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SoMAS Study Projects More Intense Rain During Future Hurricanes

Photo Above: A visible image of Tropical Storm Cristobal on June 5 over the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding areas. New research suggests future storms that make landfall over eastern U.S. coasts may carry more intense rain totals per hour (credit: NASA Worldview)

From Study Projects More Intense Rain During Future Hurricanes at the Stony Brook University News, June 15, 2020.

The News in Brief:

  • Using climate change projection simulations, researchers predict that North Atlantic hurricane frequency decreases but median intensity increases in the future.
  • Simulations show higher precipitation rates per storm and increased amounts of precipitation per hour, potentially causing dangerous impact.
  • Due to fewer hurricanes hitting land in the U.S., overall rainfall amounts from tropical storms will decrease.

STONY BROOK, NY, June 15, 2020 – By using global climate modeling, a team of researchers at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University project that future tropical cyclones, or hurricanes, will feature more intense rain with more rain produced per hour than previous storms. To be published in Geophysical Research Letters, the study suggests that while rain intensity is likely to increase the number of storms that make landfall in the United States will decrease.

Landfalling hurricanes create dangerous conditions for U.S. residents in eastern coastal states through heavy rainfall, strong winds, and storm surge. The prospects of storms that carry intense rain patterns over short periods of time would increase levels of danger for the entire region because of flooding and storm surge.

“Essentially our work with climate and storm modeling provides evidence that hurricanes will produce more precipitation per hour of impact in the future,” said Kevin Reed, Ph.D., Associate Professor in SoMAS. “This finding is consistent and adds to our work using models of Hurricane Florence and tracking extreme amounts of rainfall,” he added, referring to a study published earlier this year in Science Advances and explained in this news release.

The researchers used a global climate model that is called a variable-resolution version of the Community Atmospheric Model 5 (CAM5), a model utilized to study North Atlantic tropical cyclone climatology in the context of climate change. They ran CAM5 simulations to study changes in storms’ intensities, sizes, and rainfall accumulations.

Overall they discovered from the simulations of future storms that the number of hurricanes in the North Atlantic decreases and so does the number of hurricanes that would make landfall on the U.S. However, the simulations indicated that the average intensities of these storm increase and the amount of total rainfall per storm also increases. Yet total rainfall from fewer storms may decrease in the future.

This visual shows the annual average storm-related extreme rainfall per hour over eastern U.S. coastal areas. Red is indicative of the most extreme rain fall per hour. At left is the historical record of storms. Projected scenarios using climate change storm modeling are intermediate (center) and worst-case predictions (right).

This visual shows the annual average storm-related extreme rainfall per hour over eastern U.S. coastal areas. Red is indicative of the most extreme rain fall per hour. At left is the historical record of storms. Projected scenarios using climate change storm modeling are intermediate (center) and worst-case predictions (right).

Reed explains that climate change will likely play a role in future storms and could certainly cause changes in rain intensity and totals based on modeling.

Alyssa Stansfield, a SoMAS student, PhD candidate, and lead author of the paper, whose graduate work centers on understanding how hurricanes will be different in the future because of climate change, adds that “predicting how rainfall from hurricanes will be impacted is especially important because flooding is a very dangerous hazard associated with hurricane landfalls.”

The storm modeling work is a part of continuing research to quantify how tropical cyclone-induced hazards may change in future climates. The research is supported in part by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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Stansfield, A. M., Reed, K. A., & Zarzycki, C. M. (2020). Changes in Precipitation from North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones under RCP Scenarios in the Variable‐Resolution Community Atmosphere ModelGeophysical Research Letters, e2019GL086930.

 

Additional Media

From the SoMAS weather desk: Bad storms coming

SoMAS Research part of 180 Covid-19 Studies Launched at SBU Since Start of Pandemic

From More than 180 Covid-19 Studies Launched at Stony Brook Since Start of Pandemic on Stony Brook University News, May 28, 2020

Investigations involve faculty from 45 academic departments and eight schools

STONY BROOK, NY, May 28, 2020 – In just the two plus months since Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Stony Brook University researchers have launched more than 180 Covid-19 related studies in order to battle the virus and examine circumstances where it has or will change our societal landscape. The body of work spans 45 academic departments from eight different colleges and schools within the University. The research not only includes investigating prevention and treatment of the virus but also focuses on topics such as the psychological impacts of social distancing measures, tracking levels of community distress, and examining the impact of the pandemic on students.

