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Areas of expertise for selected SoMAS faculty members.  For additional experts at Stony Brook University, please visit the Experts page.

Atmospheric Sciences

Brian Colle, Ph.D., Professor in Atmospheric Sciences. Dr. Colle’s research focuses on the structure and dynamics of meoscale phenomena in the coastal zones of North America, as well as meoscale numerical modeling and forecasting. He was the first person to successfully obtain the three-dimensional flow over mountainous terrain using an aircraft Doppler radar and also is conducting idealized simulations of the interactions of fronts with the steep coastal terrain of western North America.

Specific areas of expertise: Synoptic meteorology. Meoscale numerical modeling and forecasting. Coastal meteorology.

Michael M. French, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Atmospheric Sciences. Dr. French’s research involves using remote sensing (Doppler radar or satellite) data to better understand the dynamics of mesoscale and storm-scale weather phenomena. His primary research is in the use of high spatial and temporal resolution radar datasets, in addition to data from other observing tools, to gain insight into severe storm and tornado processes.

Specific areas of expertise: extreme weather supercell and tornado dynamics doppler weather radar applications mesoscale meteorology

Daniel Knopf, Ph.D., Professor in Atmospheric Sciences. Dr. Knopf’s research focuses on the physical and chemical properties of aerosol particles and their role in air pollution and cloud formation and thus climate. Phase transitions of aerosol particles, like the formation of ice and its impact on the global radiation budget, is one of the least understood processes in the atmosphere. Also, aerosol particles provide a medium for gas-to-particle reactions, with the Antarctic ozone hole being the most prominent example.

Specific areas of expertise: Antarctic ozone hole aerosol and the ozone air pollution sea spray aerosols smoke or fogcloud formation and effect on climate water freezing global warming

Kevin Reed, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Atmospheric Sciences. Dr. Reed’s research interests include understanding the capability of global climate models to simulate extreme weather events and the impact of model design choices on the simulation of such extremes in a global context. One specific area of his research has focused on the ability of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) to simulate tropical cyclones at high-resolutions. Additionally, he studies how extreme events, including tropical cyclones, may change as a result of a changing climate.

Specific areas of expertise: tropical cyclones extreme weather climate change hurricanes


Marine Sciences

Bassem Allam, Ph.D.Marinetics Endowed Professor. Dr. Allam’s research is centered on interactions between marine mollusks and waterborne microorganisms in general and, in particular, the framework of host-pathogen interactions. He also studies the mechanisms of resistance to pathogens and diseases, and the effect of environmental factors on these interactions. His research also includes a strong applied component aimed at enhancing knowledge and development of mitigation strategies for diseases affecting local shellfish species.

Specific areas of expertise: shellfish diseases quahog parasite marine mollusks and diseases environmental factors

David Black, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Paleoclimatology/Paleoceanography. Dr. Black’s research interests include understanding the processes that cause global and regional climate change, developing records of past ocean-atmosphere variability using the marine sediment record, exploring linkages between different parts of the climate system and calibrating methods for reconstructing past earth climates. My lab uses a combination of marine micropaleontology, trace element geochemistry and stable isotope geochemistry to reconstruct regional patterns of temperature, wind strength, and precipitation for various regions around the world.

Specific areas of expertise: global climate change; paleoclimatology; micropaleontology; stable isotope geochemistry and marine sediments.

Henry Bokuniewicz, Ph.D., Professor in Geological Oceanography. Dr. Bokuniewicz has conducted studies on the behavior of coastal sedimentary systems and coastal groundwater hydrology. Much of his research is directly applicable to problems of coastal zone management. His other research deals with practical problems of groundwater seepage at the sea floor, shore erosion, dredging and the dispersal of dredged sediments, and marine mining.

Specific areas of expertise: Nearshore transport processes. Coastal groundwater hydrology. Coastal sedimentation. Marine geophyscis.

Malcolm Bowman, Ph.D., Professor in Physical Oceanography. Dr. Bowman studies the dynamics of coastal fronts, eddies, island wakes and coastal sea straits. He uses a combination of observations and model simulations to describe dynamically fundamental physical processes in shallow seas and estuaries, and how these processes control and influence the structure and production of the marine food chain from phytoplankton up to, and including, fish. Professor Bowman is also principal investigator of the Stony Brook Storm Surge Research Group, which develops and tests meteorological-ocean models to predict coastal storm surges.

Specific areas of expertise: Coast, ocean and estuarine dynamics. Coastal storm surges.

