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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 are broad but fall within the realm of coastal and estuarine marine community ecology. I am interested 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. My research typically includes a strong undergraduate education component. During recent projects, 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. I have also collaborated with a student to investigate induced responses to stresses in a rocky intertidal alga and have led a team of undergraduates in exploring oyster growth at several sites in Shinnecock Bay and Great Peconic Bay. Courses I regularly teach include Ichthyology, Oceanography, Coastal Oceanography, Marine Conservation, Long Island Marine Habitats, Coastal Cultural Experience and Environmental Problems and Solutions. My focus is on undergraduate programming and I am currently not advising graduate 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



Sixteen volunteers did an outstanding job representing SoMAS and Stony Brook University at the SUBMERGE festival in Manhattan on Saturday September 16, 2017. Five tables of onshore exhibits informed and entertained the thousands of attendees on topics including effect...

Summer Oceanography Course 2017

For two weeks during the summer session, Dr. Kurt Bretsch teaches our Summer MAR 104 - Oceanography course at the Marine Sciences Center located at the Stony Brook University Southampton Campus.  This undergraduate course provides an examination of the World Ocean and...

SoMAS Convocation 2017

Congratulations to our graduates!  The annual SoMAS Convocation occurred on Friday, May 19, 2017 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...

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...

Semester by the Sea Students Participate in the Great East End Clean Up

From Stony Brook Southampton Joins Great East End Clean Up on SBU Happening April 25, 2017 Sixteen people from the Stony Brook Southampton Office of Student Life and Semester by the Sea program took part in the annual Great East End Clean Up on Sunday, April 23. The...

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....

Vax to Flax 2016

The 2016 Vax to Flax Run was held on Saturday April 30th on a beautiful sunny day. The race course followed the Vax-to-Vax format (seen on the right) where the race starts at SoMAS and travels clockwise around Circle Drive to return back to SoMAS. Seven faculty and post docs raced against eleven students. As has been the recent tradition, the faculty times overall beat the student times.

Flax to Vax 2015

The Annual SoMAS tradition that puts Students against Faculty took place on Saturday, April 25th. The course this year followed the same path as last year, starting at SoMAS (former home of the Vax computer system) and circling around campus around Circle Drive to...

SoMAS Photo Competition 2015

The SoMAS photo competition is intended to be an annual event where students (graduate and undergraduate), faculty and staff will get to share their pictures with the SoMAS community and the general public. There will be three winning photos every year, one for each...

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