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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

News from the Graduate School of Oceanography . . .

URI Bay Campus building named
for Oceanographer Ann Gall Durbin

Narragansett, R.I. -- August 20, 2001 -- Visitors to the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus never fail to remark about the beautiful flowers that grace the brick and concrete buildings. Many of the lovely gardens that come to life every spring are there through the efforts of the late Ann Gall Durbin, a biological oceanographer who loved her work and loved the place she worked.

Now the Aquarium Building where she conducted research for nearly 20 years has become the Ann Gall Durbin Aquarium Building as a tribute to her excellence as a Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) scientist and her dedication to her family, friends, and colleagues.

At a ceremony on the Narragansett Bay Campus last week, approximately 100 people gathered to dedicate the building and remember Durbin. Speakers included former GSO dean Margaret Leinen, who is currently the National Science Foundation Associate Director for Geoscience, URI president Robert Carothers, GSO biological oceanographer James Yoder, GSO marine scientist William Macy, Durbin’s sister Stephanie Amerigian, and Durbin’s husband, GSO biological oceanographer Edward Durbin. Her children, Sarah and Allan Durbin, cut the ribbon that officially opened the doors of the newly named facility.

"Ann was passionate about life and about science," said Leinen. "As a scientist she was regarded as ‘one of the best read scholars in zoological oceanography.’ But Ann was also a person who cared enormously about the University and the School of Oceanography and tended the gardens of the 165-acre Bay Campus as lovingly as the gardens at her home in Kingston. She was a fighter, a winner, and a heroine to many of us."

Durbin, who died in 1995, spent all of her professional life at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus. After receiving her Ph.D. in biological oceanography from URI in 1976, she was hired by GSO as a research associate. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1980, associate professor in 1982, and full professor in 1993. She did much of her scientific work in partnership with her husband, Ted Durbin, also a GSO professor of biological oceanography. She lived in Kingston until her death.

Durbin’s research focused on quantifying food chain dynamics and the levels in the marine food web to better understand the complex interactions that ultimately determine species composition and abundance within marine ecosystems. In the laboratory and in the field, she studied the microscopic plankton communities at the base of the food web, the plankton-feeding fishes, as well as their predators, the carnivorous fishes.

She was a member of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and The Oceanography Society. She was a member of the editorial board of the journal Estuaries and served on a number of national review panels and committees in ocean science.

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country's largest marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as acid rain, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Slater Center for Ocean Technology, and the National Sea Grant Library.

For more information Contact: Lisa Cugini, 874-6642,

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