Home - Mary-Jane (MJ) James-Pirri


Sampling vegetation in a restored wetland at Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, Saugus, MA (L-R: Charles Roman, National Park Service; Marc Albert, National Park Service; &  MJ James-Pirri).

Named 2012 top researcher by the National Park Service


Ph.D., University of Rhode Island, Biological Sciences, 1996

M.S., University of New Hampshire, Zoology,1990

B.A., Colby College, Biology, 1985

Boston University-SEA Semester (W-73), winter 1983-1984

Research focus

My research interests focus on estuarine and coastal ecology, specifically, the responses of salt marsh vegetation and nekton communities to restoration and management activities.  I am also interested in the ecology, behavior and life history of marine arthropods, particularly horseshoe crabs and decapod crustaceans. I provide research and technical expertise for sample design and statistical analyses and interpretation to the National Park Service.  I work closely with local non-profit agencies and federal agencies (National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service) to develop and implement long-term monitoring protocols.

Employment history

Marine Research Associate IV, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, 2002 to present

Marine Research Associate III, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, 1999-2002

Coastal Marine Resource Specialist, NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service Restoration Center, 1998-1999

Wetlands Ecologist (Post-doctoral), Office of Mosquito Abatement, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, 1996-1998.

Lecture and teaching experience

Invited lecturer- Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting. June 2011. University of Rhode Island.

Invited lecturer- Green Eggs and Sand Workshop. June 2011. Cornell Cooperative Extension & State University of New York, Stony Brook.

Invited Lecturer- Applied Coastal Ecology. University of Rhode Island, 2000-present

Adjunct Professor, Community College of Rhode Island, 1998 (Human Anatomy)

Instructor, University of Rhode Island, 1996-1999 (Ecology, General Biology, Human Anatomy)

Professional Memberships and Committee Affiliations

Cooperator, North Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (2003 to present)

Estuarine Research Federation (2001 to present)

New England Estuarine Research Society (2000 to present)

Organization Committee, New England Estuarine Research Society Conference, Fall 2004, 2008, 2012 meetings

Senior Fellow of the Coastal Institute, University of Rhode Island (2005 to present)

Southern New England Horseshoe Crab Technical Committee (2007 to present)

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society (1988 to 2002)

Technical Advisory Committee, Rhode Island Habitat Restoration Team (2001-2003)


Reviewer for Journals and Agencies

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Estuaries/Estuaries and Coasts

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

Field Crop Research

Fisheries Bulletin

Journal of Crustacean Biology

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Marine Biology

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology

National Estuarine Research Reserve (Narragansett Bay Reserve)

National Park Service

National Science Foundation

Northeast Naturalist, reviewer & guest editor

NOAA Coastal Ocean Research/Coastal Ocean Program

Restoration Ecology

Sea Grant (New York and Connecticut)

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Contact information

Mary-Jane James-Pirri

University of Rhode Island

Graduate School of Oceanography

Box 6

South Ferry Road

Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882

(401) 874-6617 (phone)

(401) 874-6887 (fax)