Kamazima M.M. Lwiza

LwizaAssociate 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 transport (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 the interaction of the lower Hudson estuary with adjacent waters of New York Bight has raised interesting questions on estuarine circulation, especially the fact that there was upstream non-tidal flow on both sides of the shoals near the banks. The results underscored the importance of bathymetry in controlling the structure of longitudinal flow. These results were confirmed by another study I did in the lower Chesapeake Bay in collaboration with Dr. Arnoldo Valle-Levinson (Old Dominion University).

My lab is currently working on three projects. In the first one we are using IKONOS satellite data (1-m resolution) to study coastal damage that occurred in 2012 caused by Hurricane Sandy in Suffolk and Nassau counties in New York. The second project involves analyzing all water column data in Long Island Sound collected on monthly basis by Connecticut DEP from 1991 to present, and developing a model to assess the role of bacterial decomposition in predicting initiation and duration of hypoxia. We have so far been able to demonstrate that horizontal heat exchange with the adjacent coastal ocean is more dominant (>80%) than local surface heat exchange in controlling the interannual variability of temperature. This result contradicts the traditional paradigm about heat balance in estuaries and most other places in the ocean that local heat exchange is considered to be the dominant process. Our results also show that the interannual variability of primary productivity in winter may be controlled by availability of light as much as grazing pressure, especially during warm winters. The third 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.

Other Duties

  1. Director of the Undergraduate Programs in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
  2. Faculty director of the Environmental Studies Academy (ESA). The ESA is the residential component of the environmental studies minor program, which is housed in Hendrix College (Roth Quad) and is part of the Science and Technology College. The ESA offers special programs, such as a seminar series showcasing faculty research, selected courses in the major, and is also the home of the Stony Brook Environmental Club.

Selected Publications

Liu, L., Lwiza, KM.M. and Taylor, G.T. 2015. Importance of the bacterial dynamics in model simulations of seasonal hypoxia. Continental Shelf Research.105:1–17

Suter E, Lwiza K.M.M, Rose J.M., Gobler C, Taylor GT. 2014. Nutrient and phytoplankton regime shifts during decadal decreases in nitrogen loadings to the urbanized Long Island Sound estuary. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 497: 51-67.

Aller, D.M., K.M.M. Lwiza, M.E. Pizer, and J.Y. Aller. 2013. Influence of water quality and availability on water-related diseases in northern Tanzania. Journal of Environmental Protection, 4, 389-404 doi:10.4236/jep.2013.45047

Kunze, H.B., S.G. Morgan, K.M. Lwiza. 2013. Field test of the behavioral regulation of larval transport. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 487: 71–87, 2013 doi: 10.3354/meps10283.

O’Donnell, J., Wilson, R. E., Lwiza, K., and others 2013. The Physical Oceanography of Long Island Sound, in Swanson, R.L., Yarish, C. and Latimer, J. (eds), “Long Island Sound”. Springer-Verlag Publishing Company.

Benitez-Barrios, V.M., Pelegrí J. L., Hernández-Guerra A., Lwiza K.M., Gomis D., Vélez-Belchí P., Hernandez-León S. 2011. Three-Dimensional Circulation in the NW Africa Coastal Transition Zone. Progress in Oceanography. 91:516–533.

Lwiza, K.M.M. 2008. Climatic aspects of extreme temperatures in coastal waters. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L19604, doi:10.1029/2008GL034397.

Lee, Y.J. and K.M.M. Lwiza. 2008. Characteristics of bottom dissolved oxygen in Long Island Sound, New York, Estuar.Coast. Shelf Sci., 76:187-200. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2007.07.001

Lee, Y.J. and K.M.M. Lwiza. 2008.  Factors driving bottom salinity variability in the Chesapeake Bay. Cont. Shelf Res., 28: 1352-1362

Lee, Y.J. and K.M.M. Lwiza, 2005. Interannual variability of Temperature and salinity in shallow water: Long Island Sound, New York, J. Geophys. Res.,11(C9): DOI: 10.1029/2004JC002507

Schultz, E. T., K. M. M. Lwiza, J. Young, J. M. Martin. 2005. Tracking cohorts: analysis of migration in early life stages of an estuarine fish. Estuaries, Vol. 28, No. 3, p. 394–405.