“It is the responsibility of a research-intense academic medical center, such as Stony Brook Medicine, to not only provide outstanding care for patients afflicted with Covid-19, but also to mine all the clinical data, generate hypotheses helping to explain the interaction of virus and host, understand the pathophysiology of the various manifestations of the disease, and explore novel approaches to the best possible treatment for the disease,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences.

“The overwhelming response from our researchers in this time of need shows the breadth of Stony Brook’s expertise, which spans healthcare, physical and social sciences and many other academic disciplines,” said Richard J. Reeder, Vice President of Research at Stony Brook University. “Their innovative work during this crisis will help to solve many of the challenges we face now and in the future because of Covid-19.”

Researchers have started 52 clinical trials centered on prevention, treatment and care of patients with Covid-19, all in the effort to fight the disease now. Other research involves the collaborative work of scientists and faculty looking toward the near future and long-term on the effects of the pandemic.

The following are summaries and examples of some of research taking place within each school and collaboratively:

School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

The New York State Center for Clean Water Technology has begun monitoring of nCoV in sewage to provide data to assess temporal dynamics in outbreaks of COVID-19 in communities. Because viral load in sewage can pre-date symptoms, it is a potential leading indicator of infection which communities could be targeted for heightened intervention. The Center is collecting samples of sewage from multiple Long Island communities to track densities of the nCOV. According to Dr. Chris Gobler, “this approach has the potential to identify second waves of infections emerging in communities before patients begin to show up and overwhelm hospitals.” The goal is to develop a system for pathogen detection that can serve as an early warning system for any “Second Wave” of nCoV before people are getting sick.

Dr. Daniel Knopf is using instrumentation at the SoMAS’ Aerosol Research Laboratory to assist medical colleagues in the Renaissance School of Medicine in the performance evaluation of N95 masks that have been heat treated for sterilization purposes.

Renaissance School of Medicine

Seventy-five studies have been launched by researchers across 20 different departments. These topics range from examining the impact of convalescent plasma on COVID-19 complications, whether dry heat can disinfect N95 masks, using Artificial Intelligence to detect COVID-19 and predict outcomes, assessing physician mental health during the pandemic, use of estrogen as a treatment for COVID-19, assessing the effectiveness of telemedicine, establishment of a biobank for COVID-19 patient samples, and the development of antibody tests.

College of Arts and Sciences / School of Medicine

Researchers have formed collaborations on two different Covid-19 related research studies. One study focuses on exchanging lipids in the viral coat, and another study is examining SARS-CoV2 proteins in plants for scaled-up production of antigens.

College of Arts and Sciences

More than 40 studies are underway by researchers across 10 disciplines, and over half of these are in the Department of Psychology. Topics include the impact of social isolation on well-being; keeping the economy afloat while waiting for a vaccine; and a study that expands on a currently funded National Science Foundation Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program to examine trainee experiences with online teaching and learning.

College of Engineering and Applied Sciences / School of Medicine

Leveraging the strong research relationship between the College and School of Medicine, researchers are currently conducting 10 Covid-19 related studies. Studies include investigating Artificial Intelligence to aid in the drug discovery of antiviral candidates against Covid-19, the effects of the virus on coagulation, developing informatics solutions for high throughput analysis of Covid-19 imaging, and longitudinal biomonitoring for frontline healthcare providers.

College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Researchers from four different departments have launched six studies. These studies focus on topics including decision support for cancer treatment during the COVID pandemic, tracking levels of community distress, vaccine design for unknown targets, and creating a diagnostic tool for rapid Covid-19 infection detection.

School of Social Welfare

More than 20 studies have been launched by researchers in the School of Social Welfare. The studies focus on several different topics including, the impact of social distancing on mental health and substance abuse, the impact of isolation on older adults during the Covid-19 crisis, the impact of the crisis on first-generation college students, and an examination of family violence during it.

School of Health Technology and Management

Research includes a study examining the impact of COVID-19 on occupational participation and satisfaction with life.

School of Nursing

A team of researchers is examining the effect of the pandemic on student nurses involved in the response of the Covid-19 crisis.

College of Business

A research study examining the impact of the socioeconomic status in the context of Covid-19 related decisions is one study underway in the College.

Additional information on specific research taking place in any of the schools can be provided, and faculty are available to discuss their research projects and why they are relevant to the Covid-19 crisis and the pending aftermath.

