Long Island Aquarium’s former senior aquarist Christopher Paparo has been hired as the director of Stony Brook University’s new Marine Sciences Center in Southampton.
Mr. Paparo spent more than 14 years at the Riverhead aquarium, starting there when it was in the building stages, eventually taking on the position of senior aquarist. He also served educational coordinator for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, Stony Brook University officials said.
The new marine sciences center is run by Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and is slated to open this September.
The 15,000-square-foot, $8.5 million center will enable SoMAS to expand their program, facilitating further research of Long Island’s bays and estuaries. It will offer more students the opportunity to learn through Stony Brook, according to a release from Stony Brook University.
SoMAS will also be using the space to hold public meetings, summer camps, and for expanded K-12 outreach programs among other activities, according to the release.
“Mr. Paparo’s strong background in maintaining marine animals, public outreach and education, and seawater systems make him the ideal fit for this position,” said Minghua Zhang, dean of the SoMAS program at Stony Brook. He attended Southampton College and received his Bachelors of Science in Marine Science there in 1999, Stony Brook officials said.
“As construction of the new Marine Sciences Center is completed in the coming weeks, Mr. Paparo will be on hand to learn the details of the state-of-the-art systems within the building including the computerized seawater circulation system, teaching and analytical labs, and quarantine and culture rooms,” said Christopher Gobler, director of academic programs. “This hire comes at a perfect time.”