Skip to toolbar

Associate Professor

Ph.D., 1990, University of Wales

Structure and dynamics of shelf-seas and remote sensing oceanography.



Research Interests

I am a marine physicist. I study ocean processes that affect circulation (e.g., currents and tides), density distribution (e.g., mixing and heat balance), and climate variability. My research interests are the structure and dynamics of the shelf-seas, remote sensing oceanography and biological-physical interactions, which affect larval transport. I design field experiments to observe these processes by incorporating modern technology, with a particular emphasis on the acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP), GPS-tracked Lagrangian drifters, ocean gliders and satellites.

The study of hypoxia in Long Island Sound is very important to me. My students and I have shown that spring total chlorophyll, maximum spring freshwater discharge into the sound, spring total nitrogen, and mean summer wind are good predictors of hypoxic water volume. They contribute to more than 81% of the volume variability. We also demonstrated that onset of hypoxia’s late summer relaxation is sensitive to factors beyond wind mixing alone. Whereas wind mixing contributes at most 30% to the late summer bottom water dissolved oxygen variability, the penalty of not including the bacterial dynamics in the model is an over-prediction of bottom dissolved oxygen by as much as 700%.

My lab is currently working on three projects. In the first one we machine learning techniques to understand factors that control surfclam recruitment annual and long-term variability. The study also seeks to determine the climate change effects on the surf clam population in state waters on the south shore of Long Island.  The second project, HyCRISTAL, is working with stakeholders in East African to quantify climate prediction uncertainty from natural variability, uncertainty from climate forcings including those previously unassessed, and uncertainty in response to these forcings. HyCRISTAL will use the information to understand trends, when climate-change signals will emerge and provide a process-based expert judgement on projections to inform climate-smart policy decision making. For more information about the project read here. The third project is part of an international consortium of seven universities and research organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil and the Cote d’Ivoire. The project’s goal is to examine how climate change will impact schistosomiasis infections, also known as “snail fever,” a debilitating infection that affects some 200 million people worldwide. We will produce statistically and dynamically downscaled CMIP6 projections of temperatures and precipitation amounts in climate change scenarios which will be used in epidemiological models.

Selected Publications

Brunner, K. and Lwiza, K. M. M. Evidence of coastal trapped wave scattering using high-frequency radar data in the Mid-Atlantic Bight, Ocean Sci. Discuss.,, in review, 2020.

Brunner, K., Lwiza, K.M.M. 2020. Tidal velocities on the Mid-Atlantic Bight continental shelf using high-frequency radar. J Oceanogr.

Brunner, K. and Lwiza, K.M., 2019, March. The impact of storm-induced coastal trapped waves on the transport of marine debris using high-frequency radar data. In 2019 IEEE/OES Twelfth Current, Waves and Turbulence Measurement (CWTM) (pp. 1-5). IEEE.

Brunner, K., Rivas, D. and Lwiza, K.M. 2019. Application of classical coastal trapped wave theory to high scattering regions. Journal of Physical Oceanography.

Bornemann, F.J., Rowell, D.P., Evans, B., Lapworth, D.J., Lwiza, K., Macdonald, D.M., Marsham, J.H., Tesfaye, K., Ascott, M.J. and Way, C., 2019. Future changes and uncertainty in decision-relevant measures of East African climate. Climatic Change, pp.1-20

Gownaris, N.J., Rountos, K.J., Kaufman, L., Kolding, J., Lwiza, K.M.M. and Pikitch, E.K., 2018. Water level fluctuations and the ecosystem functioning of lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research,44(6), 1154-1163.

Hornstein, J., Espinosa, E.P., Cerrato, R.M., Lwiza, K.M. and Allam, B., 2018. The influence of temperature stress on the physiology of the Atlantic surfclam, Spisula solidissima. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 222, 66-73.

Gownaris, N.J., Pikitch, E.K., Aller, J.Y., Kaufman, L.S., Kolding, J., Lwiza, K.M., Obiero, K.O., Ojwang, W.O., Malala, J.O. and Rountos, K.J. 2017. Fisheries and water level fluctuations in the world’s largest desert lake. Ecohydrology, 10(1), e1769.

Swanson, R.L., K. Lwiza, K. Willig, K. Morris. 2016. Superstorm Sandy marine debris wash-ups on Long Island – What happened to them? Mar. Pollution Bulletin, 108:215-231.

Related News Articles


Celebrating the Class of 2020 – SoMAS Convocation

Congratulations to our graduates!  The annual SoMAS Convocation occurred virtually for the first time on Friday, May 22, 2020 on the SoMAS website, Facebook and YouTube. Students gathered with their friends and family and SoMAS faculty, staff, and fellow students to...

Souper Bowl VI Defeats the Chilly February Weather

The cold rainy weather Thursday February 6th was no match for Souper Bowl VI. Thanks to the cooks who provided a hearty repast to beat back winter: Betsy Barrows - Escarole and White Bean Soup Jackie Collier - Vegan No-chill Chili Christina Heilbrun - Tomato...

SoMAS at Setauket Harbor Day

SoMAS faculty participated in the annual Setauket Harbor Day on September 28 with demonstrations of a drone boat and were even found on the water in a canoe! This free event, hosted by the Setauket Harbor Task Force, offers Harbor and Maritime History Tours,...

SoMAS Convocation 2019

Photo above: Dean Shepson welcomes the Class of 2019 at the SoMAS Convocation. Congratulations to our graduates!  The annual SoMAS Convocation occurred on Friday, May 24, 2019 at the Center for Leadership and Service. Students gathered with their friends and family...

Two SoMAS Teams Awarded Ocean Research Grants to Study Waters off NY

Photo above: New York Bight Whale Monitoring Program. Property of NYSDEC and the aerial survey contractor, Tetra Tech From Two SBU Teams Awarded Ocean Research Grants to Study Waters off NY on Stony Brook News, February 6, 2019. Nearly $570,000 in ocean research...

SoMAS Convocation 2018

Congratulations to our graduates!  The annual SoMAS Convocation occurred on Friday, May 18, 2018 at the Student Activities Center auditorium. Students gathered with their friends and family and SoMAS faculty and staff to celebrate the completion of their journey at...

Highlights From Our Recent Graduates

This Friday, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences will celebrate our graduating students at Convocation, where 101 undergraduate and 36 graduate students will have their degrees conferred.  Profiles for a few of our graduating students are highlighted below....

Tanzania Study Abroad Program Sends Students to Africa

Photo above: Stony Brook group on safari in Tanzania, 2017 From Tanzania Study Abroad Program Sends Students to Africa by Suzanne Mobyed on SBU Happenings, March 30, 2018. Stony Brook University’s Tanzania Study Abroad program recently won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award...

Celebrating 50 Years With The Risk Of Saying Nothing

Photo above:  At the keynote for our "Risk of Saying Nothing" environmental media conference, five Deans stand with proclamations from local government officials.  From left, Valerie Cartright, Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman, Dr. Malcolm Bowman, Dr. Minghua Zhang,...

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe By Email

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