 

SoMAS Researchers: Dissolved Oxygen and pH Policy Leave Fisheries at Risk

Photo above: Stony Brook’s Christopher Gobler is one of Long Island’s leading experts on water conservation.

From Researchers: Dissolved Oxygen and pH Policy Leave Fisheries at Risk on Stony Brook University News, April 23, 2020

Stony Brook University’s Christopher J. Gobler, Endowed Chair of Coastal Ecology and Conservation, and Stephen J. Tomasetti, Science Teaching and Research to Inform Decisions (STRIDE) fellow, consider accumulating scientific evidence on the harmful effects of coastal hypoxia (low oxygen) and acidification (decreasing pH, increasing acidity) in coastal ecosystems in the April 24 issue of the journal Science.

In a Policy Forum, “Dissolved oxygen and pH criteria leave fisheries at risk” the scientists suggest approaches that would address current policy shortfalls and facilitate improved protection of aquatic life.

During the past two decades, scientists have learned how hypoxia and acidification can act and interact to harm marine organisms.  Hundreds of low oxygen or dead zones have been identified across the globe.  Ocean acidification, a process resulting from the continued buildup of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide in the oceans, has been discovered.  And yet, regulation of dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH in coastal waters have remained unchanged.

The Clean Water Act aims to restore and protect the waters of the United States from impairment; waters that do not meet state standards are listed as impaired, a designation that can initiate critical remediation actions. According to Dr. Gobler, the current saltwater DO and pH criteria of many states allow for harmful conditions to persist without amelioration. “Our understanding of the dynamics of DO and pH and the effects on marine life have advanced dramatically this century to the point that it is now clear that criteria for pH and DO are likely to leave important marine species vulnerable to harm”, he said.

The reduction of DO and pH in coastal waters can individually have adverse effects on aquatic life, however, current regulations do not consider the combined effects of these stressors which are often experienced in combination and can be more severe than each stressor individually. Not until the scientific field of Ocean Acidification had been established, had their combined effects been broadly considered.

SBU Researchers Collaborate on Genetic Tool Development in Marine Protists

Photo above: A set of Microscopic images of Aurantiochytrium cells. The top images show a wild-type Aurantiochytrium cell and the bottom images show a genetically engineered Aurantiochytrium cell that now expresses green fluorescent protein (GFP). The scale bar represents 10μm.

From SBU Researchers Among 100 Scientists Collaborating on Genetic Tool Development in Marine Protists on SBU News, April 7, 2020.

For the past several years, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Associate Professor Jackie Collier and PhD candidate Mariana Rius, along with Associate Professor Joshua Rest from the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Ecology and Evolution, developed the tools and methodology for genetically transforming a single-celled marine fungus-like organism known as Aurantiochytrium limacinum ATCC MYA-1381. The three were among more than 100 scientists spanning 41 research groups across the globe who collaborated on the development of genetic tools in 39 evolutionarily diverse unicellular marine eukaryotes (protists).

Graduate Student Mariana Ruis in the lab.

Graduate Student Mariana Ruis.

Their paper, Genetic Tool Development in Marine Protists: Emerging Model Organisms for Experimental Cell Biology, appears in the April issue of Nature Methods and was referred to by one of the paper’s reviewers as “a great resource that will be used for years to come as an authoritative encyclopedia of genetic manipulation of protists.”

These genetic tools are the primary means in which an understudied and generally underappreciated marine microbe emerges into a model organism. Expanding the evolutionary as well as the ecological breadth of diverse eukaryotes that can undergo genetic modification creates the foundation for questions regarding eukaryotic cell biology, evolution, ecology, metabolism, reproduction, etc. to be addressed head on. These eukaryotes play an enormous role in the ocean’s biogeochemical cycling and are an integral component of marine food webs.

“It is through this kind of ‘risky’ work that our scope and understanding of what is actually happening in our oceans truly gets to expand,” Rius said. This exploratory and pioneering work is an example of “building a well-connected community to overcome technical challenges and accelerate the development of genetic tools.” (Faktorova et al., 2020).

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Experimental Model Systems (EMS) Strategy extended far beyond financial support; EMS specific sessions and events at conferences, monthly webinars and a Protist Research to Optimize Tools in Genetics (PROT-G) community facilitated troubleshooting, brainstorming and implementing new ideas and approaches in overcoming the challenges ingrained in the very nature of these kinds of research advancements.

The Moore Foundation’s EMS investment to support scientists worldwide in the development of marine microbial experimental model systems has raised the bar in the sort of questions ecologists, cell biologists and researchers worldwide can ask when looking at the diversity of protists and the complexities of our oceans.

