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The Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) create the Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC) and choose Stony Brook to be its home campus. The vision was an MSRC that would serve as an interdisciplinary, SUNY-wide center for research in the marine sciences.


SUNY acquires Flax Pond Marine Laboratory jointly with NYSDEC. Academic Vice President Bentley Glass appointed as first Acting Director of MSRC.

Peter Weyl first professor appointed to MSRC, jointly with Earth & Space Sciences, with his office located in the lower level of ESS. George Williams is the second appointment, jointly with the Biology Department.


Thomas Goreau appointed as Prof. of Marine Sciences at SUNY and Director of the Discovery Bay Laboratory, Jamaica W.I.


MSRC acquires first research vessel, R/V Frump. Peter deNyse appointed Captain.

Donald F Squires appointed first Director of MSRC, formerly from the Smithsonian Institution.

Profs. Ted Baylor (ex WHOI) and Grant Gross (ex Smithsonian) appointed to MSRC.

Marine Alert service instituted, with 24/7 phone hotline for citizen reports on environmental happenings on Long Island.

MSRC joins a consortium of 9 public & private universities and colleges to form the New York Ocean Sciences Lab at Montauk Point.


MSRC acquires the R/V Micmac, a 49’ Nova Scotia fishing boat from Maine.

M.S. degree in Marine Environmental Studies approved by NY State Dept of Education.

The First MSRC Logo
Flax Pond Marine Lab
The R/V Frump
The R/V Micmac


MESP classes begin at MSRC.

J. Laurie McHugh appointed as Professor of Fisheries Science. Ron Kaplan appointed as Instructor.


Squires announces proposal to establish SBU as a Sea Grant Institution at LI Marine Resources Council meeting.

MSRC moves to J building in South Campus (now Dental School).

New lab constructed on Isles of Shoals administered by MSRC, Cornell & UNH. John Kingsbury appointed as Director.

Malcolm Bowman appointed as Assistant Professor; Charles Wurster promoted to Associate Professor. Laurie McHugh appointed Chairman of International Whaling Commission. Canadian author Farley Mowatt roundly criticizes McHugh’s stand on limited whaling in his book “A Whale for the Killing”.  

New courses delivered in physical and biological oceanography, marine instrumentation, socio-economic aspects of the coastal zone, marine legal-political issues, fish ecology, case studies and the weekly departmental seminar. The academic program takes off.

MSRC Director Don Squires reports to Marine Resources Council & Nassau-Suffolk Regional Planning Board on his first 3 years as Director. MSRC is on the move.

NY Sea Grant Program formally launched with Don Squires as Director and Laurie McHugh as coordinator of Marine Research.

First issue of Coastlines newsletter is published by Sea Grant.


Peter Woodhead is appointed Director of Discovery Bay Laboratory, Jamaica.

Don Squires resigns as Director.  Grant Gross appointed Acting Director.

Iver Duedall appointed as assistant professor of chemical oceanography. 


Robert Wilson appointed as Post Doctoral Fellow.


Jerry Schubel appointed Director of MSRC, later Dean added to title.

New research vessel “Onrust” is delivered from the shipyard in RI.


External review of MSRC recommends that a PhD program be instituted.


PhD degree approved by NY State Dept of Education.

Governor Hugh Carey cuts the ribbon at the Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences, attended by Acting President Alexander Pond and Museum Director Steve Engelbright. Englebright is the Museum’s curator and founder.


New buildings at South Campus
The R/V Onrust


MSRC creates artificial fishing reef from coal waste blocks. New York Governor Hugh Carey visits to help lay the blocks.

Dr. Mary Scranton becomes MSRC’s first female faculty member.


First PhD degree is awarded.


Following period of rapid growth during the 70s and 80s, Stony Brook Provost Homer Neal elevates Director of MSRC to the title of “Dean and Director”.


MSRC creates artificial fishing reef through the Coal Waste Artificial Reef Project: Governor Carey visits.

NY Legislature creates and provides funding for two research institutes: the Waste Management Institute (now known as the Waste Reduction and Management Institute, WRMI) and the Living Marine Resources Institute (LIMRI) .


J. Schubel appointed Provost of Stony Brook University, Donald Pritchard appointed Acting Dean and Director.


Malcolm Bowman appointed Acting Dean and Director.

Cruise on Marine Sciences Research Center’s research vessel Onrust includes Long Island legislators.


Jerry Schubel returns to MSRC.

The Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres (lTPA) is created by the Provost in response to proposal emerging from faculty in Mechanical Engineering, Earth and Space Sciences, and Physics.  Professor Robert de Zafra appointed Director.

New York Governor Hugh Carey helps create the Coal Waste Artificial Reef with MSRC
BNL Cruise on the RV Onrust
Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres Logo


The Boathouse, an experimental building made from municipal solid waste (MSW) ash blocks, is dedicated at a ceremony attended by University officials and State legislators.


Dean Jerry Schubel to lead self-study process of Stony Brook University.  He also chairs the Undergraduate Project Steering Committee.


Institute of Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres (ITPA) officially moves to MSRC from Engineering and Physics. MSRC assumes responsibility for atmospheric sciences major. Marine & Atmospheric Information Center (MASIC) opens in Challenger Hall.

MSRC is featured in a special supplemental section in Forbes titled “Clean Water, Clean Air”


J. Schubel resigns to become President of the New England Aquarium, Boston. Kirk Cochran appointed Acting Dean and Director.

