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PI: Jon Puritz


I use molecular tools to understand the ecological and evolutionary processes of marine populations. Currently, my research focuses on using next-generation sequencing and genomics to understand how human populations affect connectivity and evolution in the ocean. I study a variety of organisms, from fish to sea stars.

Lab Manager Extraordinaire

Maggie Schedl

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and I went to Occidental College in Los Angeles, California for my undergraduate degree. Moving to the coast was pivotal for me, and taking Marine Biology my first semester, and Evolutionary Biology my Junior year ignited my science research interests.  At Occidental, I did my undergrad research with the Moore Laboratory of Zoology and John McCormack. After graduating I moved to Rhode Island to work for Jon Puritz, Carlos Prada, and Hollie Putnam. At URI I get to tackle challenging lab techniques, teach my lab members, and facilitate their research. In my free time I enjoy hiking, birding, cooking, printmaking, photography, and reading.  Find my personal website here.

Graduate Students

Amy Zyck

I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, where I developed a passion for studying ocean life. In May, I will graduate from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Marine Science. I began conducting research early on as an undergraduate and have since gained multiple research experiences. At the University of South Carolina, I work in the lab of Dr. Jerry Hilbish, understanding recruitment in marine mussel populations in Southwest England. For the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship, I completed a summer internship with Dr. Christopher Chambers, looking at the coupled effects of CO2 and dissolved oxygen on the early life stages of Atlantic silverside. For my PhD, I plan to use an ocean acidification system to conduct exposure experiments on early life stages of oysters. In my free time, I enjoy playing intramural sports, ceramics, watching sports, and spending time with friends.

Jacob Green

I was born and raised as a California kid from the Central San Joaquin Valley. For the last 10 years, I have pursued three A.A.’s at Santa Barbara City College and a B.S. in Molecular biology with a Chemistry minor at California State University Monterey Bay. I am the product of the Universities Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center Scholar program where I developed my identity as a researcher. Through this program, I was an undergraduate researcher in the Logan lab where I studied juvenile and larval rockfish physiological responses to climate change using enzyme assays, next generation sequencing, and bioinformatics. In 2017, I was awarded the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholarship which allowed me to complete a summer research internship in the Puritz lab conducting the first de novo Exome assemblies of the Eastern Oyster. My PhD work at URI will be focused on developing de novo techniques and bioinformatic pipelines for phylogenomic analysis and exploring the adaptation of the Eastern Oyster immune system in response to disease and climate change. One fact about me, I love the ocean and SCUBA as much as I can, but if I am in a swimming pool…I still think Jaws is gonna get me.  Find more here!

Natalie Ameral

I am currently a Masters student pursuing horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) research in the Puritz Lab. My undergraduate work at Unity College in Maine allowed me to investigate the fascinating world of tardigrades alongside Dr. Emma Perry. While studying at Unity College, our lab discovered a new species of tardigrade (Echiniscoides rugostellatus)! Upon graduating in 2015, I started contract work with NOAA conducting port sampling in the port of New Bedford, MA on groundfish, shellfish, and crustacean species. This experience gave me a first-hand look (and taste!) at how physically taxing the day-to-day work of commercial fishermen really is. For the past three years, I have been at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Marine Fisheries Division working as a full-time fisheries specialist. In this role, I serve as the Vice Chair of the Horseshoe Crab Technical Committee for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Division. The purpose of my research is to inform upon the many unknowns that horseshoe crab stock managers must consider when designing a sustainable fisheries management plan including genetic diversity, interannual movement patterns and dispersal, and phenotypic variations.

Megan Guidry

I am from just up-river of New Orleans, and I love squishy, slimy inverts! I earned a B.S. in Biology from Louisiana State University. Growing up in southeast Louisiana, where the land meets water and coastal communities are on the front lines of climate change, shaped my interests in fisheries species, specifically oysters. I’m interested in the intersections of environmental change, stress, and oyster genomics. I also have interests in microbial ecology and coastal water quality. Outside of science, I enjoy cycling classes, reading, listening to podcasts, and watching LSU football.

Current Undergraduate Students

Nina Padro

I am a junior biological sciences major from North Haven, Connecticut. Ever since I took an evolution course, it sparked my interest in genetics. I am passionate to learn more about how environmental factors can play a large impact on the genetics of organisms. Working alongside Amy Zyck, I am learning about the genes involved in response to certain environmental stressors for oysters. 

Undergraduate Lab Alumni

Kate Leiden

I am from Cleveland, Ohio where I developed an interest in aquatic ecosystems while living next to Lake Erie. My studies lead me to URI where I graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences in May 2018. I am interested in how larval stages of marine invertebrates are being impacted by anthropogenic changes in the ocean, which I plan to investigate further in graduate school!

Elliot Vosburgh

I'm a senior Biological Sciences major, graduating in December 2018. My interests in nature include both chemistry and biology; my plan is to use my undergraduate education to form a foundation for future study, which will merge both these subjects. As our own population grows, the scale at which ecosystems are exposed to pollutants also grows: perhaps, one day, I can be a part of a solution to the challenges these interactions pose.

Lauren Richards

I am a senior marine biology major from Harwinton, Connecticut. I also work in Newport, RI at Clean Ocean access and in the Water Quality and Hydrology lab at URI, and with Dr. Wetherbee. Last fall, I studied abroad in Bermuda, sparking my interest in anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems and organisms, such as larval fish or reefs. In the future, I hope to move onto graduate school working to predict the movements of sharks to better understand and protect them from overfishing and human threats. 

Kevin Dyer

I'm a marine biology undergraduate pursing my B.S. here at the University of Rhode Island. I'm originally from New Jersey, home to the highest amount of superfund sites in the country.  As such, I know first hand the effects of ocean acidification, and why research into its effects on marine organisms is of such importance.  That's me with Jane Goodall on the right.

Emma Ferrante

I’m a senior wildlife conservation biology major marine biology minor 

from Lincoln, Rhode Island. This summer, I will be working with the Rhode Island DEM as a park naturalist at Beavertail State Park in Jamestown. Outside of the lab, I’m the president of the URI Marine Science Society and enjoy exploring the hidden beaches of RI. After undergrad, I hope to work on coral reef ecology and public outreach. 

Melati Tarrant

I recently graduated from the University of Rhode Island in December 2019 with a Marine Biology degree. I was born in Indonesia, but grew up in Maryland, right outside of Washington D.C. I have a particular interest in marine conservation and for my future career, I hope to connect interdisciplinary fields such as biology, ecology, and anthropology in order to learn more about how we can conserve and preserve marine environments.

Lab Manager
Graduate Students
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