Li, C., A. Valle-Levinson, L.P. Atkinson, and K.-C. Wong, K. M. M. Lwiza. 2004.Estimation of drag coefficient in James River Estuary using tidal velocity data from a vessel-towed ADCP. J. Geophys. Res.,109, C03034, doi:10.1029/2003JC001991.

Wang, Y.-H., L.-Y. Chiao, K.M.M. Lwiza and D.-P. Wang (2004) Analysis of flow at the gate of Taiwan Strait. J. Geophys. Res., 109, C02025, doi:10.1029/2003JC001937.

Schultz, E.T., Lwiza, K.M.M., Fencil, M.C., and Martin J.M. (2003) Mechanisms promoting upriver transport of larvae of two fish species in the Hudson River estuary. Mar Ecol-Prog. Ser. 251: 263-277

Paris, C.B., Cowen, R.K., Lwiza,K.M.M., Wang, D.P., and Olson, D.B. (2002) Multivariate objective analysis of the coastal circulation of Barbados, West Indies: implication for larval transport. Deep-Sea Res.,49(8), 1363-1386.

Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S.A., A. Kustka, C. Gobler, M. Yang, D. Hutchins, J. Burns, K. Lwiza, D. Capone, J. Raven and E. Carpenter. 2001. Phosphorus limitation of nitrogen fixation by Trichodesmium in the central Atlantic Ocean. Nature 411, 66-69.

Jordan, R.C., Gospodarek, A.M., Schultz, E.T., Cowen, R.K., and Lwiza,K. 2000
Spatial and Temporal Growth Rate Variation of Bay Anchovy (Anchoa mitchilli) Larvae in the mid Hudson River Estuary. Estuaries, 23 (5), pp. 683-689.

Valle-Levinson, A., Wong, K.C., and Lwiza,K.M.M. (2000) Fortnightly variability in the transverse dynamics of a coastal plain estuary. J. Geophys. Res. (C); 105(C2), 3413-3424;

Cowen, R.K., K.M.M. Lwiza, S. Sponaugle, C.B. Paris, D.B. Olson. (2000) Connectivity of marine populations: Open or closed? Science287(5454): 857-859.


SoMAS Celebrates Earthstock 2017

Earthstock, the Stony Brook University annual celebration of Earth Day, has been an annual tradition for years.  This year, in honor of our 50th Anniversary, SoMAS had a very significant presence at the event. On Monday April 17th, New York State Assemblyman Steve...

Vax to Flax 2017

Many thanks to those who participated and assisted with the 2017 Flax to Vax Race + BBQ on Saturday. Heather Lynch and Kurt Bretsch won for the faculty and Mark Nepf and Ashley Cohen won for the students. Overall the top five faculty times beat the top ten student...

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SoMAS Convocation 2016

Congratulations to our graduates!  The annual SoMAS Convocation occurred on Friday, May 20, 2016 at the SAC auditorium. Students gathered with their friends and family and SoMAS faculty and staff to celebrate the completion of their journey at Stony Brook University....

Faculty defeat students in 20-something Annual Flax-to-Vax Road Race

By Chris Gobler Since ~1990, SoMAS (formerly MSRC) has gone through an annual, spring rite of passage: The Flax-to-Vax road race. Through the years, it has been Flax-to-Vax, Vax-to-Flax, and this year, Vax-to-Vax, but it has always been fun. Participation has waned in...

Spatial Variability in the Causes of Hypoxia in Long Island Sound

The Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Long Island Sound, produced in 1994 under the EPA’s Long Island Sound Study, identifies persistent summertime hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) as the principal environmental problem affecting the Sound. The hypoxia...

Undergraduate Research and Creativity URECA 2008-2009

Karen Bubelnik and Kamazima Lwiza, School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences -- Characteristics of extreme temperatures in coastal waters of North America This study uses daily sea surface coastal temperature records from four stations from the west coast and one...

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