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This profile was last updated on 8/28/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Brian Lapointe

Wrong Dr. Brian Lapointe?

Research Professor

Phone: (772) ***-****  HQ Phone
Email: b***@***.edu
Local Address: Fort Pierce, Florida, United States
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
5600 US Highway 1 North
Ft. Pierce, Florida 34946
United States

Company Description: Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution was founded in Ft. Pierce, Florida in 1971 to support the exploration and preservation of the world's oceans. Today it is...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member
    Reef Relief
  • Scientific Advisory Board Member
    Reef Relief
  • Member of the Board of Advisors
    Arthur Marshall Foundation
  • Science and Technology Committee Member
    Arthur Marshall Foundation


  • Palm Beach High School
  • Ph.D. , Marine Biology
    University of South Florida
  • BS , Biology
    Boston University
  • MS , Environmental Science
    University of Florida
197 Total References
Web References
ResearchChannel - News and Information, 14 Oct 2008 [cached]
Dr. Brian Lapointe, senior scientist at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, has monitored water quality issues and coral reef degradation at Looe Key, a coral reef in Key West, since the 1980s. He's been witness to devastating destruction over the years, including nutrient pollution, and the resulting harmful algal blooms and coral reef disease and death.
Fisheries & Ocean Environmental NewsPublic Eyes TV [cached]
"This is uncharted territory," says Harbor Branch marine ecologist Brian Lapointe, "no one has ever had the chance to study the impacts of natural phenomena like hurricanes on reefs under siege from these harmful algal blooms that we believe are triggered by humans."
For three decades now, Lapointe has been studying the harmful spread of macroalgae, or seaweed, on coral reefs throughout Florida and around the world.Besides smothering and killing coral itself, such harmful algal blooms (HABs) cover the food on which many fish rely, forcing them and their predators away, and HABs can fill ledges and crannies that attract lobster.
Ongoing funding from the Environmental Protection Agency that began in 2003 had allowed Lapointe and his team to study two isolated reefs off Palm Beach County that had become almost completely covered in lawns of an invasive, exotic alga called Caulerpa brachypus, among other species.This insidious alien is closely related to Caulerpa taxifolia, which has caused billions of dollars in damage since accidental introduction to the Mediterranean in 1989.South Florida dive operators have reported for years that overgrowth was so bad at some previously popular dive reefs that these locations were no longer worth visiting.
Lapointe believes based on past research that the spread of C. brachypus and other macroalgae species, in Florida and elsewhere, is largely driven by nutrient pollution from land-based sources.
Lapointe says that while the removal of macroalgae may be a welcome event for reefs, the reprieve is not likely to last.Small fragments of C. brachypus, for instance, have already been spotted and blooms could re-emerge as the environmental conditions that have fostered its spread and that of other troublesome species have not changed.
"This is a break, not a solution for the reefs," says Lapointe of the hurricanes' inadvertent macroalgae cleaning.
As buried and scoured reefs begin to recover, macroalgae problems could become even more pronounced, says Lapointe.Previous HABs have proceeded in competition with healthy reef populations.Now, scoured reefs have become nearly blank slates.
Additional information about Dr. Lapointe's research, including background material on macroalgae species, chemical signature studies, and pollution sources, as well as video of reefs before and after overgrowth, go to:
As the massive $8 billion Everglades restoration project increases the amount of water flowing into the bay, nitrogen in that water may kill coral, said Dr. Brian Lapointe, a scientist at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce.
The restoration is designed to clean up water passing through the region, and return some of the historic water flow to the Florida Bay.Though the project will filter pollutants from the water, the focus is largely on phosphorus, which scientists say poses the most serious threat to the Everglades.
But Lapointe said nitrogen, which comes from farm runoff, sewage and other places, is another culprit.Nitrogen feeds algae, causing it to burgeon and compete with coral, he said.That type of plant growth also clouds up the clear water that corals prefer.He said there have already been examples of this phenomenon in the Keys.
Between 1996 and 1999, after an increase in the flow of water into the bay, 38 percent of the living coral in the Keys died off, a problem Lapointe credited to "nitrogen overloading."Other pollutants were clearly in that water, but Lapointe said nitrogen caused an explosion in algae blooms, which led to the reef's demise.
The Keys reefs began to recover when officials decreased the water flow into the region in 1998, Lapointe said.
But as the amount of water flowing into the bay increases through the Everglades restoration, so will the amount of nitrogen reaching the area, and Lapointe said the reefs will again be in danger.
Board & Staff | Reef Relief, 31 Mar 2014 [cached]
Dr. Brian Lapointe, Research Professor, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
Please title this page. (board.html in summer98), 5 Nov 2009 [cached]
Dr. Brian Lapointe, President
Reef Relief - Coral Reef Conservation: Mission Statement, 5 Nov 2009 [cached]
Dr. Brian LaPointe, President - Brian has been involved in research on water quality in the Florida Keys for nearly twenty years. He is on the research staff of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and operates their laboratory on Big Pine Key. A specialist in eutrophication and algal impacts on coral reefs, Brian is recognized around the world for his expertise.
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