Research & Assessment

Sustainability Research at Baruch

Baruch College faculty are integrating sustainability into their work in a variety of interesting ways. Below, some of the many sustainability-related projects currently underway at Baruch:

Natural Sciences

Dr. Chester B. Zarnoch

Dr. Zarnoch is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology at Baruch College and a faculty member of the CUNY Graduate Center. His research pertains to understanding how changes in the environment, from temperature and food availability to increases in pollution, influence the physiology of shellfish like hard clams, oysters, and scallops.

The restoration of bivalve populations can have profound, positive impacts both on economies and on local environments. To that end, Professor Zarnoch has studied the growth and reproduction of oysters in Jamaica Bay and the effects of water quality. His current work, in collaboration with Dr. Timothy Hoellein and the National Park Service, examines the role oyster restoration may play in enhancing nitrogen removal from Jamaica Bay.

Professor Zarnoch applies his research on bivalve physiology to problems hindering the growth of the shellfish aquaculture industry in the Northeast U.S., contributing extensively to scientific understanding of the over-winter mortality of juvenile hard clams. He has partnered with Long Island municipalities as well as with non-governmental organizations to improve hard clam stock enhancement efforts in Long Island. He is also involved in the research and development of large-scale aquaculture programs that could serve as models for an urban aquaculture industry in cities like New York. He has collaborated with Brooklyn College’s Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center on a number of research programs, including the early growth of horseshoe crabs and urban aquaculture.

Dr. Jason Munshi-South

“My laboratory uses molecular techniques to examine the behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary impacts of large-scale human disturbance, such as logging or urbanization, on wild mammal populations. Molecular genetic tools are integral to examining how mammals are impacted by human pressures, because many species are too elusive, dangerous, or imperiled to study using more invasive methods. In the past I focused on mammals in Old World tropical rainforests (Southeast Asia & Central Africa), but am also now taking advantage of the lab’s location to examine the impacts of urbanization on native mammals in NYC. ”

Dr. David Gruber

“The interests of the Laboratory include:

1. Coral reef ecology, with an emphasis on the deep coral reefs and fluorescent proteins.
2. Marine microbial ecology in relation to bio-geochemical cycling.
3. Identifying and developing novel pharmacologically active compounds from marine and reef organisms. ”

Dr. Timothy Hoellein, Department of Natural Sciences

“My research focuses on the effects of restoration strategies and seasonal change on ecosystem processes in aquatic environments. Both factors have the potential to alter rates of nutrient cycling and net ecosystem production through changes in physical environment, light availability, and organic matter dynamics. However, studies rarely consider the interaction between seasonal dynamics and restoration when evaluating projects for their effectiveness. To date, my work has centered on the influence of stream restoration on ecosystem processes in rural locations, however, in current research I am interested in restoration initiatives for aquatic ecosystems in New York City. Ongoing projects include:

  1. An analysis of the relationship between land use patterns and spatial variability in nutrient concentration and bio-film nutrient limitation in an urban river (Bronx River) and
  2. A study focusing on whether reintroduction of native oysters will influence N cycling in underlying sediments (Jamaica Bay). My overarching career goal is to increase public awareness regarding the importance of aquatic habitats in the urban landscape and to provide objective appraisals of restoration attempts through empirically robust research projects. It’s my view this will ensure resources are directed towards the implementation of restoration projects that promote ongoing benefits for ecosystem health and public education.”

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