Climate-Ocean impacts on Fish, Fisheries, Ecosystems, and Economics (COFFEE!)

We are studying the impacts of extreme events on the ecology of the Gulf of Maine.  Part of a large NSF-funded project involving researchers at Gulf of Maine Research Institute, University of Maine, NOAA ESRL and NOAA NWFSC, we at Stony Brook are focused on phenological events on the Northeast US coast and the spatial distribution of lobster and their predators.  For more details see the project website at:

Understanding the impacts of climate change on the distribution, population connectivity, and fisheries for summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) in the Mid-Atlantic

This project is part of a large Sea Grant funded project with Rutgers, UNC Chapel Hill and George Mason University to study the commercially and recreationally important summer flounder. It aims to look at (1) larval connectivity, the (2) interactions between climate variability, shifting distributions, productivity, and the contribution of subpopulations to settlement, (3) the commercial and recreational summer flounder fisheries response to changing abundance, distribution, and age structure, and (4) the impact of climate-driven shifts on stock assessment and fisheries management.

Ocean acidification

We have 2 projects on ocean acidification in my lab.  The first involves modeling trsp_1958he population level consequences of exposure to high pH in the larval stage of two coastal bivalve species, the hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria and the bay scallop, Argopecten irradians using inverse demography and matrix population modeling.  The second project was recently funded by the NSF to examine the effects of acidification and hypoxia within and across generations in the Atlantic silverside in collarboration with researchers at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point.  Our lab will be looking at the physiological mechanisms that allow these fish to adapt to low pH and low DO conditions in the estuary.

Black sea bass overwintering survival and recruitment

We have conducted laboratory experiments of black sea bass growth and overwintering survival at various temperatures and salinities.  We are developing a model to understand how winter duration and severity affect recruitment and ultimately the abundance and distribution of this species.  We are doing similar work on blue crabs Calinectes sapidus.

Effects of Storm Barrier Breach on the Great South Bay ecosystem

In 2012, Tropical Storm Sandy ravaged the Northeast causing widespread loss of life and property to many in New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas.  The storm caused a breach in Fire Island, the narrow barrier Island that separates Great South Bay on the south shore of Long Island from the Atlantic Ocean.  Fortunately, researchers at Stony Brook University in SOMAS had been sampling Great South Bay prior to the breach .  Our part of a large effort to understand the impacts of this storm on coastal ecosystems was to conduct trawl surveys after the breach and compare them to trawl surveys that occurred before the breach.  We also will compare ecosystem resilience and maturity using Ecopath with Ecosim.  This project is in close collaboration with Mike Frisk, Charles Flagg and Bob Cerrato at SOMAS and being led by postdoc Jill Olin.  We have seen changes in salinity, temperature along with changes in species assemblages and spatial distribution after the breach.  For more information and the latest pictures from the breach go to