Press

SoMAS News from Stony Brook University and other sources

Substantial Natural History Collection Gifted to SoMAS

Photo above: the Research Vessel Seawolf conducting a cruise on the Hudson River.

From Extraordinary Collection of Marine Specimens and Data Donated to University on SBU News, December 6, 2019

Gift provides a windfall of unpublished biological and water quality data for 43 years of Hudson River sampling, including preserved specimens.

An extraordinary scientific collection of fish specimens, as well archived  fish and water quality data taken from the Hudson River over more than five decades, has been donated to Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS).

What is now known as the Hudson River Collection (the Collection), donated to the university by the integrated energy company, Entergy Corporation (Entergy), began in the 1960’s as “one of the most ambitious environmental research and assessment programs ever performed” on an iconic River that was a focal point for the nascent U.S. environmental movement. As it grew, the Collection became unique, variously referred to as “probably the best dataset on the planet,” “unequalled globally in its duration and its spatiotemporal frequency” and “extraordinarily important, because it provides a retrospective and unbroken view of the ecological health of the estuary over time.”

The Long River Beach Seine survey, begun in 1974, is among many unique scientific samplings represented in the Hudson River Collection.

The Long River Beach Seine survey, begun in 1974, is among many unique scientific samplings represented in the Hudson River Collection.

The Collection includes Indian Point-sponsored, digitized survey data for the full complement of fish species (approximately 170) available to the sampling gear in the approximately 150-mile Hudson River Estuary (from the Battery to the Troy Dam), and the associated water quality and Indian Point-specific biological information. The Collection also includes the associated archived fish specimens, consisting mostly of preserved early life stages of Estuarine fish, numbering approximately 50 million individuals. The database is unequalled, and the specimens from the Collection represent among the largest held by any U.S. museum or university, placing Stony Brook among a handful of renowned institutions, such as the Smithsonian.

Entergy also has made a substantial donation of seed capital to advance Stony Brook’s goal of groundbreaking scientific study related to the Collection – study that dovetails with SoMAS’s expertise on coastal, marine, estuarine ecosystems, including biodiversity, population genetics, climate change and disease.  The Collection’s digitized databases make them readily usable “big data,” susceptible to the cutting-edge statistical methods and advanced computing on which Stony Brook excels.

“This donation positions Stony Brook as a leader in developing innovative forms of multidisciplinary science endeavors,” said Michael A. Bernstein, Interim President of Stony Brook University. “I am confident that our unparalleled access to the Hudson River Collection will result in extraordinary research opportunities.”

Representative species collected and studied.

Representative species collected and studied.

“We want to thank the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and leading scientists for supporting us in our search for the right home for the Collection,” said Mike Twomey, Senior Vice President, Federal Policy, Regulatory and Government Affairs for Entergy.  “SoMAS and Stony Brook are the right home for an unparalleled Collection, one that we could not be more pleased to give.”

Paul Shepson, Dean of SoMAS, echoed those thanks, underscoring that the Collection will not only advance SoMAS’s standing as a leading research and educational institution, but enable scientists and their students to better understand a wide range of subjects, beginning with the environmental drivers within the Hudson River ecosystem and aquatic ecosystems in general.

“The Collection’s data and samples will enable leading scientists to develop collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects, leading to new discoveries that will be instrumental in understanding changes in estuarine and marine environments both locally and worldwide,” said Shepson. “We are both excited and grateful to Entergy for entrusting Stony Brook with such an incredible and unprecedented collection.”

###

About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with over 26,000 students, more than 2,700 faculty members and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University fuels Long island’s economic growth. Its impact on the Long Island economy amounts to $7.38 billion in increased output. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.  

About SoMAS
SoMAS is the State University of New York’s designated center for marine sciences and a leader in marine, atmospheric and sustainability research, education, and public service. Currently, there are more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students and 90 faculty and staff from 16 different nations working together to better understand how our marine, terrestrial, and atmospheric environments function, are related to one another and how they and their associated living resources may be sustained for future generations. Research at SoMAS explores solutions to a variety of issues facing the world today ranging from local problems affecting the area around Long Island to processes that are impacting the entire globe.

About Entergy Corporation
Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $11 billion and approximately 13,500 employees. Additional information is available at entergy.com.

NY Sea Grant Contributes to Marine Aquaculture Research Projects

Photo above: SBU’s Bassem Allam is the lead PI on a study of hard clams (photo by Bassem Allam); Inset photo: A worker at Norm Bloom & Son Oysters offloads shellfish harvested from the company’s beds in Norwalk, CT (photo by Judy Benson, Connecticut Sea Grant).

From NY Sea Grant Contributes to Marine Aquaculture Research Projects on Stony Brook News, November 14, 2019

Two important aquaculture studies on New York’s marine waters will be administered at Stony Brook University through New York Sea Grant (NYSG). These projects are part of a national suite of 42 research projects and collaborative programs supported by $16 million in federal funding by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to advance sustainable aquaculture in the United States.

“Aquaculture as a source of sustainable food, healthy habitat and clean water, and economic opportunity has gained considerable, and growing, national and global attention in the past several years. However, there is still much to learn. New York Sea Grant is pleased to be able to participate with diverse partners on a suite of grants supporting collaborative research aimed at understanding and informing the potential of shellfish, finfish, and seaweed aquaculture across the state,” said NYSG Director Dr. Rebecca Shuford.

NYSG’s contribution to aquaculture research supports three areas of need identified by the National Sea Grant Office federal funding opportunities. These areas include accelerating the development of aquaculture in established topics, exploring new opportunities, as well as addressing gaps in social, behavioral, and economic research relating to US aquaculture.

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

More About the Projects

East Coast Hard Clam Selective Breeding Collaborative Project
This project — a $1.2 million collaborative effort with NYSG and Stony Brook University along with Cornell University, Rutgers University and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences — will apply selective breeding to improve the resilience of hard clam stocks cultured across the Atlantic seaboard. Bassem Allam, Marinetics Endowed Professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University is lead PI on this project, which also includes shellfish biologists and geneticists, Sea Grant and Cornell Cooperative Extension specialists, and industry partners located in five states (Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia) where there is significant hard clam aquaculture.

