Credit: Kidsday staff artist Emma Cervone, Southampton

Credit: Kidsday staff artist Emma Cervone, Southampton

The Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences is located on the water in Southampton. We met with the manager, Christopher Paparo, to learn about what happens at the center.

One of the main focuses of the center is education. Undergraduate, graduate and  the Semester by the Sea classes are all held in the building. Classes include the study of marine mammals, sea turtles, ocean conservation, marine culture and ichthyology, the study of fish.

The center offers programs for high school students to learn about marine biology and to see if this might be an area they would like to study in college. Local schools can also visit the center throughout the school year. About 1,500 school kids visit each year. They go on the center’s research vessel to study seals, birds, explore and even go whale watching.

Another focus of the center is research. When you walk into the wet lab, it feels like you stepped into a science fiction book. There are tanks of all sizes that hold sea life, pipes and tubes that connect the different tank and large glass cylinders that hold different colored algae along one wall. The research students and professors conduct experiments to try to solve marine issues like rust tide that kills clams, brown tide that is so dark that plants can’t grow in the water, and the dying oyster population.

The Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Center is a really interesting place to visit! If you have any interest in working with marine life or helping to protect our bays and oceans, you should look into their summer programs and think about going to college here!


Bonnie Downs and Allison Whittle’s writers club, Tuckahoe School, Southampton


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