URI Marine Biology Program

College of the Environment and Life Sciences


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, and they come to us from 15 states across the country (including Florida, Texas, California and Hawaii; see freshman class profiles). The curriculum for the BS in Marine Biology is designed for those 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 may complete a Minor in Marine Biology.

Check out our Facebook page: “URI Marine Biology

Congratulations & Announcements – 2015

  • URI at SEAProfs. Tracey Dalton (MAF) and Jacqueline Webb (BIO) attended the Final Symposium of the Sea Education Association’s program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (MBC) in June, which focused on the Sargasso Sea. Peg Brandon, President of SEA, realized that there was a disproportionately large URI presence at this event. URI at SEA - 2015Left to right:  Peg Brandon, BS ’80, MMA ’97 (President of SEA), Tundi Agardy, MMA ’85, PhD ’87, William Botta, BS ’15 (URI MBio student in the SEA – MBC program) , Jacqueline Webb (URI faculty – BioSci), Tiffany Smythe, MMA ’07, PhD ’11, Chris Mcguire, MMA ’11 (former SEA Captain), Tracy Dalton (URI faculty – MAF), Paul Joyce, PhD ’88 (Dean of SEA).
  • Congratulations to Jessica Freedman (MBio Class of 2018) and Jamie Schicho (OCE Class of 2018), the 2016 recipients of the NOAA Hollings Scholarship; URI students have won 20 Hollings Scholarships since 2009.
  • Justin Richard, PhD student (and NSF Graduate Research Fellow) in the Sartini Lab, won first place in the PhD student poster competition at the  Alaska Marine Science Symposium (hosted by the North Pacific Research Board) in Anchorage, AK, Jan 19-23. His poster was entitled “Determining the number of exhales necessary for the application of minimally-invasive blow sampling to molecular analyses in wild belugas (Delphinapterus leucas)”. The poster was co-authored by undergraduate Krystle Schultz, and Dr. Becky L. Sartini.
  • Novel “Alternative” Spring Breaks! – Students are participating in an R/V Endeavor cruise with Dr. Menden-Deuer (OCG 494 – Field Oceanography). Students in the Scientific Diving course (AFS 433) will be doing their open water work in Bonaire.
  • J-Term Field Courses (2015) – Students went to Bonaire to study Coral Reef Conservation and Analysis with Dr. Forrester and Anya Watson, Dive Safety Officer (NRS 475X), and to the Philippines to study Aquaculture (AFS 492) with Dr. Michael Rice.
  • Cruise News!  Jessica Perrault (MB Class of 2015) and David Gleeson (MB Class of 2016), as well as alumni Iain McCoy and Michelle Dennis (Class of 2013) are on the R/V Palmer in the Southern Ocean (Dec. 2014) studying krill with Dr. Ted Durbin (GSO) and other scientists. You can learn more about what they are doing at sea on their blog: krillcruise.wordpress.com.
  • Krystle Schultz (FAVS, Class of 2015), presented her research on “Molecular Analysis of Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas) mtDNA Haplotypes from Single-Exhales Blow Samples.” at the Greater Atlantic Regional Stranding Conference in Mystic, CT.
  • Emily Bishop (MBIO, Class of 2015; Hollings Scholar) gave a talk entitled “A new boat-based survey protocol for bull kelp in Puget Sound” at the 16th Annual Northwest Straits MRC Conference, in Port Townsend WA. Her talk was the only one given by a student (!), and was based on her 2014 NOAA Hollings Internship with the Northwest Straits Commission.
  • Cruise News! PhD student Laura Filliger (in Bethany Jenkins’ lab) just completed a month-long cruise in the Southern Ocean aboard the R/V Palmer with a group from Stanford and MBL; she was invited to participate by Dr. Anton Post, formerly of MBL, and now the new Director of the URI’s Coastal Resources Center
  • SACNAS Award Winners from the Moseman-Valtierra Lab – PhD student Melanie Garate won an Outstanding Graduate Presentation award in Environmental Sciences for her talk, “Increased temperatures and excess nutrients may increase greenhouse gas fluxes from coastal systems”. PhD student Rose Martin won Best Graduate Oral Presentation at the New England Estuarine Research Society meeting for her talk, “From a Spartina patens meadow to a Phragmites jungle: a biological invasion may change coastal carbon cycling”.  (SACNAS is the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans In Science) Click here for an article about Melanie and Rose.
  • Welcome to the 85 freshmen in the Class of 2018 and our new Transfer Students!!
  • Welcome to Dr. Bryan Dewsbury, new Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. He will be teaching BioSci 101, and will be advising Marine Biology majors in CELS.
  • The Marine Biology Peer Mentor for 2014-2015 is Emily Bishop. She can be reached at mbmentor@etal.uri.edu, and will hold office hours in the CELS Student Affairs Office (see the Advising and Mentoring page for hours).
  • Our new Administrative Graduate Assistant, Julia Johnstone (MS student in the Webb Lab) can be reached at urimbio@etal.uri.edu.
  • Small WorldJacqueline Weeks, Rebecca Griffin and Jessica Perrault (all Class of 2015) did study abroad and took Oceanography at University of Hawaii in Fall of 2013 and had Amanda Ziegler (Mbio Class of 2012) as a TA. Amanda is now a PhD student at U. Hawaii in Biological Oceanography

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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