Martin Schoonen oversees a staff of 52 and administers an annual budget of approximately $15 million. Research within the Environmental Sciences Department (ESD) focuses on atmospheric physics and chemistry and carbon cycle science related to climate change. Home to the Tracer Technology Center, ESD operates a network of solar irradiance and meteorological instruments for performance evaluation and modeling of the influence of clouds on solar energy production. Departmental goals also include increasing understanding of the impacts of global change on managed and unmanaged ecosystems and improving knowledge of possible global change mitigation approaches.
Schoonen's research areas include environmental molecular chemistry, geocatalysis, medical geology, and astrobiology. An expert in synthesis, surface chemistry, and geochemistry of metal sulfides, in particular iron sulfides, his applied research efforts have included geologic sequestration of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide (CO2), development of mineral-based photocatalysts, and development of acid mine drainage abatement technology. His current research projects focus on the role of iron minerals in subsurface CO2 sequestration, the use of metal sulfides as catalysts to degrade organic pollutants, and the role of mineral dust in the onset of lung ailments in US servicemen and women stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While serving as Associate Vice President for Research at Stony Brook University, Schoonen's primary responsibility was to evaluate large multidisciplinary research opportunities, form and lead teams, align institutional resources, and coordinate writing and submission of competitive proposals. He played a key role in the development of the proposal leading to the establishment of the Center for Environmental Molecular Science at Stony Brook and Brookhaven Lab.
Schoonen earned a Ph.D. in geochemistry and mineralogy from Pennsylvania State University in 1989, a Doctoraal (equivalent to M.S.) from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, in 1984 with a double major in geochemistry as well as physical and colloid chemistry, and Kandidaats (equivalent to B.S.) in Geochemistry, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, January 1981. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Geological Society, and the International Medical Geology Association. .