REU stands for ‘Research Experiences for Undergraduates’. Researchers from a wide range of backgrounds (including marine biology and ocean sciences) can become an REU site through their research grants, and it means they provide opportunities to mentor undergraduate research projects.
From the National Science Foundation website:
NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location.
This can be a great opportunity to build your own research experience, connect with faculty and researchers, and support yourself through summer. REUs are competitive, and the application period for many will happen in January and February. Note that you aren’t limited to REU sites from your own University (although Friday Harbor Labs hosts summer REUs annually), so this is also an opportunity to research with other institutions and labs.
Our faculty frequently help spread the word for various REUs, so you will see more of these posts as they come in. Don’t wait for that though: start combing through the NSF REU search page today.