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

Harmful Algal Blooms

Harmful algal blooms have increased globally as a consequence of increased nutrient pollution. Dr. Lapointe has worked with research teams for three decades in multiple countries to study this issue. The cause of algal blooms in the Indian River Lagoon is a main focus of his research efforts. The research aims to identify the cause of algae blooms in the greater Everglades ecosystem, and specifically the harmful blooms in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.


Measuring nitrogen isotopes in algal blooms along the Indian River Lagoon revealed the presence of nitrogen specifically identified as originating from wastewater, including septic tanks. These nutrients appeared in high levels in algae blooms around areas with high densities of septic tanks. The research continues to shed new light on the causes of the algal blooms and to find a cure for the blooms.

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.