Commencement 2016: URI graduate student studies feeding, growth habits of microscopic organisms in ocean

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I., May 4, 2016—When people are hungry they look for food, maybe a cheeseburger. But what happens to microorganisms in the ocean when they get hungry? Do they perish, live or grow?


Sean Anderson, a 24-year-old student at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, answered those questions researching the feeding habits of heterotrophic protists—microscopic ocean plankton that make our planet habitable.


In May, he’ll graduate with a master’s degree in oceanography, but now he’s buckled down in his office on the Narragansett campus writing his thesis, “Growth, Grazing and Starvation Survival in Three Heterotrophic Dinoflagellate Species.”


Working with professor Susanne Menden-Deuer in her lab at GSO, he says, have been challenging and rewarding. “I finished my thesis two weeks ago and plan to defend it April 14,” he says, gleefully. “It’s been a fantastic two years being able to get lab and field experience.”