URI Marine Biology Program

College of the Environment and Life Sciences


The Marine Biology Program was established in 1996 and 80-100 freshmen start 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

  • From Dr. Bethany Jenkins on the R/V Palmer in the Antarctic
    Yesterday we celebrated the graduation of two senior Marine Biology majors, Iain McCoy and Michelle Dennis, aboard the R/V Palmer in the Antarctic Peninsula.  They are aboard the ship as part of a research team led by Dr. Ted Durbin (GSO) studying krill biology and behavior in the Antarctic.  They received a “Bachelors of Antarctic Science degrees with Minors in Krill biology” signed by the Captain of our vessel. We had a party in the galley and made liquid nitrogen ice cream.  Since Iain has worked at Brickley’s for years, he had additional expertise to offer. We are very proud of Michelle and Iain, the hard work they are doing. Last night some humpback whales came close to the ship”  Click here to see photos of Iain and Michelle’s unique graduation ceremony.
  • 2013 NOAA Hollings Scholarships Katharine Egan (MB), Emily Bishop (MB), and Nicole Marone(double major MB/OCE) – all Class of 2015 – were awarded these prestigious, nationally competitive scholarships, which include two years of scholarships and a paid summer internship at a NOAA lab anywhere in the country. In addition, Emily Thomesen was a finalist. URI students have been awarded 16 Hollings Scholars (2009-2013), which places us in the top three institutions in the country with respect to numbers during this time period. For more information about the Hollings Scholarship, see: http://web.uri.edu/marbio/scholarships-for-ug/.
  • Ryann Rossi (Class of 2013) - Worked in Dr. Scott Nixon’s laboratory at GSO, under the supervision of graduate student Brita Jessen on cycling of nutrients in the mangrove forests of Puerto Rico. She continued her work after graduation in December 2012, supported, in part, by a grant from the Cobb Endowment. At the Fall 2012 meeting of the New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS), she won the Best Student Poster Award.  She has been awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to continue her work on Mangroves at North Carolina State University with Dr. Craig Layman.  For more information about the NSF Graduate Fellowship, see: http://www.nsfgrfp.org.
  • Shelby Rinehardt  (Class of 2013, BioSci) –  Awarded Honorable Mention for the NSF Graduate Fellowship. In Fall 2013, she will be a PhD student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Ecology through San Diego State University and UC Davis working with Dr. Jeremy Long in Marine Chemical Ecology.
  • Nicholas Jouett (Class of 2014) –  Received funding from various sources to go back to the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences (BIOS) in May/June to supplement his research project on the fire sponge microbial consortium started when he was a student at BIOS (www.bios.org) last fall in the URI in Bermuda program.  He also received an award from the Cobb Endowment to carry out a population study on crabs in Point Judith Pond during the summer while working the summer camp where he is the marine biology director.
  • Nate Andrews (Class of 2015) - Awarded NSF REU Fellowship at the Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL, Woods Hole) to work and live on Plum Island, MA (an NSF LTER) in the TIDES REU Program.
  • Welcome to the Class of 2016! With 111 students starting the BS Marine Biology degree program in Sept. 2012, this class is the largest ever. They have come to URI from 15 states around the country.

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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