Nurturing Successful Growth and Maturation of a Domestic Seaweed Aquaculture Industry: Identifying and Removing Barriers and Promoting Opportunities

Connecticut Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist Anoushka Concepcion the PI on a new National Sea Grant Seaweed Hub (photo by Tessa Getchis).

Connecticut Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist Anoushka Concepcion the PI on a new National Sea Grant Seaweed Hub (photo by Tessa Getchis).

The second NYSG project is a nearly $1.1 million collaborative effort led by Connecticut Sea Grant, partnering with the National Sea Grant Law Center and various other Sea Grant programs to establish a National Sea Grant Seaweed Hub that will serve as a central clearinghouse for science-based, non-proprietary resources related to previous and current seaweed aquaculture research and extension efforts.

Other Projects
In addition to federal funding awarded to the East Coast marine research projects, NYSG is also part of a three-year, $1 million multi-state Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative project designed to help Great Lakes States respond to consumer demand for freshwater fish and address the $14 billion national seafood trade deficit identified by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service.

For more information on the 42 research projects and collaborative programs supported, see the National Sea Grant College Program announcement.

Additional Coverage:

Funding helps researchers clam up

Cell Chemistry Illuminated by Laser Light

Image above: Raman microspectroscopy helps researchers observe cell chemistry by focusing a laser beam on a spot within a cell and then capturing light emitted after interactions with cellular molecules, which produces a molecular fingerprint (Raman spectrum).

From “Cell Chemistry Illuminated by Laser Light” on Stony Brook News, November 4, 2019.

Published paper shows tearing down the ‘fluorescent curtain’ opens door to better microspectroscopy

STONY BROOK, NY, November 4, 2019 – Raman microspectroscopy is a laboratory technique to produce molecular fingerprints of materials and biological specimens. However, for many years fluorescence has interfered with effective application of this technique and limited its use. Now Prof. Gordon Taylor of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University, and colleagues in the NAno-RAMAN Molecular Imaging Laboratory (NARMIL) have devised a technique that suppresses fluorescence in sample preparation. This new technique may open the door to more efficient and highly resolved investigations of chemical distributions within individual cells. Their findings are published in Scientific Reports.

Characterizing cell-to-cell and intracellular variations in biochemistry is critical to mechanistic understandings in research that covers a broad area, including cancer, human development, cell biology, antibiotics exploration, and environmental biology. Laser-based Raman microspectroscopy is among only a few tools that scientists can use to effectively observe molecular distributions within intact individual cells.

Taylor and his team demonstrate how this technique overcomes analytical challenges presented by biological samples and figuratively “tears down the fluorescent curtain” in them for laser Raman microspectroscopy interrogation. Through this method they can trace cellular assimilation of isotopic tracers, document intracellular biochemical changes, and analyze diverse environmental samples.

“Previously, the samples we investigated were difficult if not impossible to analyze” says Gordon. “Our new technique could prove to be a game changer for many types of cellular research.”

The investigators so far have used the technique to analyze many cellular conditions, such as examining cell-to-cell variations in growth rates of phytoplankton (microalgae), observing viral infections inside phytoplankton cells, tracing movements of nutrients from marine bacteria into microbial predators, and identifying and quantifying microplastic particles in marine plankton samples.

The research is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (MMI Project #5064) and National Science Foundation grants (OIA-1833053 and OCE 1331336724).

Application of NARMIL’s chemiphotobleaching protocol for Raman microspectroscopic chemical mapping of a formerly highly fluorescent microalgal cells (central image). The map illustrates that starch granules (magenta) surround the cell’s pyrenoid body. The 2-D map is based on spatial distributions and intensities of Raman scattered emissions from starch and cellular protein (blue). Raman spectra from single spots showing diagnostic peaks for starch (478 cm-1) and protein (phenylalanine at 1001 cm-1) used to produce the 2-D map are presented next to map. Maps and spectra are superimposed on a microscopic image of green algal (Tetraselmis levis) cells.

Application of NARMIL’s chemiphotobleaching protocol for Raman microspectroscopic chemical mapping of a formerly highly fluorescent microalgal cell (central image). The map illustrates that starch granules (magenta) surround the cell’s pyrenoid body (blue). The 2-D map is based on spatial distributions and intensities of Raman scattered emissions from starch and protein (blue). Raman spectra from single spots showing diagnostic peaks for starch (478 cm-1) and protein (1001 cm-1) used to produce the 2-D map are presented next to map. Maps and spectra are superimposed on a microscopic image of green algal cells (Tetraselmis levis).

News in Brief

  • Characterizing cell-to-cell and intracellular variations in biochemistry is critical to deeper mechanistic understandings in such diverse research areas as cancer, human development, cell biology, antibiotics exploration, and environmental microbiology.
  • However, most tools available to researchers are blind to small-scale variations, which substantially limits progress in many lines of biological inquiry.
  • Laser-based Raman microspectroscopy is arguably among the few tools that can produce two and three dimensional maps of chemical distributions in cells at sub-micrometer resolution and can fill this information gap.
  • However, laser-induced fluorescence has been a serious impediment to probing many biological samples by Raman microspectroscopy.
  • Prof. Gordon Taylor’s (SoMAS) research group has devised a technique to suppress nuisance fluorescence during sample preparation that will enable broader application of Raman microspectroscopy to biological studies.
  • In this week’s Scientific Reports, Yakubovskaya et al. demonstrate how this technique has overcome analytical challenges presented by an array of fluorescent samples that were previously difficult, if not impossible, to analyze by Raman microspectroscopy.
  • Taylor’s group has already used this technology to:
    1. examine cell-to-cell variations in growth rates of phytoplankton (microalgae)
    2. trace movement of nutrients from marine bacteria into microbial predators
    3. observe viral infections inside intact phytoplankton cells
    4. document production and consumption of energy storage products (fats, starch) in individual phytoplankton cells.
    5. identify metabolically active microorganisms in complex marine plankton samples
    6. examine microbial symbioses
    7. identify and quantify microplastic particles in marine plankton samples

