November 03, 2022

BROOKLYN and PATCHOGUE, N.Y. – November 3, 2022 – St. Joseph’s University, New York (SJNY) is pleased to announce that the Department of Biology has been awarded a three-year grant that will support research investigating the effects of ocean acidification on harmful algal blooms (HABs). Konstantine Rountos, Ph.D., associate professor of biology at SJNY, is a Co-PI on the grant, along with colleagues from Stony Brook (Lead-PI) and Adelphi (Co-PI) universities. 

The grant, awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), will provide approximately $25,000 per year for three years to fund SJNY faculty and student research. This research grant will support the laboratories of Dr. Rountos on the Patchogue campus and Kestrel Perez, Ph.D., associate professor of biology on the Brooklyn campus, to specifically investigate the toxicity of HABs grown in differing ocean acidification conditions to fish. This builds on the more than a decade of research experience that Dr. Rountos’ lab has in investigating the effects of HABs on marine fish.

“This research project is essential to improving our knowledge of how future ocean conditions may impact coastal marine life,” said Dr. Rountos. “By evaluating the effects of ocean acidification on the lethal and sublethal toxicity of HABs to fish, we can better anticipate the potential ecosystem-wide effects. Bringing this timely research to SJNY and having funding to support research students from both campuses is very exciting.”

This grant marks the first time that St. Joseph’s has been chosen to receive funds from NOAA’s highly competitive grant opportunities. The overall research funding will support research aimed to determine how HABs in New York waters respond to coastal acidification, how current and future climate change conditions will affect these HABs, and how the co-occurrence of these HABs with acidification will impact economically and ecologically important fish and shellfish.

“The Department of Biology emphasizes the importance of getting involved in research for biology majors, so we are thrilled to receive federal funds to help support this mission,” said Dr. Perez. “These funds will also enable both faculty and student research on highly novel and important topics from both Patchogue and Brooklyn campuses and will thus foster a collaborative environment across the SJNY campuses.”

The overarching goal of this research project is to ultimately inform mitigation strategies to prevent or control the negative impacts of HABs and acidification. By creating maps of HAB and acidification “hot spots” that overlap natural resource maps, this will have immediate value for the shellfish aquaculture community and coastal resource managers on the East Coast. 

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St. Joseph’s University, New York has been dedicated to providing a diverse population of students in the New York metropolitan area with an affordable education rooted in the liberal arts tradition since 1916. Independent and coeducational, the University provides a strong academic and value-oriented education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, aiming to prepare each student for a life characterized by integrity, intellectual and spiritual values, social responsibility and service. Through its Brooklyn, Long Island and online campuses, the University offers degrees in 60 majors, special course offerings and certificates, affiliated and pre-professional programs.