Biennial Report 2014-2015

SoMAS Dean Minghua Zhang

SoMAS Dean Minghua Zhang

Dear Friend….

The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University is an interdisciplinary center for education, research and public service. Our mission is to increase fundamental understanding, through research and education, of the oceans and atmosphere, their interactions, and the life systems they support. We also develop and communicate innovative solutions to environmental problems at local, regional, national and global levels.

The origins of SoMAS date to 1965, when the State University of New York Board of Trustees established the Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC) at the new campus at Stony Brook. The Center’s focus broadened in 1992 to include the atmosphere and ocean-atmosphere interactions when the Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres (ITPA) was incorporated into MSRC. The Center’s initial focus on graduate level education has expanded to include an extensive undergraduate program, a process accelerated with our absorption of the marine science programs previously offered by the privately owned Southampton College of Long Island University. In spring 2007, MSRC was renamed The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences in light of the full range of educational programs it offered.

SoMAS has been thriving, owing to the work of our faculty, staff and students, and to the support of our friends. The school’s Ph.D. program was ranked by the National Research Council in 2010 as the 6th top program among all marine and atmospheric sciences programs in the nation. We have added 18 new faculty members in the last four years, including fourteen tenure-track or tenured faculty.  This report provides a brief synopsis of SoMAS over the two-year period, 2014 – 2015. The SoMAS community comprises approximately 100 resident faculty and staff, and about 140 graduate students and 400 undergraduate students. A comprehensive accounting of the School’s varied programs and activities is beyond the scope of this report. Presented here are selected highlights that give the flavor of SoMAS, the nature and diversity of our activities, and the people who undertake them. A more extensive description of who we are and what we do can be found on the School’s web page

Going forward, SoMAS will soon complete a merger with the Sustainability Studies Program (SUS).  SUS is a standalone academic unit within the university that was initially developed at the Southampton campus. Over the years, SUS has evolved to have five undergraduate majors, 14 full-time faculty, and a number of part-time faculty. SUS is also the home of the university’s Geospatial Center that offers courses and services in Geographical Information System (GIS) to the campus community. The SUS faculty and its undergraduate majors complement and greatly expand the current scope of SoMAS. They will bring to the school new dimensions in social sciences, humanities, policy, and management that will help us to better accomplish our missions in research, education and services. The combined unit will retain the SoMAS name.  

We at SoMAS are pleased with our past achievements, but we have higher aspirations. Finding creative ways to meet the challenges and opportunities facing our society in dealing with the natural environment has never been more important. To discuss how you can join with us to surmount the challenges and realize the opportunities, please contact me.

Dr. Minghua Zhang, Dean and Director
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences / Stony Brook University / Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000
Phone: 631-632-8781 / Fax: 631-632-8915 / Email:

This report is divided into several sections, each highlighting a different aspect of the activities at SoMAS for 2014-2015.  A brief description of each section is below:


  • Welcome! – This page: a message from the Dean and the introduction to the report
  • Faculty – A listing of the faculty at SoMAS, including Joint Faculty, and our Endowed Professorships.  This page also includes the membership of the Dean’s Council
  • Research Highlights – Highlights of the research conducted at SoMAS
  • Education Programs – Enrollment numbers and a description for each our Education Programs
  • Alumni – Featured profiles of our alumni
  • Awards – Awards received by SoMAS faculty, staff and students
  • Publications and Grants – The publications and grants of SoMAS faculty
  • Financials – The school’s funding data
  • Social Media – Reporting information for the SoMAS presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter


A PDF version of this report is also available.

This report was compiled by Mark Lang with the assistance of Jake Huff and Jiabao Wang


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