In the future, NARMIL researchers will seek funding to extend these largely lab studies to a variety of marine ecosystems and they anticipate that colleagues will propose many other unexpected applications now that the SoMAS researchers have drawn back the “Fluorescent Curtain”

Yakubovskaya, E., T. Zaliznyak, J. Martínez Martínez & G.T . Taylor (2019). Tear down the fluorescent curtain: A new fluorescence suppression method for Raman microspectroscopic analyses. Scientific Reports, 9, doi:10.1038/s41598-019-52321-3

###

About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become a flagship as one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 26,000 students and 2,600 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 50 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of more than $4.6 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

About the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) is a leader in marine, atmospheric and sustainability research; education; public service; and is SUNY’s designated center for the marine sciences. The School is among the leading oceanography and atmospheric sciences institutions in the world, providing students with access to state-of-the-art research laboratories, shipboard experiences, high-powered radar and computing facilities. SoMAS provides expanded study opportunities in the fields of ocean conservation, climate change and extreme weather, sustainability, waste management, marine fisheries and resources, and many others.

 

Additional Coverage:

Phys.org

New Study Reveals Important yet Unprotected Global Ocean Areas

From New Study Reveals Important yet Unprotected Global Ocean Areas on Stony Brook News, October 25, 2019.

The published findings may guide policymakers to increase MPAs

STONY BROOK, NY, October 25, 2019 — The largest synthesis of important marine areas conducted to date reveals that a large portion of earth’s oceans are considered important and are good candidates for protection. A first of its kind, the study was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers including Ellen Pikitch, PhD, and Christine Santora of Stony Brook University and Dr. Natasha Gownaris, a PhD graduate of Stony Brook University. The team examined 10 diverse and internationally recognized maps depicting global marine priority areas. The findings, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, may serve as a roadmap for the goal set by the United Nations to create 10 percent of the ocean as marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2020.

There are numerous ongoing United Nations and nongovernmental initiatives to map globally important marine areas. Such areas may be identified because of their high biodiversity, threatened or vulnerable species, or relatively natural state. Criteria used for mapping vary by initiative, resulting in differences in areas identified as important. This paper is the first to overlay mapping initiatives, quantify consensus, and conduct gap analyses at the global scale.

The analysis found that 55% of the ocean has been identified as important by at least one of the mapping initiatives (58% of this area is within national jurisdiction and 42% is in the high seas). More than 14% of the ocean was identified as important by between two and four maps, and a gap analysis showed that nearly 90% of this area is currently unprotected. The largest of these important but unprotected areas were located in the Caribbean Sea, Madagascar and the southern tip of Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Coral Triangle region. Nearly all area identified by five or more maps is already protected as reported by the World Database on Protected Areas. Most (three quarters) nations protect less than 10 percent of the identified priority areas within their exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

“An enormous area of the ocean has already been identified as important by scientists and conservationists but remains unprotected,” said Pikitch, Endowed Professor of Ocean Conservation Science in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University. “Opportunities for further ocean conservation are widespread and include areas within the national jurisdictions of most coastal states as well as the high seas.”

This map depicts areas of the ocean globally deemed important by 1 (lightest green) and 7 (darkest green).

This map depicts areas of the ocean globally deemed important by 1 (lightest green) and 7 (darkest green).

Based on the team’s analysis of the 10 maps, Pikitch explained that the goal to protect 10 percent of the oceans by 2020 could be met solely through the actions of coastal states. If all the unprotected ocean area identified as important by two or more initiatives were to be protected by 2020, an additional 9.34 percent of the ocean would be added to the global MPA network.

In addition, more than 76 million km2 of areas beyond national jurisdictions were identified as important and unprotected. This finding, she added, may therefore inform ongoing discussions about protection of the high seas.

The investigators also used biogeographic classification to determine whether current protection of important areas was ecologically representative. They found it was not, as only half of all 99 ocean provinces protect at least 10 percent of their identified area. This, they point out, suggests the need for improvement in creating an ecologically representative global MPA network.

“This study can help guide placement of future MPAs to meet agreed objectives for the quantity, quality and representativeness of the global network of marine protected areas,” Pikitch emphasized. “Local studies and expertise will also be necessary to implement this process.”

View the map online.

###

About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with over 26,000 students, more than 2,700 faculty members and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S.News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University fuels Long island’s economic growth. Its impact on the Long island economy amounts to $7.38 billion in increased output. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

Additional Coverage

Pioneering Study Maps Ocean Areas in Need of Preservation

Times Beacon RecordSBU’s Ellen Pikitch reveals ways countries can meet ocean saving target

Hakai Magazine: Where Should the World Focus Its Ocean Conservation Efforts?

WSHU: By Mapping Oceans, Scientists Identify Areas Most In Need Of Protection

 

Study Finds Ancient Molecules from the Sea Burst Into the Air From Ocean Waves

Photo above: Steven Beaupré at sea with the generator used to study how aerosol production carries ancient organic matter from the ocean to the atmosphere.

From Study: Breaking Waves Propel Ancient Molecules Into the Air on Stony Brook News, October 23, 2019.

STONY BROOK, NY, October 23, 2019 – When waves crash in the ocean, they inject tiny particles into the air (called aerosols) that carry organic molecules more than 5,000 years old. This discovery, published in Science Advances by Steven Beaupré of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) and a national team of scientists, helps to solve a long-standing mystery as to what finally happens to these ancient marine molecules.

