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


The floating brown seaweed Sargassum is a unique feature of the Gulf of Mexico, North Atlantic basin and Caribbean Sea. The recent mass strandings of Sargassum since 2011 have had a detrimental impact on the environment, including fish kills, dead zones and lost tourism opportunities.


Dr. Lapointe’s research in the late 1980s documented the connection between the growth of Sargassum to boundary current circulation between the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Stream, Sargasso Sea and Caribbean region. In nearshore waters, the growth of Sargassum is fueled by land-based nutrient runoff, especially near major river plumes.

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.