The Marine Biology Program involves over 200 students in the B.S. Marine Biology degree program, which is administered by the Department of Biological Sciences. Most of our students are from out-of-state – from 15 states (including Florida, Texas, California, and Hawaii) each year, and from around the world (Germany, Phillipines, India, Netherlands, Mexico, China in the past several years; see freshman class profiles). The curriculum for the BS in Marine Biology is designed for students who plan to work in marine biology, marine ecology, biological oceanography, marine conservation, marine education, or related fields at a professional level, and those who wish to apply their training to a wide range of other exciting careers. The program allows students to explore the vast world of marine biology while providing an important foundation in modern biological sciences, chemistry, math, physics, and oceanography. We encourage an interdisciplinary approach that could include study in other marine-related areas, such as Aquaculture and Fisheries, Geology and Geological Oceanography, Marine Affairs, Marine Environmental Economics, Marine Archaeology, History and Literature, Ocean Engineering, 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 may complete a Minor in Marine Biology.

We have hired SIX new faculty in Marine Biology and Related Areas in the past two years:

  • Marine Animal Physiology (Dr. Hollie Putnam, CELS/BIO)
  • Evolution of Marine Organisms (Dr. Jon Puritz, CELS/BIO)
  • Coral Reef Ecology (Dr. Carlos Prada, CELS/BIO, starting in Jan. 2018)
  • Biogeochemistry (Dr. Jamie Palter, GSO)
  • Phytoplankton Ecology/Coastal Oceanography (Dr. Colleen Mouw, GSO)
  • Hydrothermal Vent/Methane Seeps (Dr. Roxanne Beinart, GSO).

Marine Biology @ URI: A Sea of Opportunities (Welcome Day Presentation)

