Research projects

Four SoMAS Research Projects Receive New York Sea Grant Funding |

New York Sea Grant (NYSG) has awarded approximately $1.3 million to support eight research projects – four of which are based at Stony Brook University – that will directly address several high-priority community, economic and environmental goals.

The projects, administered by the NYSG and funded by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sea Grant’s federal parent agency, represent a range of stakeholder-focused topics in a number of New York’s coastal geographies. .

Below are the four Stony Brook research projects that will receive funding.

Against all odds: developing strains of bay scallops that resist temperature and disease stress
Main PC: Bassem AllamFull Professor of Marinetics in Marine Sciences, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

Specimens of scallops await examination at SBU’s Marine Animal Disease Laboratory; (Inset) Under a microscope, two parasitic cells appear as the number 8. Scientists now refer to these parasites as bay scallop coccidia (BSC). We can just make out the membrane of the scallop cell surrounding the two parasitic cells. 1 credit

Long Island’s bay scallop fishery faces challenges related to pathogens and climate change. This was highlighted after the mass mortality of adult scallops in the Peconic Estuary in 2019 and 2020 hit the industry hard. This project will assess the genetic characteristics of natural scallop populations that improve survival under conditions of temperature change and pathogenic stress. The results will identify resistant scallop genotypes that may facilitate the recovery of bay scallops in New York waters and will serve the future development of selective breeding programs that support the bay scallop fishing industry.

“The primary goal of the project is to assess whether resistance to parasitic bay scallop coccidia and heat stress is an inherited trait so that selective breeding strategies can be developed and implemented,” Allam said.

Assessing the Changing Biogeography of American Shad in a Changing Hudson River Ecosystem
Main PC: Yong ChenProfessor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

Search chen hudson americanshad
Justin Herne, a fisheries technician with NYSDEC’s Hudson River Fisheries Unit, holds American shad caught during annual sampling to monitor spawning stock and recruitment of the species in the Hudson River Estuary. Hudson River; (Inset) After weighing and measuring the fish, Herne pauses before releasing the fish back into the water. Credit: NYSDEC.

American shad is an important recreational and commercial fish species in the Hudson River which has become severely depleted. In an effort to help restore the stock, a moratorium on shad fishing was established in 2010. Despite this action, to date, the American shad stock in the Hudson River has not rebounded. This study aims to identify the factors limiting recovery. The results are expected to help inform policies and other measures to help rebuild the population and revitalize this important historic fishery.

“We would like to analyze all available information to understand why American shad in the Hudson River have not recovered after more than 10 years of a fishing moratorium,” Chen said.

Diversifying New York’s Marine Aquaculture Industry: Safely Integrating the Red Summer Seaweed, Gracilaria, into Oyster Farms and Other Systems
Main PC: Christopher Gobler, Ecology and Coastal Conservation Chair and Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

Research gobler aquaculture gracilariaonrope
Cultivated Gracilaria hangs from a rope installed in Long Island Sound. Credit: Christopher Gobler

To help diversify and improve the resilience of New York’s marine aquaculture industry, researchers are evaluating the potential of a new aquaculture species that can be grown as a crop alongside shellfish and shellfish farming operations. Eastern oysters. For this project, the research team is investigating the viability of culturing Gracilaria tikvahiae as a summer algal culture to supplement the winter algal culture of sugar kelp in the waters off Long Island.

“Our project will seek to advance the aquaculture of the red algae, Gracilaria, in New York City,” Gobler said. “Advancement of Gracilaria cultivation will provide environmental protection against hypoxia, harmful algal blooms and acidification in summer and fall, as well as a year-round supply of algae if combined to kelp.”

Quantification of carbon sequestration stocks, sources, and accumulation rates of eelgrass (Zostera marina) in the Southshore and Peconic estuaries of Long Island
Main PC: Bradley PetersonAssociate Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is found in the south shore estuary of Long Island. The seagrass canopy (composed of plant leaves) absorbs CO2 from the water column during photosynthesis. Credit: Kaitlyn O’Toole

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in marine waters can lead to ocean acidification (OA) which can have adverse effects on fisheries, especially shellfish. Seagrasses are recognized as one of the most important blue carbon sinks, capturing CO2 from the water column. This carbon sequestration by eelgrass (Zostera marina) could be a potential OA mitigation strategy for New York. This project aims to understand the spatial variability of carbon storage in eelgrass sediments from the south shore of Long Island and the Peconic estuaries. The project’s estimated carbon accumulation rates will help assess the potential of seagrass ecosystems to help cope with the impacts of osteoarthritis.

“Resource managers recognize the potential consequences of ocean acidification on coastal waters,” Peterson said. “They are working to ensure that the best available science is used to assess and respond to this emerging threat.”

The other four projects in NYSG’s most recent research suite, which are led by principal investigators from Hofstra University, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, University at Buffalo, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, focus on the waters of Long Island, New York Harbor and Lake Ontario and highlight issues such as education on rip currents, shellfish farming, oyster restoration and l fish spawning habitat. For more, read the full NYSG press release.

New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Granta cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 academic programs in the National Sea Grant College program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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