URI Marine Biology Program

College of the Environment and Life Sciences


The Marine Biology Program was established in 1996 and 80-100 freshmen enter the B.S. Marine Biology degree program each year. Most of our students are from out-of-state and come to us from 15 states (see freshman class profiles). The curriculum for the BS in Marine Biology, administered by the Department of Biological Sciences, is designed for students who plan on pursuing marine biology at a professional level or who wish to use their training and expertise in a wide range of careers. The program allows students to explore the vast world of marine biology while also providing an important foundation in modern biological sciences, chemistry, math, physics and oceanography. We encourage an interdisciplinary approach that includes study in other marine-related areas, such as Aquaculture and Fisheries, Marine Affairs, Marine Environmental Economics, and Marine Archaeology, History and Literature, and/or involvement in URI’s Honors Program. Students majoring in marine biology may also choose to complete a minor or double major in one of these areas (or others), depending on their interests. Other students with an interest in Marine Biology may pursue a BS in Biological Sciences or a BA in Biology (with appropriate marine-related courses), or do a Minor in Marine Biology.

Congratulations & Announcements – 2014

      • William H. Krueger Graduate Studies AwardWe are happy to announce the initiation of the Krueger Graduate Studies Award, which was established with an endowment in honor of Dr. William H. Krueger, Ichthyologist in the Zoology Department, now retired.  Dr. Krueger taught Ichthyology and Vertebrate Biology for many years, his research was in the taxonomy of deep-sea fishes and the biology and ecology of the American eel, and worked on the Ocean Acre Project with colleagues at the Smithsonian.  The Department of Biological Sciences will present the Krueger Award (including a check for $800) to a graduate student (MS or PhD) who is studying aspects of the biology of marine and diadromous fishes and who maintains a minimum GPA of 3.2. Applicants should submit a one-page letter of application and CV (including all publications, presentations, and sources of research funding) to Dr. Wilga, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences; a letter of support from the major professor must also be sent directly to Dr. Wilga. All materials must be received by July 20, 2014 and the award will be announced by July 30, 2014.
      • Ashley Marranzino (MS student in the Webb Lab, and NSF Graduate Research Fellow) has been awarded a 2014 Lerner Gray Memorial Fund grant by the American Museum of Natural History to support her MS thesis work on the sensory biology of deep sea fishes.
      • Justin Richard, PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Sartini lab who works on Beluga whale physiology at the Mystic Aquarium, was at the White House on May 8, 2014. He and others represented the Mystic Aquarium, which received the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service presented by First Lady Michele Obama.  Click here for news article.
      • Bryan Pestone (Class of 2012) has completed his training and will start as an Ensign in the NOAA Corps serving on the Okeanos Explorer (http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/welcome.html).
      • Dr. Christopher Lane (BioSci) has received tenure and has been promoted to Associate Professor.
      • NOAA Hollings Scholarship! – Rachel Marshall (Aquaculture and Fisheries Technology, Class of 2016) has received a prestigious, nationally competitive NOAA Hollings Scholarship in 2014.  She is the 17th URI student to receive this scholarship since 2009.
      • NSF Graduate Research Fellowships! - Melanie Garate (PhD student in Dr. Serena Moseman-Valtierra’s lab), was awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which brings to three the number of current URI students who hold this prestigious award (the other two are Ashley Marranzino – in the Webb Lab, and Justin Richard – in the Sartini lab). Matt Birk, a current student in the Seibel Lab, was given an “Honorable Mention” for this Fellowship.
      • More NSF Graduate Research Fellowships! - Two of our recent graduates have received NSF Graduate Fellowships for their graduate studies - Amy Battocletti (now a PhD student at Georgetown University), and Leah Lewis (currently working at NMFS Narragansett, who will be doing her PhD at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography starting in Fall 2014). Russell Dauksis (also Class of 2013) received an Honorable Mention and will be starting graduate work at Cal State Northridge in Fall 2014.
      • Ben Sevey and Katelyn Dash (both Class of 2014) have been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
      • Graduate School Acceptances!
        • Sarah Merolla (Class of 2014, recipient of 2014 URI Academic Excellence Award in Marine Biology) – will attend Cal State Northridge (MS) – coral reef ecology
        • Christopher Holland (Class of 2014) – will be attending Texas A&M (PhD) – animal behavior
        • Eilea Knotts (Class of 2014) – will be attending University of South Carolina (PhD) – invertebrate physiology
        • Taylor Clement (Class of 2014) – will do a MS at Western Washington University on metagenomics and metatranscriptomics of microplankton and picoplankton in Puget Sound.
        • Nicole Leporacci (Class of 2013) – will be attending College of Charleston (MS)
        • Russell Dauksis (Class of 2013) – will attend Cal State Northridge (fish ecology)
        • Brooke Konkle (Class of 2013) – will attend Texas A&M – Corpus Christi for a MS in aquaculture
        • Leah Lewis (Class of 2013) – recipient of a NSF Graduate Fellowship will do her PhD at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD.
        • Katelyn Dash and Chelsea Stephens (both Class of 2014) will be attending graduate school at URI, and will work with in the Lane Lab and Irvine lab, respectively.

Photo Credits throughout the Marine Biology website: Drs. Jacqueline Webb, Brad Seibel, Carol Thornber, Ms. Jillian Hesse (Class of ’07),  Ms. Sara MacSorley (Class of ’08),  Ms. Emily Field (Class of ’09)

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