 

Three Stony Brook Researchers Among 100 Scientists Collaborating on Genetic Tool Development in Marine Protists

Experts call for immediate action to save the world’s most resilient corals

Photo Above: Corals in the Gulf of Aqaba (credit Ove Hoegh-Guldberg)

Despite political tensions between countries along the Red Sea, researchers band together to call upon UNESCO to declare the Red Sea’s entire coral reef as a Marine World Heritage Site while recommending additional measures critical for the reef’s survival

Rapid ocean warming due to climate change poses a serious risk to the survival of coral reefs. It is estimated that 70-90% of all reefs will be severely degraded by mid-century even if the 1.5◦C goal of the Paris Climate Agreement is achieved. There is one coral reef ecosystem, however, that seems more resilient to rising sea temperatures than most others. Corals in the Gulf of Aqaba, at the northernmost portion of the Red Sea, have an unusually high tolerance for the rapidly warming seawater in the region. They withstand water temperature irregularities that cause severe bleaching or mortality in most hard corals elsewhere. This uniquely resilient reef employs biological mechanisms which are likely to be important for coral survival as the planet’s oceans warm.

Corals in the Gulf of Aqaba

Corals in the Gulf of Aqaba (photo credit Maoz Fine).

While the Gulf of Aqaba could potentially be one of the planet’s largest marine refuge from climate change, this unique portion of the Red Sea’s reef will only survive and flourish if serious regional environmental challenges are addressed.  In a study just published in Frontiers in Marine Science, an international group of researchers outlines these challenges and proposes a number of necessary measures they say must be immediately implemented in order to protect the reef from increasing local threats.

The study was led by Dr. Karine Kleinhaus, of the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and co-authored by Prof. Maoz Fine, of Bar-Ilan University’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, along with a group of scientists who have studied the Red Sea’s corals while based in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, the United States and Switzerland. The Swiss Ambassador to Israel also contributed to the article. The collaboration of these co-authors, despite regional political tensions, underscores the importance of this call for action.

The coral reefs of the Red Sea provide food and a source of livelihood to a rapidly growing population of over 28 million people living along its coastline, and are a uniquely rich potential source of new medicines. However, as towns and cities continue to grow along the Red Sea, these areas generate substantial local pressure on its reefs.  Some portions of the reef have already been heavily damaged by uncontrolled tourism, human population expansion, overfishing, and coastal development that has led to pollution and a decline in coastal water quality.

Corals in the Gulf of Aqaba.

Corals in the Gulf of Aqaba (photo credit Maoz Fine).

Despite existing environmental stressors and newly emerging threats, there are currently no coordinated scientific research or management efforts that encompass the entire Red Sea reef complex.  The researchers assert that the most urgent objective is to advance immediate protection of the Gulf of Aqaba as a World Heritage Site as part of an initiative involving Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.  Ideally, they say scientists, conservationists, and policy makers should advocate strongly that UNESCO recognize the Red Sea’s entire coral reef as a Marine World Heritage Site. Regional scientists and governments should work together to implement transnational research, monitoring and conservation efforts and seek UN support for a long-term scientific monitoring program. Considering political realities, the authors affirm that regional collaboration can be effectively facilitated by the Transnational Red Sea Center, a neutral organization which was established in March 2019 and is based at the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

The researchers recommend several additional measures including:

  • Full regional cooperation under the directive of high levels of government
  • Informing governments of the monetary value and vast medicinal potential of the reef to each nation
  • Long-term regional monitoring of the threat to the reefs from new coastal development and the accompanying population expansion
  • Sustainable development of the Red Sea coastline

“Threats to the Red Sea’s reef in its entirety, and to the uniquely resilient northernmost segment, are escalating, and we will need to work together to preserve them despite the many political and practical challenges. Otherwise, we will have to explain to future generations that we stood by as our generation destroyed one of the last reefs standing,” the authors conclude.

 

 

Kleinhaus K, Al-Sawalmih A, Barshis DJ, Genin A, Grace LN, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Loya Y, Meibom A, Osman EO, Ruch J-D, Shaked Y, Voolstra CR, Zvuloni A and Fine M (2020). Science, Diplomacy, and the Red Sea’s Unique Coral Reef: It’s Time for Action. Front. Mar. Sci. 7:90. DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00090

 

 

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.”

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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

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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.

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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

SoMAS Professor Named Interim Provost

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.

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