Jackie Collier, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Biological Oceanography. Dr. Collier uses molecular genetic, biochemical and genomic approaches to investigate a variety of issues in marine microbial ecology, including impacts of harmful algal blooms like Brown Tides on spatial and temporal patterns in planktonic communities, the role of fungus-like protists in the decomposition of organic matter in the oceans, and the effects of changing climate on microbially-driven processes in marine ecosystems. She is also developing molecular genetic methods to identify the prey consumed by crustacean predators such as the blue crab.

Specific areas of expertise: Phytoplankton physiological ecology; Bio-complexity and microbial diversity; Planktonic ecosystem processes in marine, estuarine, and freshwater systems.

Charles Flagg, Ph.D., Research Professor in Oceanography. Dr. Flagg’s research is focused on the kinematics and dynamics of the world’s coastal ocean, including the processes at the edge of the broad continental shelf of the Middle Atlantic Bight and the Gulf of Maine that control the exchange of mass and material between the deep ocean and shelf. His studies include the coastal lagoons of southern Long Island and the impact of breaches in Fire Island.

Specific areas of expertise: fire island breachcoastal lagoons of southern long islandcontinental shelf dynamicsclimate changeglobal warminghurricane sandy

Christopher Gobler, Ph.D.. Professor in Biological Oceanography. Research by the Gobler group focuses on plankton ecology, in particular the factors which promote phytoplankton growth (organic and inorganic nutrients) and the factors which are responsible for algal mortality (zooplankton, viruses, filter-feeding bivalves). A primary emphasis in plankton ecology has been the study of harmful algal blooms (HABs), both locally and around the US. Another research focus is the ecological functioning and trophic status of estuaries, especially understanding how anthropogenic activities such as eutrophication, overharvesting of fisheries, and salt marsh / shoreline modification may alter the natural biogeochemical and/or ecological functioning of estuarine ecosystems. A final area of interest is how phytoplankton influence biogeochemical cycles of organic carbon, nutrients and trace metals in aquatic ecosystems.

Specific areas of expertise: Harmful algal blooms; Ocean acidification and estuarine ecology.

Roxanne Karimi, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor. Roxanne Karimi’s research examines how ecological factors influence the cycling of nutrients and contaminants in freshwater and marine ecosystems, and human exposure to these nutrients and contaminants through fish consumption. Her research interests consist of three core areas: 1) mercury bioaccumulation and transfer through the food web, 2) element patterns in aquatic organisms 3) human health effects from exposure to mercury, fatty acids, and other substances through seafood consumption.

Specific areas of expertise: Environmental healthaquatic ecologyfreshwater and marine pollutantsmercuryheavy metalsseafood consumptionhealth effects from eating fish

Janet Nye, Ph.D., Associate Professor. Janet Nye’s research focuses on the effects of climate variability and climate change on fish, fisheries, and marine ecosystems. Specifically, she studies how climate and fishing interact to cause shifts in spatial distribution and abundance of fish and invertebrates in the Northwest Atlantic, including local fisheries in Long Island Sound and Great South Bay. Her research is used to inform how climate change may affect species that have been petitioned under the Endangered Species Act.

Specific areas of expertise: Paris Climate Accordclimate changefisheries managementmarine ecosystemsfisheries collapseocean warminglong island soundgreat south bay

Christopher Paparo. Christopher Paparo’s primary responsibility is to maintain the Marine Sciences Center’s computerized, state-of the-art 5,000 sq. ft. seawater lab. He is also the field station’s naturalist, educating the public about the various fish, invertebrates, mammals, and bird that call Long Island home.  Additionally, Paparo has 20 years of experience working with sharks. He is currently a member of the SoFo’s Shark Research and Education Program, has tagged white sharks with OCEACH, managed the shark exhibit at the LI Aquarium for 13 years, and assisted WCS (NY Aquarium) tagging sand tiger sharks.

Specific areas of expertise: marine sciencesharksmarine ecologynaturalistalgal bloomsocean acousticsocean acidification

Bradley Peterson, Ph.D., Associate Professor. Bradley Peterson’s research is focused on shallow coastal ecosystems (seagrasses, corals reefs, oysters reefs) to understand the role of of how these organisms influence their communities and how these interactions might affect community stability and resilience. Most of his work is with plant-animal interactions along the eastern coast of the U.S. One of his current projects is investigating the consequences of changing climate on Long Island south shore estuaries.