Dr. Steve B with graduate student Lucy Lu collecting samples from a CTD

Dr. Steve B with graduate student Lucy Lu collecting samples from a CTD

Decades of measurements have revealed that nearly all of the organic matter dissolved in the oceans is surprisingly old – up to several thousand years. But scientists do not completely understand how this ancient organic matter is eventually destroyed. Beaupré and colleagues performed experiments to show that some of this ancient organic matter can be removed from seawater when wave-generated air bubbles burst on the ocean surface and inject aerosols into the atmosphere. By directly measuring the radiocarbon (14C) ages of the aerosols, they estimate that somewhere between 19 and 40 percent of the aerosol organic matter is at least 5,000 years old.

Prior experiments by Beaupré‘s colleagues David Kieber (SUNY ESF) and Bill Keene (University of Virginia) suggested that old organic molecules might leave the ocean as stowaways aboard these tiny particles.

“Our new study shows that a significant proportion of that organic matter is indeed quite old, and that the formation of aerosols by breaking waves could be a significant removal pathway for the old carbon found in the sea,” says Beaupré, lead author and Assistant Professor.

This pool of ancient organic matter is massive, holding about as many carbon atoms in the ocean as there are in all of the vegetation on land or in all of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. It is primarily created by photosynthesis and therefore represents a long-term storage reservoir for atmospheric CO2, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Therefore, it is important to understand what processes ultimately break down these ancient molecules into something that can be used again by nature.

Once in the atmosphere, these aerosolized molecules are likely to be broken down by sunlight into CO2 and other molecules that are more palatable to marine life. Accordingly, emphasizes Beaupré , this finding has implications for both oceanic and atmospheric biogeochemistry, as well as the global carbon cycle and climate.

Beaupré also says the results were somewhat surprising because it is generally believed that only the youngest organic molecules are likely to be injected into the atmosphere by breaking waves. This is because the ancient molecules should have degraded to less reactive forms during their prolonged exposure to the environment.

“Despite the effects of aging for thousands of years, our results suggest that even some of the oldest molecules in the sea can compete with the youngest to grab hold of rising bubbles and rocket into the sky,” he says.

The research team used a special aerosol generator to study this process during a month-long cruise to the North Atlantic Ocean. The device produced aerosols by closely mimicking the bubbles plumes created by breaking waves, as described in a companion paper also published online and co-authored by Beaupré in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

They measured the chemical composition and radiocarbon ages of seawater flowing through the generator and of the aerosols that it produced. Combined with measurements of the particle sizes, they concluded that the aerosolized organic matter could survive for about a week in the atmosphere, where it could be carried inland by winds, chemically degraded, and/or redeposited in the ocean.

While future research will address the rate at which ancient organic matter is spewed from ocean by breaking waves, the research team will also investigate other ways in which marine organic matter is removed from the sea.

The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation’s Chemical Oceanography program.

The News in Brief:

  • Radiocarbon dating shows that 19 to 40 percent of the organic matter in tiny particles produced by waves breaking at sea is more than 5,000 years old.
  • This discovery helps resolve the mystery of how ancient molecules are eventually removed from the ocean.
  • The finding has implications for ocean and atmospheric science including the global carbon cycle and climate.
Van and CTD

Van and CTD

 

Beaupré, S. R., Kieber, D. J., Keene, W. C., Long, M. S., Maben, J. R., Lu, X., … & Chang, R. Y. W. (2019). Oceanic efflux of ancient marine dissolved organic carbon in primary marine aerosol. Science Advances.

Related News:

Study: Breaking Waves Propel Ancient Molecules Into the Air

SoMAS Researcher Investigates New Modeling Technology to Assess Climate Change Impact on Winter Storms

Photo above: Image of a bomb cyclone that brought heavy snow and strong winds to the U.S. East coast during January 2018. Professor Chang’s research will explore how these cyclones and their impact will change in a warming world. Credit: NOAA

From Researcher Investigates New Modeling Technology to Assess Climate Change Impact on Winter Storms on Stony Brook News, October 3, 2019

STONY BROOK, NY, October 3, 2019 —  Winter storms result in substantial loss of life and property. Scientists are investigating how these extreme winter weather events that cause damage are influenced by climate change.

Edmund KM Chang, PhD, a Professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University, has received a two-year $200,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections program (NOAA/MAPP) to look more closely at the interactions between diabatic heating and storm dynamics to assess how warming temperatures will impact major snowstorms and winter floods.

Recent studies have suggested that previous versions of Global Climate Models (GCMs) may not have sufficient resolution to correctly simulate the interactions between diabatic heating and storm dynamics, potentially under-estimating the intensity of these storms in future projections.

Professor Chang says his project will study these storms using, for the first time, multi-model ensemble projections that have resolution high enough to define and better simulate these interactions. He contends the results of the research will provide better understanding on how these hazards will change in the future.

###

About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become a flagship as one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 26,000 students and 2,600 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 50 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of more than $4.6 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

About the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) is a leader in marine, atmospheric and sustainability research; education; public service; and is SUNY’s designated center for the marine sciences. The School is among the leading oceanography and atmospheric sciences institutions in the world, providing students with access to state-of-the-art research laboratories, shipboard experiences, high-powered radar and computing facilities. SoMAS provides expanded study opportunities in the fields of ocean conservation, climate change and extreme weather, sustainability, waste management, marine fisheries and resources, and many others.

Ashley Schiff Nature Preserve Art Procession at Stony Brook University

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

ART PROCESSION BY STONY BROOK UNIV. STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF WEDNESDAY, OCT. 2nd, 2019 

On October 2nd, Stony Brook University students will be celebrating the 50th ANNIVERSARY of the ASHLEY SCHIFF NATURE PRESERVE by gathering together to appreciate the nature preserve on campus and to honor the memory of Prof. Ashley Schiff (1932–69), who’s sudden death on Oct. 1, 1969 inspired the campus to establish the Nature Preserve. 

