Score two for Stony Brook
Capital improvements and Institute for Ocean Conservation Science on the way
September 02, 2008 - Newsday
Every time Stony Brook University takes another step into the big leagues, it's a good day for Long Island. So it's hard to overstate the importance of two events that will help its Southampton campus and the whole university.
The campus, purchased from Long Island University in October 2006, is meant to focus on environmental sustainability. One of its key components from the start has been the Marine Sciences Research Center. (It's now the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, reflecting a major expansion of its undergraduate enrollment). But it has been operating out of outmoded buildings. Now, $6.9 million in SUNY capital money will provide it with a cutting-edge science facility, new classrooms and an area for public outreach.
The other good news is Stony Brook's coup in landing the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science. In 2003, after the Pew Oceans Commission reported that our oceans were in crisis, Pew Charitable Trusts set up the institute to make sure ocean conservation decisions were backed by the best possible science. To run it, they chose Ellen Pikitch, a world leader in ocean conservation. She worked out of Manhattan and the University of Miami, one of the nation's top marine science institutions.
One scientist who did key research for her institute was David Conover, marine sciences dean at Stony Brook. He got Pikitch to teach as an adjunct here, and she liked what she saw. Now her institute, funded by Pew and other grants, will be at Stony Brook - not in Miami. In the world of science, this is as exciting as your favorite team signing a top free agent - but it's of far more lasting importance for our region.