Marine Vertebrate Biology
College or University: Stony Brook University
Type of degree: B.S.
Brief overview of program: The Marine Vertebrate Biology major provides students with a solid background in basic biology with an emphasis on marine vertebrate organisms such as fish, sharks, birds,
turtles and marine mammals. It provides a more intensive zoology background than the Marine Sciences degree.
Students are encouraged to participate in research and internships. Opportunities for experiential learning are available through field and laboratory courses taught at or near the Stony Brook campus and from a field station near the ocean in Southampton New York.
The Marine Vertebrate Biology major is administered by the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, one of the leading oceanographic institutions in the nation. The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) is the center for marine research, education, and public service in the marine and environmental sciences for the State University of New York system. In addition, the SoMAS is Stony Brook Universityís center for research, education, and public service in the atmospheric sciences. The SoMAS is one of the nationís leading coastal oceanographic and atmospheric institutions, and the expertise of the SoMAS faculty places them at the forefront of addressing and answering questions about regional environmental problems, as well as problems relating to the global ocean and atmosphere. The primary focus of the SoMAS faculty is on fundamental research designed to increase understanding of the processes that characterize the coastal ocean and the atmosphere. The SoMAS is also committed to applying the results of research to solve problems arising from societyís uses and misuses of the environment. The Center includes institutes in several major areas: the Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres, the Living Marine Resources Institute, the Long Island Groundwater Resource Institute, and the Waste Reduction and Management Institute. The institutes and many research projects add a wealth of varied resources to education and research at Stony Brook.
Website: Click here for program website
Tuition (2007):In State: $4250, Out of State: $10610
Number of students enrolled in 2007: 85
For the students that enter the workforce, what are the most common occupations that they pursue with this degree or certificate? Lab technician, aquarium worker, work at animal rescue facilitie
Description of Facilities: Through its Marine Sciences Research Center, SoMAS
operates a fleet of well-equipped research vessels. The
80-foot RV Seawolf, berthed in nearby Port Jefferson
Harbor, carries students and faculty on extended trips for
large-scale oceanographic sampling and trawling. We use
the RV Pritchard for sampling near-shore waters around
The SoMAS Southampton Marine Station, on Old Fort
Pond in Shinnecock Bay, gives direct access to the
Atlantic Ocean. Live marine species are housed at the
stationís aquarium. Vessels maintained at Southampton
include the 44-foot, oceangoing RV Paumanok; the RV
Shinnecock (a 35-foot platform craft); and the RV
Peconic, a 45-foot catamaran.
A pristine tidal estuary located only a few miles from campus, Flax Pond is a beautiful place of great biodiversity. It is home to a large variety of birds, plants, shellfish, diamondback terrapins, and a marine laboratory. The Flax Pond lab supports experiments that require a 24-hour, flowing sea water environment. Wet labs and a greenhouse contain fiberglass tanks of varying dimensions, to meet the changing needs of researchers as their work progresses. The facility is used for studies of finfish, marine algae, salt marsh ecosystems, and shellfish.
The much-publicized lobster die-off in Long Island
Sound prompted creation of the Marine Disease
Pathology and Research Consortium, a partnership
between SoMAS, the New York State Sea Grant Institute,
and the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation. SoMAS personnel provide diagnostic services
for marine disease outbreaks, and the Consortiumís
Marine Animal Disease Laboratory is located here.
Research currently underway at this lab includes gathering
of real-time information on Long Islandís lobster fishery,
and studies of QPX (Quahog Parasite Unknown), a
microscopic organism that causes disease in hard clams.
The Ocean Instrument Lab provides engineering and technical support for our oceanographic research. Specific services include electronic repair, instrument and systems design, instrument calibration, and shipboard support.
Student Support: Stony Brook University offers a number of scholarships and financial aid opportunities. Details can be found on the admissions office web site.
Program Point of Contact: Professor Mary Scranton
Department: School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Institution address: Stony Brook University
Stony Brook,NY 11794-5000