This student-centered arts procession will take shape at 12:45PM at Staller Center for the Arts (in the lobby and, as more students arrive outside near the Staller steps), and we will begin the walk across campus at 1:15PM. Regarding the expected route, we anticipate walking (and, in some cases, wheeling) up the ramp between Staller and the Administration building, and proceeding down the Academic Mall to the SAC, then walking due South through the Engineering Buildings to the bike path running along Circle Drive. We expect to arrive at the Schiff Park Preserve by 1:45PM, where we will discuss the woods, the future path to gaining a more protected status, and a tree-planting ceremony will likely conclude the procession at 2:15PM

Undergraduate students from various academic departments have been making artworks (with many being wearable works), which have been conceptualized and designed by each student to address a specific environmental concern. Some students will be using natural materials gathered at the preserve itself. The main themes forming range between their optimism about acknowledging Nature’s vital role to human and other species and their pessimism about our collective role in polluting and endangering shared ecosystems. Many of the material to be used in the projects are recycled, found, or recovered materials

Once at the Schiff Park Preserve, participants may wish to identify the wide-range of native species, some of which have been largely destroyed elsewhere on Long Island, through the use of the free mobile app iNaturalist

SBU campus contacts for more data about the event: David Mather, Assistant Professor, Art Dept.; Nobi Nagasawa, Prof., Art Dept.; Sharon Pochron, Lecturer, SoMAS.

Eve Metzger, Undergraduate Student organizer. 

For more information on Dr. Schiff and his legacy, please visit www.ashleyschiff.org .

Suffolk County Council on Environment Quality Accepting Feedback on Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement

The Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will be holding public hearings on the Draft Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan Generic Environmental Impact Statement on September 5 and 6 in Riverhead and Brentwood respectively.

The Sept 5 meeting is at 6:00PM at the Suffolk County Riverhead Legislative Auditorium, 300 Center drive, Riverhead

The Sept 6 meeting is at 3:00PM at Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood Campus, in the Health, Sports & Education Center Lecture Hall, Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood

All are encouraged to provide verbal or written comments on this important document, which is anticipated to have a profound impact on the future of the quality of Suffolk County’s groundwaters, surface waters, and coastal waters for the next fifty years. The DGEIS can be viewed on the CEQ’s website. More information about the authorship is available on the CEQ’s website. The same document and supporting studies are on reserve in hard copy in the MASIC library in Challenger Hall Room 165. The volumes on reserve are complete except that they don’t contain the SCCEQ edits.

Larry Swanson will be chairing the hearings.

SoMAS Support for Long Beach Water Pollution Control Plant Consolidation Project

Photo Above: A diver prepares to explore the western bays for a study conducted by SoMAS in 2010

The Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) supports Nassau County and the City of Long Beach’s funding proposals for the implementation of the Long Beach Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) Consolidation Project.

The shoreline of the Western Bays region of the South Shore Estuary Reserve is highly developed and modified.

The shoreline of the Western Bays region of the South Shore Estuary Reserve is highly developed and modified.

The Western Bays salt marsh ecosystem is an important wildlife habitat, recreational center, and aesthetic asset to Nassau County, but it has a number of significant environmental challenges. Among them are many water quality impacts that threaten public health as well as marine plants and animals. These impacts have been linked primarily to sewage treatment plant (STP) effluent. In fact, the NYS DEC and U.S. EPA considered the Western Bays impaired.

This project will convert the storm-vulnerable Long Beach WPCP into a pumping station with connection to the newly upgraded South Shore Water Reclamation Facility (Bay Park STP). When combined with the Bay Park Conveyance Project, the pump station will transport the treated water from the Bay Park STP to the Cedar Creek WPCP for discharge through an existing pipeline about three miles out in the ocean. This will result in a truly comprehensive and innovative regional wastewater management approach that will service close to one million residents. The outcome will contribute to the overall reduction in treated sewage and thus nitrogen loading into the Western Bays. The project will also create numerous economic opportunities by strengthening tourism and recreation in the region. When completed, these projects will represent a truly significant and lasting investment in bringing the water infrastructure in New York State into the 21st century.

SoMAS graduate student Ryan Wallace
collecting water samples in Hempstead Bay

It is largely because of the research undertaken and recommendations made by SoMAS investigators over the last decade that the Consolidation and Bay Park Conveyance Project were developed. Thus, we strongly support this grant application and its focus on improving the health of the estuary and nearshore waters as well as reducing the risk to public health. Further, it will assist in reducing acidification in our estuarine waters, a New York State goal. This coordinated effort between the City and the County will benefit Long Island and the region as a whole.

Thank you for your consideration to grant the necessary funding to implement this project to fruition.

 

Additional news coverage:

Newsday
News 12 Long Island

SoMAS Professor Named Interim Provost

Press

From Minghua Zhang Named Interim Provost on Stony Brook News, July 31, 2019

Interim Provost Minghua Zhang

Interim Provost Minghua Zhang

Dr. Minghua Zhang has been appointed Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective 1 August 2019, Interim President Designate Michael A. Bernstein has announced.

Dr. Zhang has been a member of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) faculty since 1990 and currently holds the title of SUNY Distinguished Professor. He brings a wealth of administrative experience to this role, having served as Dean of SoMAS from 2010-2016, Associate Dean from 2003-2010, and Director of the Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheric Sciences.

“Dr. Zhang is one of our University’s eminent scholars in climate science,” Bernstein said. “He has published in over 140 peer-reviewed articles in top scientific journals, includingScience. Minghua’s research has been supported by over $20 million of cumulative funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Administration for Space and Aeronautics, and the U.S. Department of Energy. His accomplishments are some of the most illustrious within the SUNY system.”

Zhang is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, an honor bestowed to only the top 1% of its members. He was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

His research focus is in numerical modeling of climate and global climate change. The scope of his work includes the development and analysis of parameterization components in general circulation models, the diagnostic study of physical processes and feedback processes in the climate system, and the modeling and analysis of past and future climate changes. His innovations in climate modeling are considered highly influential in the field.

Center for Clean Water Technology hosts ribbon cutting ceremony for Wastewater Research & Innovation Facility

The New York State Center for Clean Water Technology (CCWT) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for its newly constructed and operational Wastewater Research & Innovation Facility (WRIF) on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 2 Parson Drive, Stony Brook, NY. State Legislators, including Assemblyman Steve Englebright and Senator Todd Kaminsky, both Chairs of their respective chamber’s Environmental Conservation Committees as well as Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele attended.

