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 SEVEN new faculty in Marine Biology and Related Areas in the past few 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)
  • Biogeochemistry (Dr. Jamie Palter, GSO)
  • Phytoplankton Ecology/Coastal Oceanography (Dr. Colleen Mouw, GSO)
  • Hydrothermal Vent/Methane Seeps (Dr. Roxanne Beinart, GSO)
  • Marine Communities and Food Web Dynamics (Kelton McMahon, GSO)

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

Check out our Facebook page: “URI Marine Biology

Congratulations & Announcements

  • Callie Veelenturf (MBio 2014) is the overall winner of a Scientist at Work photo contest held by Nature. The photo of Callie and her research subject is in the attached article from Nature.
  • Two Marine Biology majors, Max Zavell and Erin Tully (both class of 2020; photo to right) have been awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarships  this year. See URI Press Release here.  This is the 10th consecutive year in which URI students have won this prestigious and nationally competitive scholarship. A total of 27 URI students have received this scholarship since its inaugural year in 2005.
  • A recent paper by Dr. Jacqueline Webb (BIO) and Dr. Jason Ramsay (former graduate student and lecturer) has been named Best Paper in Ichthyology for 2017 by Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (Webb JF & Ramsay J. 2017. New interpretation of the 3-D configuration of lateral line scales and the lateral line canal contained within them. Copeia. 105: 339-347. DOI: 10.1643/CG-17-601)
  • An article about Daniel Achilles (MBio class of 2018) and his experience on an Antarctic cruise with Dr. Tatiana Rynearson (GSO) is featured here.
  • Dr. Chris Lane has been Promoted to Full Professor and Dr. Jacqueline Webb has been promoted to Full Professor III.
  • Alexa Sterling (PhD student, Jenkins Lab) has been awarded a 2018-2019 Rhode Island Space Grant Fellowship to support her research.
  • A very successful Society of Women in Marine Science (SWMS) Spring Symposium (“Navigating a Sea of Choices in Marine Science“) was held at GSO on Saturday March 24. Graduate students Alexa Sterling (BES, Jenkins Lab), Jillian Freese (BES, Lane Lab) and Anna Robuck (GSO, Lohmann Lab)  – photo at right – and a flock (a school, a pod) of CELS/marine biology undergrads did a spectacular job of organizing a remarkable conference that attracted over 125 attendees from around the country. If you would like to join SWMS, send an email to: uriswms@gmail.com
  • Dr. Carlos Prada (BioSci) arrived in Jan. 2018 as the newest member of the Marine Biology faculty. See his website at: CarlosPrada.org.
  • Dr. Jon Puritz (BioSci) has been invited to be faculty for the 4th annual “Bioinformatics for Adaptation Genomics (B@G^4)” workshop for early career researchers in Weggis, Switzerland. He has been an invited faculty member for all four workshops.
  • Dr. Hollie Putnam (BioSci) and colleagues at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) have received a major grant from Pembroke Foundation International that will determine how rapidly corals can acclimate and adapt to warming temperatures and what the reefs of the future will look like. Read more here.
  • Callie Veelenturf (MBio 2014 and MS, Purdue U.) won the first Cocos Island Conservation Scholarship through the Turtle Island Restoration Network. Its purpose is to provide an early-career marine conservationist the chance to participate in a Cocos Island Expedition. Callie went on a 10-day sea turtle and shark tagging expedition to Cocos Island (off the coast of Costa Rica). Read about it here.
  • 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). Cherisa writes that she is working at the NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory (Boulder CO) and will be on a 13 month (!) deployment to Antarctica starting in November 2017. Her blog can be found at: https://antarctica106.wordpress.com/
  • 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
  • Ashley Stoehr (MBio 2010) is currently PhD student at UMass-Dartmouth. She was sighted at Shoals Marine Laboratory (shoalsmarinelaboratory.org) where she was a teaching assistant (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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Nancy Karraker, also presented papers at the meeting.URIstudents
  • 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  joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 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 joined 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).
  • For older 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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