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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Monitoring the Pine Barrens

    Monitoring the growing threats to the Long Island Pine Barrens is important and will be beneficial to students who can learn from the research, according to Professor Gilbert Hanson, Department of Geosciences. Hanson gave the first Geology Open Night lecture of the semester on Jan. 26. His lecture addressed the environmental threats to the Pine Barrens and the research that has began to monitor those threats.

    Hanson is participating in the ‘Program for Integrated Natural Environmental Sustainability (PINES) for the Long Island Pine Barrens Region.’ He wants the data collected to be useful to the public and students. ‘Research is in the very early stages. We have to develop exercises to use data in classrooms, that is very important,’ said Hanson.

    SBU’s purchase of the South Hampton campus has played a role. Hanson said that teachers can ‘use the Pine Barrens as a test of sustainability’hellip; use as part of the curriculum for South Hampton.’ There’ are courses offered this semester, BIO 301/ECO 301/ENG 301/ESS 511/GEO 301, Sustainability of the Long Island Pine Barrens.

    Research on the sustainability of the region is being done because serious threats place the future of the Pine Barrens in danger. The primary environmental threats to the Pine Barrens are acid rain, global warming, the rising sea level and ground level ozone. ‘These threats need to be monitored because we know the threats now, but in the future we don’t know how it will change,’ said Hanson.

    Currently, long term monitoring is a problem. In remote locations, data has to be collected with hands-on measurements, according to Hanson. Funding is being sought to purchase monitoring stations. The Long Island Group Advancing Science Education provided a station, known as HOBO, which is capable of monitoring multiple factors. Hanson is planning to set up a HOBO station in the Pine Barrens, in the coming weeks. ‘You can put them anywhere and they are relatively cheap,’ he said.

    The Pine Barrens is the largest remaining section of a forest that is believed to have once covered most of Long Island. It is home to many plants and animals, some of which are endangered, according to Hanson. The over 100,000 acre forest is protected under the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act-1993.

    Students who are interested in participating in the Pine Barrens research should contact Hanson at [email protected]. General information about the Pine Barrens can be found at the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, www.pinebarrens.org.

    The series of science lectures continues throughout the semester with a variety of departments. Lectures are held on Fridays at 7:30 PM in ESS 001. The schedule for the upcoming month includes Astronomy Open Night on Feb. 2 with Dr. Kathleen Flint, discussing ‘Astronomy from the South Pole.’

    The World of Physics lecture is on Feb. 9 with Dr. David Schyler, the topic is ‘Medical Imaging- Using Physics to Look at Drug Addiction.’ The Living World, on Feb. 16, will be made up of a panel discussing ‘Faith and Science: Is there an Interface?’ The next Geology Open Night is Feb. 23 with Professor Robert Liebermann, who will give a lecture on ‘New Tools/Toys to Study the Earth’s Deep Interior.’

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