Specific areas of expertise: eelgrassrestorationocean acidificationclimate changeoystershard clams;habitat complexityParis Climate Accord

Roy Price, Ph.D., is an aqueous geochemist investigating the chemical evolution of hydrothermal vent fluids and groundwater. These themes overlap in that fluid chemistry is driven by water-rock reactions. He focuses on shallow-sea vents, where he evaluates toxic metal cycling, bioaccumulation of arsenic, associated microbial communities, and even the origin of life. He also investigates metal mobilization and nitrogen cycling in groundwater. He is currently Research Coordinator for the Center for Clean Water Technology, and conducts research related to the Long Island’s nitrate pollution.

Specific areas of expertise: hydrogeologyhydrothermal ventsshallow-sea ventsLong Island and nitrate pollutiontoxic elements in coastal marine environmentsorigin of life arsenic

Carl Safina, Ph.D., Endowed Professor.  Carl Safina, a marine ecologist and author of various books, including a recent bestseller about what animals think and feel, is one of the nation’s most esteemed environmental writers. As an ecologist, his achievements include leading campaigns to ban high-seas driftnets, achieve passage of a UN global fisheries treaty, and reduce albatross and sea turtle drownings on commercial fishing lines. He now writes about the troubled relationship between humanity and the living world.

Specific areas of expertise: Paris Climate Accordconservationocean conservationmarine ecology seabirdsenvironmentsustainableanimal intelligencenatureanimalsfisheriesorcasanimal conservation

Gordon T. Taylor, Ph.D., Professor in Marine Microbiology. Dr. Taylor’s expertise includes: microbial involvement in biogeochemical cycles, food web relationships among microorganisms (bacteria, protozoans, algae and viruses), microbial biofouling, nuisance blooms, such as Brown Tide and ecology of oxygen-depleted marine systems.  His current research focuses on microbiological and chemical exchange processes across boundaries, novel microbial metabolisms and the microbial ecology of organic debris during transport from sites of production. His research sheds light on responses of the oceans’ carbon cycle and ecosystem function to oxygen stress and global climate change.

Specific areas of interest: Biological oceanography. Microbial ecology. Marine pathogens (bacteria and viruses). Global carbon cycle. Hypoxia. Anoxia. Ocean deoxygenation.

Robert L. Swanson, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor in Physical Oceanography. Dr. Swanson is a physical and coastal oceanographer who focuses on marine pollution and solid waste issues. He is Director of the Waste Reduction and Management Institute, and Associate Dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. While maintaining a research program on the above topics, he also is active in using science to influence public policy.

Specific areas of expertise: Physical and coastal oceanography. Marine pollution. Marine policy, ocean policy, and solid waste issues.

Joe Warren, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Physical Oceanography.  Joseph Warren’s research involves the use of underwater acoustics, a non-invasive way to measure and study a variety of oceanographic processes.  One focus of his research is the foraging behavior of apex predators such as marine mammals and other ocean predators. A current area of study is the increase in nearshore humpback and other whale sightings along the coast of New York after decades of only rare whale sightings. He believes these increased sightings could be due to an increase in large aggregations of Atlantic menhaden (a prey fish also called bunker) that occur in the area and the fact that humpback whale populations appear to be increasing due to protection laws.

Specific areas of expertise: underwater acousticshumpback and baleen whalespredator-prey interactionseast coast whale sightingsantarctic krill populations

Sustainability Studies

Donovan Finn, Ph.D., Asisstant Professor in Sustainability Studies. An urban planner, Dr. Finn’s research focuses on sustainability and resiliency planning in the New York region, the utility of public participation for effective planning, and understanding how communities effectively recover from disaster. He has consulted with local governments in Illinois and Missouri on growth management and sustainable development, and works regularly with non-profit organizations and local governments in New York City and Long Island on issues of sustainability, resilience, and public participation.

Specific areas of expertise: urban planning sustainable development sustainability resiliency planningsustainability in New York region disaster recovery

Karina Yager, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Sustainability Studies. Dr. Yager’s research focuses on the impacts of climate change in mountain environments. She applies interdisciplinary methods to her research, including remote sensing of land cover and land-use change and the socio-ecological study of high-altitude vegetation, mountain peatland systems and indigenous pastoral communities. Her current research project, funded by NASA-ROSES, is focused on the impact of disappearing tropical glaciers on pastoral agriculture in the Andes of South America.

Specific areas of expertise: climate change mountain environments alpine peatlands Andean culture and ecology tropical glaciersclimate change impacts pastoralists glacier monitoring remote sensing land cover land use change


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