Middle States re-accreditation of Stony Brook University is critical of the lack of an environmental degree for undergraduates. Provost Rollin Richmond asks MSRC to develop an undergraduate major in this area. MSRC begins planning process to do so.


Kirk Cochran appointed Dean and Director.

NRC review of doctoral programs ranks MSRC #8 in the country in oceanography.


Marvin Geller appointed Dean and Director.

Boathouse Dedication


R/V Seawolf acquired and refitted.


David Conover appointed Dean and Director


Speakers at 4th Annual Lobster Health Symposium at Stony Brook University identify probable causes of the 1999 lobster deaths and discuss steps needed to revive the lobster industry


Long Island University and Stony Brook University reaches an agreement that would request a transfer of the undergraduate marine science programs at Southampton College to Stony Brook University effective September, 2005. Under the terms of the agreement, Southampton College marine science majors, who are in good academic standing, will have the option of seamlessly transferring to Stony Brook to continue their studies.

An examination of the causes and effects of the recent tsunami disaster in Southeast and South Asia and an exploration of the possibility for such a catastrophe on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. features two leading Stony Brook University professors. Teng-fong Wong, Chair of the Department of Geosciences, and Malcolm J. Bowman, a Professor of Physical Oceanography at the Marine Sciences Research Center, present “The Day Before the Day After Tomorrow: Threats and Responses to Natural Disasters,” which will probe topics including whether New York could be in danger of a destructive tsunami following a major earthquake.

The R/V Seawolf assists the Riverhead Foundation with the release of Rocky, a Risso’s Dolphin.


Stony Brook University acquires failing Southampton College. MSRC acquires marine field station, marine science major and creates new major in marine vertebrate biology.


Academic Analytics ranks MSRC’s doctoral program as #3 in the nation in physical oceanography and #7 in marine biology.

Marine Sciences Research Center becomes School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences.

SoMAS Faculty Minghua Zhang, Edmund Chang, Marvin Geller and Robert Cess have been recognized for their contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with former Vice President Al Gore for efforts to control global warming.

Stony Brook University President Shirley Strum Kenny plans to make Stony Brook Southampton a model of environmental sustainability nationwide, signing the Talloires Declaration, a 10-point pledge signed by university presidents worldwide focused on assuring a greener future for all countries.


SoMAS Partners With Blue Ocean Institute, now the Safina Center.

The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science established at SoMAS.


Jack Macrae and Paula Cooper donated a four-acre residential property on the banks of the Forge River to support the programs of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University launches the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, a team of 13 preeminent scientists from around the world that will develop management plans to tackle the unprecedented depletion of forage fish from our oceans.

An international group of 75 scientists, engineers, city planners, port, transportation and emergency managers convened at Stony Brook Manhattan for the Connecting Delta Cities workshop to discuss common challenges and innovative strategies for protecting coastal populations, port facilities, industrial centers, transportation corridors, water systems, telecommunications facilities, hospitals, schools and financial businesses in flood-prone coastal urban areas.

The New York State Department of Education approves the Coastal Environmental Studies major at Stony Brook Southampton.


The R/V Seawolf
Southampton Marine Station
Forge River Property
SoMAS Logo


David Conover accepts position at NSF.  He maintains his professorship at SoMAS while at NSF. Minghua Zhang accepts position as Interim Dean. Sultan Hameed appointed Director of ITPA.

Marine Conservation and Policy Master of Arts program begins, offering an MA in 18 months to students interested in marine conservation and policy.


Minghua Zhang appointed Dean of SoMAS

SUNY2020 Initiative provides opportunity to grow faculty at SoMAS.  Over the next five years, SoMAS adds almost 20 faculty to the school.

The Semester by the Sea program at Southampton begins.




The Marine Sciences Center opens at the Southampton Marine Station.

Governor Cuomo announced establishing the New York State Resilience Institute for Storms and Emergencies (NYS RISE) to assist the state with storm recovery efforts and to make the state more resilient to future storms in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

The Faculty Honor Wall is unveiled in the Melville Library.  The Wall displays the awards earned by the faculty at the university and includes several SoMAS faculty.

David Conover returns to Stony Brook University as the Interim Vice President of Research.

The R/V Seawolf assists the Riverhead Foundation with the release of Roxanne, a Risso’s dolphin.


In 2014 the NAno-RAMAN Molecular Imaging Laboratory was established.


Sustainability Studies Department officially moves to SoMAS from under the Provost.  SoMAS adds 5 undergraduate majors: Ecosystems and Human Impact, Environmental Design, Policy and Planning, Environmental Humanities, Coastal Environmental Studies, and Sustainability Studies.  The Geospatial Center also moves to SoMAS.

Minghua Zhang ends term as Dean.  Larry Swanson becomes Interim Dean.


SoMAS celebrates its 50th anniversary at Stony Brook University

The Radar Observatory at the South P Lot is established.


Paul Shepson becomes Dean. College Magazine ranks Stony Brook University fourth on its list of “The 10 Best Colleges for Marine Biology,” the only university in New York State to make the top 10 list.


SoMAS officially establishes the Divisions of Marine Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences and Sustainability Studies, each lead by a Division Head.

Minghua Zhang becomes Interim Provost of Stony Brook University.


SoMAS Nobel Prize Winners on the Faculty Honor Wall
Release of Risso's dolphin Roxanne
Marine Sciences Center
SoMAS 50th Logo
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