The WRIF serves as a state-of-the art facility that tests CCWT design innovations to achieve advanced nitrogen removal for on-site wastewater treatment systems prior to full-scale experimental installations. In order to conduct such research, a constant supply of domestic wastewater is required. With support from the Suffolk County Department of Public Works (SCDPW), their Parson Drive wastewater pumping station diverts domestic wastewater to the WRIF where experimental columns and systems will be designed and installed to assess nitrogen removal effectiveness, proof of design concept, and development of empirical relationships used for experimental designs and research.

The site is located approximately two miles from the main campus and just off of Stony Brook Road.

Additional coverage of the ribbon cutting ceremony provided by Newsday, News12, Fios 1 News and WSHU.

 

SoMAS Alum Returns for Honorary Degree

Photo above:  Greg Marshall with his son and SoMAS Faculty and Staff in 2017.

From “Stony Brook to Award Honorary Degrees to Diverse Trio of Trailblazers” on Stony Brook News, April 29, 2019.

STONY BROOK, New York–April 29, 2019–-Stony Brook University will award an honorary degree to three trailblazers at its 2019 commencement ceremony: actor and polymath, Alan AldaMe Too Movement founder Tarana Burke, and Crittercam inventor Greg Marshall (SBU ‘88 MS Marine Science), announced President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. The degrees will be conferred on Friday, May 24 at 11am at Stony Brook University’s 59th commencement ceremony at the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

Greg Marshall is known all over the world as a leading animal conservationist, serving as a National Geographic Research Associate. Marshall earned his master’s degree in Marine Science from Stony Brook University in 1988. During the course of his career, Marshall inspired millions of people worldwide through his 1986 invention of the Crittercam. The Crittercam is a small, lightweight camera that is mounted directly on an animal in the wild. This non-invasive camera allows for humans to experience the world through the animal’s’ perspective. It provides access to the animal’s surrounding environment, such as temperature, light level, depth of the ocean, and direction in which the animal is heading. The Crittercam offers an exhilarating method of presenting nature, especially because it allows the viewers to walk alongside the animals. Most National Geographic television specials that feature a look through the inhabitants eyes use Marshall’s Crittercam invention. Marshall is a two time Emmy Award winner. He has developed, produced, or otherwise been closely involved in more than 70 National Geographic documentaries that include the observation of sea lions, sharks, bears, penguins, turtles, lions, monkeys, and more. Additional contributions include more than 60 short films airing on PBS. Marshall’s films are known to be visually engaging while communicating fundamental principles of biology and a strong conservation message.

“Greg Marshall literally changed the world with his Crittercam invention,” said President Stanley. “As a result, we have a much clearer understanding of our planet and the species we share it with, so we are incredibly proud to confer upon him a Doctor of Science. Greg is living proof of how a Stony Brook experience makes a real difference and that we should follow our dreams because no idea is too big or too small when it comes to entrepreneurial spirit.”

About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with over 26,000 students, more than 2,700 faculty members and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S.News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University fuels Long island’s economic growth. Its impact on the Long island economy amounts to $7.38 billion in increased output. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

###

 

Low Oxygen and pH Levels in Estuaries Causing More Death to Larval Blue Crabs

Photo above: Zoea, or larvae, of the Atlantic blue crab have a distinctly different morphology than adults. They are often spawned in estuaries, where they can be exposed to low dissolved oxygen and acidified conditions. Photo credit: Stephen Tomasetti

STONY BROOK, NY—Inhabiting a vast network of estuaries along the Atlantic coast, blue crabs are ecologically important and represent one of the valuable and prized fisheries in the United States. Blue crabs spawn in estuaries at a time of year when water-quality issues such as low dissolved oxygen (hypoxia) and low pH (acidification) can be the most persistent and severe. A group from the lab of Christopher Gobler, a Professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University, investigated the effects of these individual and combined stressors on early life stages of the blue crab. Their study, recently published in PLOS One, provides evidence that larval blue crabs experience increased mortality when exposed to low oxygen and/or low pH conditions at levels routinely found in degraded estuaries.

While hypoxia is known to be a common condition within coastal zones, recent studies from across the globe have emphasized that many estuaries that are over-enriched with nitrogen and experience low oxygen simultaneously experience low pH and acidification.  While the effects of hypoxia on marine life have been well-studied, this is the first study to assess the effects of these two stressors on larval crabs.  And, the research is timely as climate change has also been decreasing oxygen and pH levels in the oceans.

Co-author Stephen Tomasetti, a doctoral student in the Marine Science program of Stony Brook University’s SoMAS explained that even at moderate levels of dissolved oxygen exceeding common regulatory targets, larval survival declined. “It’s concerning, given that climate change is generally expected to continue to worsen conditions. However, with an emphasis on restoration, and sound management, coastal environments can see improvements in water quality,” he said.

“Global climate change is acidifying and deoxygenating our oceans and those processes are, by and large, running out of control,” said Gobler. “The findings of this and similar studies demonstrate that serious efforts need to be made at the watershed level to mitigate the factors that regionally contribute to acidification and low oxygen of our waters, namely nutrient overloading. This is likely our best chances to preserve fisheries that rely on estuaries as their primary habitat.”

Their findings suggest that the dissolved oxygen and pH levels of known spawning locales are important considerations for the management and conservation of blue crab populations.

Link to article in PLOS ONE:

Individual and combined effects of low dissolved oxygen and low pH on survival of early stage larval blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus.

About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 25,700 students, 2,500 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) is SUNY’s designated school for marine and atmospheric research, education and public service. SoMAS is among the leading oceanography and atmospheric sciences institutions in the world, providing students with access to wet laboratories, shipboard experiences, and interactive and high-powered radar and computing facilities. The School provides leadership to understand climate change and other environmental impacts at regional and global scales and provide mitigation and adaptation strategies at state, national and international levels. SoMAS provides expanded study opportunities in the fields of ocean conservation, climate change and extreme weather, sustainability, waste management, marine fisheries and resources, and many others.  Students have many options for participating in study abroad programs including, Jamaica, Cuba, Tanzania, Kenya and Ireland.

