COAST's interdisciplinary team focuses on science of managing of our threatened coastal and marine ecosystems.

Water Quality

Dr. Lapointe's research was pivotal in influencing governmental agencies in Florida, the United States, the Caribbean and worldwide. Decades of distinguished research pioneered a new understanding of how natural and human factors impact the coastal environment, especially critically important marine habitats such as seagrasses and coral reefs. Among other contributions to science, Lapointe's discoveries found that excessive land-based nutrients from urban and agricultural areas is a common factor in troubled coral reefs, seagrasses and harmful algal blooms, such as red tides. Shedding light on the cause resulted in real change to mitigate the effect.


In the late 1990s, a central sewer system was mandated in Monroe County, Florida after Lapointe identified septic tanks as the culprit endangering seagrasses and coral reefs in the Florida Keys. His research also linked invasive green seaweed blooms to wastewater and stormwater discharges on coral reefs between Miami and Palm Beach County.

Focus on Science

COAST does not make political statements. While our research is often quoted by people on both sides of controversial issues, our allegiance is to science. COAST's reputation and ethics will not be compromised by making political statements. In an era when politics often interferes with solving environmental problems, our role is to provide an impartial voice that advocates for sound science. The answer to our problems is found in looking at evidence -- cause and effect -- to uncover what nature is telling us. As a result of this stance, community leaders and decision-makers often seek our input to make crucial water quality improvements.