity, duration and frequency of heat waves, as well as of extreme events of low oxygen, low pH and low temperature in upwelling ecosystems. The experiments will be conducted in the water-through system of the Hopkins Marine. We are also interested in investigating the impact of oceanography and ecological interactions at relatively small spatial scales to identify geographic regions resistant to the broader changes in ocean conditions due to climate change. This study is in collaboration with resource managers, fishers, and other stakeholders in the abalone fishery based in Baja California, Mexico. This alternative position involves data analysis and visualization of oceanographic and kelp data and may involve some modeling of abalone population dynamics.  Faculty Sponsor: Guilio De Leo

Mechanisms of Bleaching Resistance in Reef Building Corals: Monterey, Hawaii, Palau

Corals live in warm tropical waters but are remarkably sensitive to increases of water temperatures of just a few degrees. Our work in Palau has tested over 200 mapped and labeled corals for their heat resistance and has placed them in common garden nurseries to test bleaching mechanisms. The project will begin at the Hopkins Marine Station using aquacultured corals to test heat resistance. If travel is possible, we will proceed to Palau to conduct parallel tests on our mapped corals there. A fallback travel option will be to the Kewalo Marine Lab in Honolulu. In all cases, we will use careful lab-based assays of symbiont abundance, coral reaction, and changes caused by administration of targeted metabolic drugs. Faculty Sponsor: Steve Palumbi

Trophic Cascades, Mesopredator Release and Reef Resilience

This project evaluates trophic cascades, mesopredator release and coral reef resilience in the Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean, through a variety of techniques including identification of benthic organisms on coral recruitment tiles, stable isotope analysis of reef fish tissue and analysis of herbivorous fish foraging videos. This position will involve both lab work and computer work at the Hopkins Marine Station. Faculty Sponsor: Fio Micheli

Mapping Environmental and Socioeconomic Determinants of Neglected Tropical Diseases in a Changing Climate

Within the Stanford Program for Disease Ecology, Health and the Environment ( and our research line on the ecological levers of health ( and the environmental drivers of diseases in South America, Africa and Asia, we will offer a range of internships, especially focused on investigating environmental, ecological and socioeconomic drivers of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Within this internship we are specifically interested in mapping environmental, ecological and socio-economic drivers of schistosomiasis in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Brazil and Madagascar, a debilitating disease of poverty caused by a parasite of the blood vessels that requires specific genus of freshwater snails to compete its life cycle. Depending upon the specific skill set of the candidate student, this internship will focus on the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to map the determinants of schistosomiasis in one of the country we work in, develop habitat suitability/species distribution models, use of ordinary differential equations to analyze the dynamics disease under present climate and future climate change. We are also working on additional projects at the intersection between conservation and health in Borneo and Uganda, so if you have specific GIS, statistical, modelling, public-health, optimal control or machine learning (convolutional neural network) related skills and are interested in any of this topics, please do not hesitate to contact us! Faculty Sponsor: Guilio De Leo

Development and Aging in the Colonial Tunicate Botryllus

The colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri is a urochordate, a group that lies at the base of the vertebrates. All the members of the colony undergo a weekly cycle of regression and renewal during which adult individuals, termed zooids, are removed by phagocytosis and completely replaced by maturing stem cells though a process that occurs synchronously in all members of the colony each week. During the summer we will concentrate on development and degeneration of the nervous system using electrophysiology, video imaging, and molecular methods. Faculty Sponsors: Stuart­ Thompson (Biology) and Ayelet Voskoboynik (Inst. for Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine, Stanford Med.)

Major Grants

For students who want to design their own research projects, grants are available through Stanford's undergraduate Research and Independent Study program; priority is given to juniors. Unlike VPUE grants, where a student joins a pre-existing effort, these grants require students to draw up a research proposal in collaboration with a member of the Hopkins faculty.

Proposals are due March 3, 2023. APPLY