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Kurt Bretsch

BretschProvost’s Outstanding Lecturer
Faculty Director, Semester by the Sea Program

Ph.D., 2005, University of South Carolina

Marine and Environmental Science Education, Coastal Community Ecology




Research Interests

My research interests/background fall within the realm of coastal and estuarine marine community ecology, and specifically in determining spatial and temporal distributions of economically and ecologically important fishes and macro-invertebrates and how changing patterns of habitat use reflect biotic and abiotic environmental conditions. I created and used a novel sampling method, the sweep flume, to reveal patterns to the tidal migrations of fishes, shrimps, and crabs in salt marsh intertidal creeks. My research typically includes a strong undergraduate education component. I collaborated with a student to investigate induced responses to stresses in a rocky intertidal alga and also led a team of students in exploring oyster growth at several sites in Shinnecock Bay and Great Peconic Bay. Currently, my focus is on undergraduate programming and I am not advising graduate students. Courses I regularly teach include Ichthyology, Oceanography, Marine Conservation, Long Island Marine Habitats, and Coastal Cultural Experience. I am also the Faculty Director for our immersive Semester by the Sea program, and I offer a summer course in Oceanography for undergraduates and exemplary high school students.


Bretsch, K., and D. M. Allen, 2006, Effects of Biotic Factors on the Depth Selection of Nekton, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 334 (1): 130-138

Bretsch, K., and D. M. Allen, 2006, Tidal Migrations of Nekton in Salt Marsh Intertidal Creeks, Estuaries and Coasts 29 (3): 479-491


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...

Stony Brook Celebrates the Earth in Annual Festival

From "Stony Brook Celebrates the Earth in Annual Festival" on Stony Brook News by Emma Cesario on May 6, 2019. In celebration of Earth Day, Stony Brook University held its annual week-long Earthstock celebration, culminating with the Earthstock Festival on April 19....

Stony Brook Southampton Volunteers Clean Up Warner Island

Many thanks to Semester by the Sea Faculty Director Kurt Bretsch for organizing the Warner Island Beach Cleanup, as part of Stony Brook University's contribution to the Town of Southampton's Great East End Clean Up event. This year's group was a smaller yet...

Vax to Flax 2019

Thank you to everyone who came out for this year's Flax to Vax Run/BBQ on Saturday April 27! This event is hosted by the SoMAS Graduate Student club and had a great turnout.  The Club Officers hope everyone had as much fun as they did! The results of the race: Top...

SoMAS Celebrates CommUniversity Day

On Saturday, September 22, SoMAS joined many other departments at the University for the 2nd annual campus-wide open house event, CommUniversity Day! With the fantastic weather, SoMAS had a great opportunity to shine and showcase our programs. Our impact...

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...

Vax to Flax 2018

Many thanks to those who participated and assisted with the 2018 Flax to Vax Race + BBQ on Saturday April 28th! The overall winner was student Tim Curtin with a time of 26:13. The faculty winner was Chris Gobler with a time of 26:24. The faculty "won" the...

SoMAS Shines at Earthstock

SoMAS had great, enthusiastic participation at Earthstock this year.  Thank you to everyone at SoMAS who helped with the event in some way: Interim Dean Larry Swanson kicked the week off with his lecture, “Dredging Stony Brook Harbor,” at the Three Village Historical...

Earth Day Beach Cleanup at Warner Island Is a Success

From Earth Day Beach Cleanup at Warner Island Is a Success on SBU Happenings, April 25, 2018 Students, faculty and staff from Stony Brook Southampton and the Stony Brook main campus celebrated Earth Day on Sunday, April 22 with the annual Beach Clean Up at Warner...

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