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Students studying Marine Biology at Roger Williams University explore the unique challenges faced by organisms living in the marine environment and the methods by which they meet these challenges. Students begin the program by obtaining a broad understanding of oceanographic principles, and through lectures, laboratories and field work, build on this knowledge for a more complete appreciation of the aquatic world.

Marine Biology is housed in the state-of-the-art Marine and Natural Sciences (MNS) Building. Located just a few hundred yards from Mount Hope Bay, the MNS Building is complete with a 4,000 square-foot wet lab, nearly 200 ocean tanks, a greenhouse and a vast array of scientific equipment from plankton nets to a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. Roger Williams is also home to the state’s only shellfish hatchery, and thanks to a recently expanded facility, we now have three times our original space for shellfish production, student and faculty research and an expansion of our tropical marine ornamental program for which we partner with the New England Aquarium in Boston.

Student-faculty collaboration is the hallmark of a Roger Williams University education. Research projects undertaken in Marine Biology have resulted in countless articles, publications and presentations. Students are encouraged to join an ongoing research project in areas that include biological oceanography, coastal and wetland studies, marine environmental physiology and marine biotechnology and aquaculture.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the time a student has completed a major in Biology or Marine Biology, s/he is expected to be able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. formulate a scientific question or problem
  2. design a properly controlled experiment or field study that tests a clearly-stated hypothesis
  3. evaluate evidence critically and quantitatively, and apply this knowledge to novel situations.
  4. effectively communicate scientific knowledge orally, graphically, and in writing
  5. conduct a search of peer-reviewed print and electronic resources relevant to a research project in the life sciences
  6. understand the role of macromolecules in cellular processes
  7. understand the relationship between the structure and function of cellular components
  8. understand the relationship between the structure and function of major organ systems
  9. understand the mechanisms of physiological homeostasis
  10. describe cellular and physiological adaptations that have evolved in a variety of phyla
  11. understand the key discoveries of modern biology (including molecular biology and bioinformatics)
  12. understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of inheritance
  13. understand the species concept and the factors affecting biodiversity
  14. describe the patterns and mechanisms of evolution
  15. understand how phylogenetic relationships among taxa are determined
  16. describe the patterns and mechanisms of population distribution, growth and regulation
  17. understand the flow of matter and energy through natural systems from the molecular to the ecosystem level
  18. describe interactions among biotic and abiotic factors in natural systems
  19. understand the life history strategies of organisms
  20. describe the major global biological communities and biomes
  21. understand significant interactions and dependencies between human and natural systems