Southampton, NY, July 1, 2013 – Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) has appointed Christopher Paparo, former Senior Aquarist of the Long Island Aquarium, as the Director of its new 15,000-square-foot, $8.5 million Marine Sciences Center in Southampton which will be completed this summer. Mr. Paparo has strong connections to the campus and the community, having attended Southampton College and received his Bachelors of Science in Marine Science there in 1999. Paparo worked for the Long Island Aquarium for more than 14 years where he was engaged in the building stages of the aquarium and ascended to the position of Senior Aquarist.
“Mr. Paparo’s strong background in maintaining marine animals, public outreach and education, and seawater systems make him the ideal fit for this position,” said Minghua Zhang, Dean, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook. “We are very excited to have him join our expanding programs in Southampton.”
“This hire comes at a perfect time,” said Christopher Gobler, Director of Academic Programs for SoMAS. “As construction of the new Marine Sciences Center is completed in the coming weeks, Mr. Paparo will be on hand to learn the details of the state-of-the-art systems within the building including the computerized seawater circulation system, teaching and analytical labs, and quarantine and culture rooms.”
With an expected grand opening in September, the new Marine Sciences Center will be the hub of educational, research, and outreach activities for SoMAS in Southampton. The building will facilitate the growth of research programs related to Long Island’s bays and estuaries and will enable SoMAS to expand its academic offering to students at Stony Brook and around the world who enroll in their new ‘Semester by the Sea’ program. Finally, the facility will serve as a hub for public meetings, summer camps, diving and sailing programs and allow for expanded K-12 outreach programs.
Born and raised in Holbrook, Long Island, Paparo has been exploring the waters of Long Island for over 30 years. Beyond his 14 years of experience at the Long Island Aquarium, Mr. Paparo has also worked for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation as the Educational Coordinator. Mr. Paparo is also a wildlife photographer who writes for several magazines including The Fisherman, NYS Conservationist, Advanced Aquarist and currently writes a naturalist column for the NY/NJ edition of On The Water Magazine. Chris is also a frequent public lecturer and educator on topics related to Long Island's natural environments.
Currently, there are more than 500 undergraduate and 150 graduate students and 90 faculty and staff from 16 different nations working together at SoMAS to better understand how marine, terrestrial and atmospheric environments function and work in relation to one another. At Stony Brook Southampton, students can take courses that explore the natural flora, fauna and habitats of Long Island’s east end. SoMAS faculty and graduate students are engaged in cutting-edge research with important implications for Long Island’s coastal ecosystems, including studies of harmful algal blooms, shellfish, eelgrass, fisheries, ocean acidification, climate change, and aquaculture.
SoMAS programs allow students and faculty the opportunity to explore and study a variety of habitats ranging from the open ocean to the largest metropolitan area in the United States, and to tap into resources at the nearby National Weather Service, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. SoMAS operates research and educational facilities at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook Southampton (including the forthcoming Marine Sciences Center with access to the Atlantic Ocean) and the Flax Pond Marine Laboratory on the Long Island Sound.
Caption: Christopher Paparo, new director of the Stony Brook Southampton Marine Sciences Center