Dr. Paul W. Sammarco 2017-02-16T04:13:06+00:00


Dr.  Paul W. Sammarco

Mailing Address:
Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium
DeFelice Marine Center
8124 Highway 56
Chauvin, Louisiana 70344
Phone: 985-851-2876

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., 1977, Ecology and Evolution
    State University of New York at Stony Brook
  • B.A., 1970, Biology
    Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York

Research Interests

  • Larval dispersal and recruitment processes in corals, particularly as they pertain to the continuum from highly localized dispersal and recruitment to distant dispersal
  • Coral bleaching, adaptation / exaptation in scleractinian corals to bleaching, zooxanthellar evolution, prediction of bleaching via seawater temperature
  • Distribution and abundance of scleractinian corals in the northern Gulf of Mexico
  • Effects of oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico on biogenographic expansion of scleractinian corals there
  • Distribution and abundance of corals on toppled ‘Rigs-to-Reefs’ artificial reef structures in the northern Gulf of Mexico, using ROV’s
  • Reef regeneration processes, including coral and sea urchin population restoration procedures
  • Molecular genetics of scleractinian corals, particularly fine-scale population genetics using AFLP’s
  • Invasive species in the norther Gulf of Mexico
  • Effects of nutrient enrichment/phosphates on coral growth and density
  • Environmental bioindicators of coral reef ecosystem health
  • Environmental policy / science policy – using current scientific knowledge to mold present and future environmental policy

Current Projects

  • “Deep-Water Coral Distribution and Abundance on Active Offshore Oil and Gas Platforms and Decommissioned ‘Rigs-to-Reefs’ Platforms”, US Dept. Interior, Minerals Management Service
  • “Determining the Geographical Extent, Maximum Depth, and Genetic Affinities of Corals on Offshore Oil and Gas Platforms, northern Gulf of Mexico”, US Dept. Interior, Minerals Management Service


  • Coral Reef Ecology
  • Changes in Coastal Oceans
  • Scientific Writing
  • Identification of Caribbean Coral Spat

Research Group

    • Dan Beltz, Research Assistant
      • B.S., 2007, Aerospace Engineering
        Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL
    • Meredith McKoin, MS Candidate
      • B.S., 2013, Biological Sciences
        Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA


  • Sammarco, Paul 2010. Effects of Natural Gas Pipeline Condensate and Crude Oil spills, and Comments on Remediation, with emphasis on South Louisiana Salt Marshes[pdf]
  • Sammarco, P.W. (in press). Comments on climate change and global warming in a changing world: From indicators to action. Envtl. Bioindicators
  • Sammarco, P.W. and K.B. Strychar. 2009. Effects of Climate Change/Global Warming on Coral Reefs: Adaptation/Exaptation in Corals, Evolution in Zooxanthellae, and Biogeographic Shifts. Envtl. Bioindicators. 4(1): 9-45.[pdf]
  • Strychar, K.B. and P.W. Sammarco. (in press). Exaptation in the host coral Favites complanata (Ehrenberg, 1834; Scleractinia, Faviidae) to increased sea surface temperatures. Proc. 11th Int. Coral Reef Symp., Fort Lauderdale, FL.
  • Strychar, K.B. and P.W. Sammarco. (in press). Effects of elevated seawater temperatures on the photosynthetic pigments within three scleractinian corals, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.
  • McClanahan, T., O. Hoegh-Guldberg, R.W. Buddemeier, and P.W. Sammarco. 2008. Trajectory and predictions for coral reefs. In, N. Polunin (ed.), Proc. 5th Int. Conference on the Environment’s Future (ICEF), Zurich, Switzerland. EAWAG.
  • Sammarco, P.W., A.D. Atchison, D.A. Brazeau, G.S. Boland, S.B. Hartley, and A Lirette. 2008. Distribution, abundance, and genetics of corals throughout the N. Gulf of Mexico: The world’s largest coral settlement experiment. Proc. 11th Int. Coral Reef Symposium, Fort Lauderdale, FL, July 2008. Abstract.
  • Atchison, A.D., P.W. Sammarco, and D.A. Brazeau. 2008. Genetic connectivity in corals on the Flower Garden Banks and surrounding oil/gas platforms, Gulf of Mexico. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 365: 1-12.
  • Sammarco, P.W. 2008. Journal visibility, self-citation, and reference limits: Influences on impact factor and author performance review. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 8: 121-125, doi: 10.3354/esep00095.
  • Sammarco, P.W. 2008. Crises on coral reefs and in coral reef science in the 21st century: The need for a new peer-review system. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 8: 108-119.
  • Strychar, K.B. and P.W. Sammarco. 2008. Exaptation in corals to high temperatures: Low concentrations of apoptotic and necrotic cells in host coral tissue under bleaching conditions. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2008.10.021.
  • Sammarco, P.W., P. Hallock, J.C. Lang, and R.S. LeGore. 2008. Environmental bio-Indicators in coral reef ecosystems: The need to align research, monitoring, and environmental regulation. J. Envtl. Bioindicators 2: 35-46.