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Dr. Loren D. Coen

Photo provided by Dr. Coen

Institution(s) / Organization(s):
Florida Atlantic University (FAU)
FAU, HBOI, and Dept. of Biological Sci.; FGCU, Coastal Watershed Institute; College of Charleston, Grice Marine Lab; National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Marine Station

Dr. Coen is a Research Professor at the affiliated with the Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, Harbor Branch Campus, The Smithsonian NMNH through its Marine Station, the Florida Gulf Coast University's Coastal Watershed Institute and the College of Charleston.

Previously he was Director of the SCCF Marine Laboratory from 2007 to 2011 and helped to deploy its RECON real-time observing system deployed from near Lake O. to the Gulf of Mexico.

Prior to that, from 1993-2007, he was a Senior Marine Scientist at SC DNR’s Marine Resources Research Institute (MRRI) where he managed the Shellfish Research Section (staff of 10-12) in Charleston, South Carolina at Fort Johnson Marine Science Center. Prior positions have included the Dept. of Biological Sciences at USF in Tampa, an NSF-Post-Doc in Alabama at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab under Professor Kenneth Heck, and appointments at University of South Alabama, the College of Charleston, the University of South Carolina and Clemson University.

Loren has received grants from numerous local, state, federal and private foundations, including the National Science Foundation, National and SC Sea Grants, USF&W Service, NOAA’s Community Restoration Program, NOAA-UNH’s Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), FishAmerica, and the EPA, among others. He has served on numerous panels and technical advisory committees from EPA, Sea Grant, Hudson River Foundation and NOAA, among others.

Past research has included seagrass work in the Gulf of Mexico, coral reef ecology in Belize working with the Smithsonian Institution, restoration ecology of intertidal oyster reef habitats including novel ways to assess and gauge their success or failure, work on the ecological value of estuarine habitats as nurseries for various species, evaluation of the effects of hard clam mariculture on surrounding inshore communities, assessing non-native species introductions in SC waters, mapping and remote sensing of intertidal habitats, impact of boat wakes and waves on tidal creek habitats and shellfish disease dynamics (MSX and Dermo).

In 2001 new directions for that SC group included the SC Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Program (SCORE) involving hands on community restoration and monitoring of oyster habitats, having involved over 1,500 volunteers, who together constructed over 120 reefs at 35 sites using >400 tons of shell and other materials. That program also initiated SCDNR’s shell recycling program along the coast, a flagship effort for other coastal states.

Coen, L.D., and R. Grizzle (ASMFC) 2007. The Importance of Habitat Created by Shellfish and Shell Beds Along the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. 106pp.

Recently Loren has been a member of the Science Team for TNC’s international initiative called “Shellfish Reefs at Risk”, a global assessment of reef-forming shellfish – primarily oysters and mussel species – with the goal of documenting for the first time their distribution, condition, and the threats they face across the planet. The data collected through the effort will be compiled and synthesized in a “Shellfish Reefs at Risk” report to be published in 2009 by TNC and a related paper in BioScience (see Beck, M.W., R.D. Brumbaugh, L. Airoldi, A. Carranza, L.D. Coen, C. Crawford, O. Defeo, G.J. Edgar, B. Hancock., M.C. Kay, H.S. Lenihan, M.W. Luckenbach, C.L. Toropova, G. Zhang, and X. Guo, 2011. Oyster reefs at risk and recommendations for conservation, restoration and management. BioScience 61:107–116).

A follow on paper focused on US oyster populations came out in 2012 (see zu Ermgassen, P.S.E., M.D. Spalding, P.Banks, B. Blake, L. Coen, B. Dumbauld, S. Geiger, J.H. Grabowski, R. Grizzle, M. Luckenbach, K. McGraw, B. Rodney, J. Ruesink, S. Powers, and R. Brumbaugh, 2012. Historical ecology with real numbers: Past and present extent and biomass of an imperilled estuarine ecosystem. Proc. Royal Acad. Lond., B. 279 (1742):3393-3400).

Current research in Florida, NY, SC and elsewhere includes work on shellfish habitat mapping and descriptors, oyster restoration, including reef restoration and sampling within swashes in SC tidal creeks.

Current publishing efforts include monitoring of oyster habitats, synthesis work on oyster restoration, and marine habitat restoration, and impacts of ocean acidification and related monitoring on shell budgets and restoration.

- 2004, Coastal America Partnership Award for SCORE Oyster Restoration Program.
- 2004, Theodore M. Sperry Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration’s (SER) for Restoration.
- 2007, NOAA Restoration Center Excellence in Restoration Award in March 2007, presented at FWRI where he gave the keynote address.

GoMRI funded project:
-The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Assessing Impacts on a Critical Habitat, Oyster Reefs and Associated Species in Florida Gulf Estuaries

Ph.D., Department of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, U.S.A., 1987

M.S., Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A., 1979

B.A., Biology, Queens College, City University of New York, New York, U.S.A., 1976

Area of Expertise / Interest:
Ecology; Fisheries; Population Biology; Environmental Science; Coastal Development; Ecological Indicators; Habitat Loss; Invasive Species; Overfishing and Bycatch; Pollution; Restoration; Geographic Information Science (GIS); Biological Oceanography

Preferred Language:   English

Mailing Address:
c/o 16007 Waterleaf Lane
Ft. Myers, FL 33908
Telephone: +1 239-470-2236

Home Page URL:

Links to Projects or Publications:
FAU's HBOI Res. Prof.
Info on the Oyster Restoration Working Group
FGCU's Coastal Watershed Institute
SC Oyster Restoration Enhancement
College of Charleston's Grice Marine Lab

Keywords:   Oysters, Habitat value, Restoration, Observing systems, Water quality, Invertebrate ecology and functional morphology, especially of decapods, Community restoration efforts, Remote sensing of shellfish habitats and related monitoring, GoMRI, DWH Oil Spill

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