Check out our Facebook page: “URI Marine Biology

Congratulations & Announcements

  • Three Alums in US NOAA Corps: (from left to right) ENS Katie Carria (Aquaculture and Fisheries 2014), LTJG Bryan Pestone (Marine Biology 2012) and LTJG Cherisa Friedlander (Marine Biology 2008). Chrerisa writes that she is working at the NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory (Boulder CO) and is preparing for a 13 month deployment to Antarctica next month.
  • URI in Bermuda – This fall, 15 junior and senior Marine Biology majors are studying tropical marine biology at BIOS (Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences). Check out one of the students’ blogs here.
  • Student research on the effects of climate change on larval invertebrate development in the Irvine Lab. Click here.IMG_3129
  • Sighted at Shoals Marine Laboratory (shoalsmarinelaboratory.org) – Ashley Stoehr (MBio 2010), currently PhD student at UMass-Dartmouth (photo at right).
  • Dr. Brad Wetherbee’s shark research with students covered in the Providence Journal. Other news coverage – Too Many Mako Sharks Being Caught.
  • URI was well-represented at the 2017 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Austin, Texas (Left to right: Lauren Carter [BS MBio 2014, MS 2015, now working for NOAA], Ashley Marranzino [MS 2016], Katie Nickles  [BS MBio 2016, current MS student], Kelsey James [current PhD student], Sara Shapiro [MBio class of 2019]. Not pictured: Charles Bangley (BS MBio 2007, now grad student at East Carolina University), Teresa Schwemmer (BS MBio 2015, now grad student at Stony Brook University). Students from the Kolbe and Karraker labs, as well as Dr. NancyKarraker, also presented papersat the meeting.URIstudents
  • Sean Duffy (MBio, Class of 2016), who received his Master of Oceanography from GSO in May 2017, has been awarded a prestigious, nationally competitive NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship. Sean was one of only five students selected nationally for the fellowship. Press Release.
  • John (Jack) Girard (MBio Class of 2017) was awarded the 2017 Academic Excellence Award in Marine Biology at Graduation.
  • Dawn Parry, Sara Shapiro, and Samantha Ward, all sophomore Marine Biology majors, have been awarded 2017 NOAA Hollings Scholarships!  The Hollings Scholarship seeks to support students whose goals align with NOAA’s mission of Science, Service and Stewardship.  A total of 23 URI students have been awarded these prestigious, nationally competitive scholarships, with 1-6 scholarships being awarded to URI students each year since 2009.  URI Press Release.
  • PhD students Alexa Sterling and Jillian Freese (Jenkins [CMB] and Lane [BIO] Labs, respectively) have started the URI chapter of the Society for Women in Marine Science (SWMS). It’s already been a great success with undergraduate, graduate student, and faculty participation in a variety of professional development and outreach activities. See press release here. The goal of SWMS (from their website) is to “create a community of marine researchers who acknowledge and address the difficulties facing women and minorities in the marine field.” EVERYONE is invited to participate.
  • Dr. Austin Humphries (FAVS) has received a $3 million grant from USAID to study coral reef fisheries in Indonesia. The research will identify fishery management strategies that will maintain and protect the ecosystem while also ensuring that fish are available for consumption. Dr. Chris Lane (BIO) will be doing genetics work as part of this project. Read more here.
  • Danielle Perry (PhD student in the Thorber Lab, NRS) and Felicia Woods (PhD student in the Karraker lab, NRS) have been awarded prestigious, nationally competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Danielle studies conservation of our local salt marshes and Felicia studies sea turtle ecology in New England in light of changing ocean temperatures.
  • Three research grants were awarded to three CELS graduate students by The Nature Conservancy and URI’s Coastal Institute. These grants support research that advances the conservation and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems have been awarded to two graduate students. Paul Carvalho (PhD student in the Humphries Lab, and NSF Graduate Research Fellow) will be examining how the use of different types of fishing gear might aid in coral reef conservation. Rebecca Stevick (PhD student in the Gomez-Chiarri Lab, FAVS) is studying the effects of estuarine acidification on efforts to restore oyster habitat. Amber Hardy (Stolt Lab, NRS) will be studying the effect of sea level rise on tidal marshes.
  • Benjamin Negrete (MBio, Class of 2012) has been awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and will start his PhD in fish physiological ecology at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Fall 2017.
  • Welcome to New Marine Biology Faculty:
    • Dr. Hollie Putnam has joined the Department of Biological Sciences (Jan. 2017). She works on the impacts of global change on the physiology of corals and other invertebrates. Click here to see her website and here to read more.
    • Dr. Jon Puritz will be joining the Department of Biological Sciences in Fall 2017. Dr. Puritz studies anthropogenic effects on the evolution of marine populations. Click here to see his website.
  • Daniel Achilles (Junior, MBio) was on a cruise with the Rynearson Lab (GSO) in the Antarctic (Dec./Jan. 2017). Here’s the link to their blog – Daniel wrote the latest posting: http://www.gso.uri.edu/rynearson-lab/blogs/
  • Dr. Jacqueline Webb (Director, Marine Biology Program/BIO) has been appointed as the first George and Barbara Young Chair in Biology, the sole endowed chair in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences (Press Release).
  • Whale Watching at the Mystic Aquarium – Dr. Justin Richard and some of our Marine Biology majors have been doing research on the Belugas at the Aquarium. Read about it here.
  • In Fall 2016 we welcomed 74 incoming freshmen who came to URI from 14 states; 59 from New England and the Middle Atlantic States, and another 15 students from IL, VA, MD, MI, MN, TX and CA.
  • URI Marine Biology Alumni at the Joint Meeting of IMG_2374Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in New Orleans in July 2016!  All of these alums are now graduate students at other institutions around the country and gave presentations at this national conference. From left to right: Charles Bangley (Class of ’06, now at East Carolina University), Ashley Stoehr (Class of ’10, now at UMass Dartmouth), Dr. Jacqueline Webb, Amber Lisi (Class of ’12, now at UMass Dartmouth), Callie Crawford (Class of ’10, MS College of Charleston).
  • IMG_2393Ashley Marranzino (MS Student, Webb Lab) won the Stoye Award (best student talk) in Genetics, Development and Morphology for her presentation on the sensory biology of deep sea fishes at the annual meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in July 2016. The URI Press Release about Ashley is here.
  • Congratulations to the Marine Biology Class of 2016!  See our Alumni Page to see what some of our graduates will be doing after Graduation.
  • Renee Bakker (MBio Class of 2016) was awarded the 2016 Academic Excellence Award in Marine Biology at Graduation.
  • Dr. Justin Richard (Sartini Lab, FAVS) who works on reproductive physiology of whales, has recently completed his PhD (2016)  and will be staying at URI as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and will be contributing to the Marine Biology Program. Dr. Richard has worked with the beluga whales at the Mystic Aquarium and has involved 11 URI undergraduates, including many Marine Biology majors, in this work. Click here for press release.
  • Congratulations and Bon Voyage to Dr. Jason Ramsay (BS Biological Sciences 2004; PhD BioSci 2012; current lecturer in BioSci, faculty advisor for MBio) who has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Biology at Westfield State University, Westfield, MA.
  • Johann Becker (Marine Biology/Ocean Engineering double major, Class of 2018) is a recipient of a 2016 NOAA Hollings Scholarship. He is the 20th URI student to receive this prestigious, nationally competitive scholarship.  Click here for URI press release.
  • For more news, see the Kudos and Congratulations page.

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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