By Sarah Wung
Dr. Stephen Tettelbach has been a professor of biology at LIU Post for 13 years. He previously taught at LIU Southampton for 19 years until that campus closed.
Since working at Post, Tettelbach has published 11 scientific papers, nine papers on bay scallops—two of which are on
reproduction, two on ecology of juvenile scallops, and five on restoration; and two papers on clams—one on reproduction and one on behavior. His two favorite papers described the huge increase in scallop populations and fishery landings that resulted from scallop restoration work. “Aspiring to an altered stable state: rebuilding of bay scallop populations and fisheries following intensive restoration,” one of the two papers, was published in 2015 in “Marine Ecology Progress Series” 529:121-136.
He was the co-leader of the most successful bay scallop restoration effort in the United States, in Orient Harbor, near the tip of the north fork of Long Island. “We have done free-plantings in the same bay, plus other bays and harbors in the Peconic Bay system,” Tettelbach said. Part of a $2.3-million Suffolk County-funded project put together by LIU and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, the effort has, within five years, placed nearly five million scallops in East End waters, according to a 2010 Newsday report.
Tettelbach is also involved in the National Shellfisheries Association. He was treasurer for three years, then vice president for one year, president-elect for one year and then president for one year.
Although he is no longer an officer of the association, he has been a continuing member for forty years.
During his time as a professor, Tettelbach had helped obtain over $5 million in externally funded grants. He received the David Newton Teaching Award, the highest teaching award at LIU, while he taught at the Southampton campus.
Tettelbach enjoys his position as a professor, but it wasn’t always his dream to teach. He did not want to be a professor until he taught his first class after receiving his Ph.D. “That first class was an epiphany for me – I found my calling,” he said.
The obstacles and challenges he has faced are far outweighed by the benefits of teaching. His goal is to make sure his students are engaged and interested in the material. “I try to convey my sincere enthusiasm for the subjects I teach to my students. I keep my classes informal and try to make learning fun. When I teach labs, I get students outdoors as much as possible so they can experience things first hand,” Tettelbach stated.
He enjoys working with college students and treats his students like adults. “Working with college students, I think has helped keep me young at heart,” Tettelbach said. An outdoors person who enjoys spending time on boats or scuba diving, he finds that teaching students about biology also keeps him connected with nature.