Contact:

Christopher Gobler, Christopher.gobler@stonybrook.edu, 631-871-2109

Stephen Tomasetti, Stephen.Tomasetti@stonybrook.edu, 407-221-7543

To Mark Sandy Anniversary, B.P. Brewer, Advocates, and Downtown Leaders Highlight Need for Better Storm Prep and Resiliency Investments

Picture above: LiDAR image showing flooding of New York City at 4 foot water heights over the area.

NEW YORK – Thursday afternoon, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer was joined by advocates, leaders, and residents from lower Manhattan for a press conference marking the sixth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which on flooded lower Manhattan and much of the region on October 29, 2012 with 9- to 12-foot storm surges, claiming 43 lives in New York City alone.

Sandy caused an estimated $71 billion in economic damage to the New York-New Jersey region, with $19 billion in losses accruing just within New York City. While the storm’s immediate impact lasted only weeks, major infrastructure systems, including mass transit, its tunnels and electrical and telecommunications systems, sustained lasting damage, some of which are still not repaired.

At the press conference, the leaders discussed the status of planned resiliency projects and investments in lower Manhattan, government’s failure to move forward quickly on certain critical projects, and the need for a coordinated, layered, regional approach to protect against future storms and sea-level rise.

The leaders called on the mayor and city government leaders to support a regional storm surge barrier and to devote significant capital funding to the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project. Significant investments are underway or planned for Manhattan’s Lower East Side, with federal commitments of $338 million, city commitments of $422 million, and planning underway, but the Financial District and neighboring Lower Manhattan neighborhoods remain unprotected and extremely vulnerable both to storm surges and rising sea levels.

“Storm surges and sea-level rise are clear and present dangers to the safety, security, and economic future of this city,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The task is enormous, but we can’t turn away from it – we need to be working toward a regional storm surge barrier that can prevent the next Sandy, and perimeter walls, marshes, berms, and other features that can protect and preserve all our at-risk neighborhoods – especially lower Manhattan.”

“Six years after Superstorm Sandy, we continue to witness the negative impacts of climate change with the understanding that another storm of this magnitude could occur again,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “It is imperative that that we support, fully fund and implement resiliency measures across New York City to ensure that our city and all its residents are protected from future natural disasters. I am committed to continuing to fight alongside my fellow elected officials, the community and all stakeholders to make sure that a comprehensive plan is developed and put in place to protect our coastline.”

“This somber anniversary is a time for us to reflect on the damage that Sandy wrought on our neighborhoods, and the long recovery that is still taking place. However, this day should also be a wake-up call about how far we have yet to go in terms of protecting our homes, small businesses, and infrastructure from the next big storm that we know will come,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “I am proud to join so many people involved in the effort to create a more resilient city, which must begin where New York began – right here at the Seaport. Thanks to Borough President Brewer, Captain Boulware, Catherine McVay Hughes, and others who have never forgotten the lessons of Sandy and how we need to continue to work together.”

“Events like Sandy will happen again and with greater frequency. Rising sea levels will incrementally increase these flooding events. Normal tidal cycles will come with greater risk of inundation, and the Seaport remains incredibly vulnerable to events like this,” said Captain Jonathan Boulware, President of the South Street Seaport Museum. “The Seaport Museum is actively at work on resilience for its own physical plant, and actively engaged in efforts related to city-wide resilience. This is the future of New York City. How will we adapt to this new challenge? How will 22nd century New York be thriving precisely because of the work and planning we’re doing today?”

“Six years later, the City, northern New Jersey, the Hudson River Valley, and the south shore of Long Island are just as vulnerable as they were the night before the storm hit. Conflicting statements and positions by special interest groups abound,” said Malcolm Bowman, Distinguished Professor of Coastal Ocean and Estuarine Dynamics at Stony Brook University and Chair of the NY-NJ Storm Surge Working Group. “The NY-NJ Storm Surge Working Group is a visionary and representative professional group which sees more clearly than most that the only way to save the region for the next 100 years is a regional solution that transcends political and geographic boundaries. We call for a hybrid regional approach to protect against the separate threats of storm surge and sea-level rise. One-size-fits-all impossibly high seawalls cannot realistically hope to defend the 1,000-mile shoreline against the combined threats of storm surges and future sea level rise.”

The hybrid system proposed by the Storm Surge Working Group consists of:

1. A regional outer NY Harbor Sea Gate system to address threats to life and property from future storms (but not gradual sea level rise). Built as far away from densely developed areas as possible, and normally open 99.99% of the time during settled weather, sea gates will not interfere with the normal tidal circulation and river discharge, necessary to maintain the ecological health and water quality of the Harbor and the Hudson River.

The gates would be closed for only a few hours during extreme high tides and storms to block the ocean surges without causing backups inside the barrier and damage elsewhere, especially to neighboring communities.

Without the regional barrier, many communities could be left out of a comprehensive solution. These include communities around all sides of New York Harbor, the outer Boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, Jersey City, Port Elizabeth, Hoboken, the Two Rivers, up and down the Hudson River Valley, the three major airports, and along the south shore of western Long Island, including Jamaica Bay.

2. Local perimeter, land-based, low-profile seawalls, which, while they cannot protect against storm surges, will provide critical protection from gradually rising sea levels over the decades and centuries ahead. Investment to erect seawalls and other barriers are on track in some, but not all of the areas that need them. Some plans currently under consideration call for higher walls intended to provide protection against storm surges as well, but these are ineffective when compared to a regional surge barrier, and would also interfere with waterfront access.

“The Financial District is the fourth largest business district in the country,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, who served as chair of Manhattan Community Board 1 during Sandy and the recovery period. “One out of every 18 jobs citywide is here, and 50,000 people call FiDi home – yet there is no coastal defense at our shoreline or anywhere else in our neighborhood!”

“Six years after the shock of Superstorm Sandy, too many of our neighborhoods are just as vulnerable now as they were October 29th, 2012,” said Roland Lewis, President of the Waterfront Alliance. “We must recognize that there is no silver bullet – all adaptation options for our coastal city must be considered and implemented. More important, there is no silver – local, state and federal government must find the resources to invest in protection. Last and most important there is no time – downtown Manhattan and the entire city of New York must recognize the urgency of now to protect our city in the face climate change.”

The New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study includes Natural and Nature-Based Feature Examples such as Tidal Marsh, Vegetated Dune, Oyster Reef, and Freshwater Wetland. It is imperative to save the Metropolitan Region while maintaining healthy Hudson and East Rivers.

For more information is available on the US Army Corps of Engineers New York/New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Focus Area Feasibility Study website.

Please Contact:
Andrew Goldston  Tel: 917-960-1187
Malcolm Bowman Tel: 631.632-8669

Press conference of Storm Surge Working Group at South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan, where 6 feet of water from Superstorm Sandy covered the area back in 2012.

Press conference of Storm Surge Working Group at South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan, where 6 feet of water from Superstorm Sandy covered the area back in 2012.

Sea Gates Save Lives And Protect Property From Devastation

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

STATEMENT BY THE NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY STORM SURGE WORKING GROUP

School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University

Hurricane Florence is another wake up call for the New York-New Jersey-Long Island region. Six years ago Sandy devastated the New York-New Jersey-Long Island Metropolitan region. Unfortunately, virtually nothing has been built to prevent a recurrence of its damage. We should not have to wait for a second superstorm before we act to protect the nation’s most densely populated and economically important region.

While some environmental advocates and New York City officials have called for caution and construction of half-measures to protect portions of the region piecemeal, these will leave a million and more residents unprotected, many of them living in low-income communities. This local approach will also not protect our most valuable infrastructure systems and economic assets.

Although Hurricane Florence now threatens the Carolinas, residents of the New York-New Jersey-Long Island Metropolitan region should be very alarmed by two characteristics of this storm and other recent hurricanes that will make future storms an even greater threat to our Metro region than Sandy was six years ago.

WAKE UP CALL FOR THE NEW YORK NEW JERSEY AND LONG ISLAND REGION

We did not heed the first wake up call from Superstorm Sandy. Our Metro region is just as unprotected and vulnerable as before Sandy. Millions of residents still live at risk.

New York City has ignored the imperative for a regional solution that transcends geographic and political boundaries and is pursuing a local solution which is likely to lead to failure in the decades ahead.

Florence’s rapid development from a tropical depression into a catastrophic category 4 hurricane in less than 48 hours is most alarming. The prediction is that the storm will stall for days near the coastline, creating even higher storm surges of longer duration and the potential for severe riverine and urban flooding due to predictions of 20+ inches of rainfall.

Meteorologists believe that both of these characteristics appear to be the result of climate change and are likely to shape development of future hurricanes that could threaten our region.

Here in the NY-NJ Metro region we dodged the bullet this time because a high pressure system over the North Atlantic forced Florence into a track that now threatens the Southeast Coast.

But we can be sure that future extreme storm events will again cause devastating storm surges across the metropolitan region.

And while it would be impossible to build hundreds of miles of seawalls to protect the vast low-lying coastline of the Carolinas and its low-density ribbon development from storm surges, we can protect our densely-developed region from similar devastation by building a system of offshore storm surge sea gates, as more than a dozen other global cities have already done.

WHERE WOULD THE SEA GATES BE LOCATED AND HOW MUCH WOULD THEY COST?

The first of these sea gates would be a five-mile long string of opening gates stretching from Breezy Point in the Rockaways, Long Island to Sandy Hook, NJ. A system of enhanced sand berms would stretch from the on-shore ends of each barrier along both peninsulas to prevent flood waters from breaching these low-lying barrier beaches. A second sea gate would be built across the northern end of the East River near the Throgs Neck Bridge to prevent Long Island Sound storm surges from inundating the city from the east.

This system would protect many hundreds of miles of low-lying floodable shoreline in both states, as well as all three major airports, rail and roadway tunnels, seaports, iconic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, hospitals and all of the region’s major business and population centers. Both gates would consist of movable sections that would remain open except during threatened storm surges, to permit unrestricted movement of tides, fish, marine mammals and sediments in settled weather, yet leave intact all of the natural features of the Hudson River and New York Harbor estuaries. This system would utilize established technology that has protected London and the Netherlands from storm surges for decades.

This system would cost an estimated $10-20 billion. While this seems like a very high cost, it is far less than the losses from Superstorm Sandy of more than $75 billion value of the region at risk with its $1.5 trillion economy. Further, it would protect the region for a century or more from threatened storm surges and prevent hundreds of billions in economic losses and loss of life.

NEW ORLEANS IS NOW PROTECTED FOLLOWING HURRICANE KATRINA

Following Katrina, the US Army Corps of Engineers built a similar $14.5 billion regional system to protect New Orleans from future hurricanes, and completed the project on-time and on-budget in less than five years. The Army Corps is now conducting a feasibility study of alternative measures to protect our region from storm surges, and we are pleased that one of the alternatives being considered is the Stony Brook Storm Surge Working Group’s proposed off-shore sea gate system.

The Storm Surge Working Group is strongly urging the Army Corps to proceed with a thorough examination of this alternative, and that if chosen, it be built on a similar accelerated construction schedule.

We must demand construction of a regional protection system that will protect the entire region from future devastation caused by future hurricanes like and worse than Florence.

For further information contact:

Malcolm Bowman, Distinguished Service Professor, School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences malcolm.bowman@stonybrook.edu |631-632-8669/cell 631-355-3120

Robert Yaro, Adjunct Professor, SoMAS

William Golden, Adjunct Professor, SoMAS

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe By Email

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Skip to toolbar