Field of Focus
  • Ecology
  • Natural and Man-Made Hazard Mitigation
  • Population Biology
  • Stratigraphy and Paleontology
  • Environmental Science
  • Coastal Development
  • Ecological Indicators
  • Endangered Species
  • Habitat Loss
  • Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Invasive Species
  • Pollution
  • Restoration
  • Sustainable Development
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS)
  • Biological Oceanography
  • Marine Geology and Geophysics
  • Decision, Risk and Management Science
  • B.S. Geology, Marine Science, State University of New York, Oswego, NY, USA
  • M.S. Earth Science, Adelphi University,NY, USA
  • M.A. Marine Geology and Geophysics, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA

William Precht is a carbonate sedimentologist by training and has been studying coral reefs since 1978. He was first introduced to coral reefs at Discovery Bay Marine Lab in Jamaica as an undergraduate student and has been working there ever since. His research areas include the Bahamas, Belize, Bocas Del Toro in Panama, the Florida Keys, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Jamaica, Moorea in French Polynesia, Mexico and Vieques in Puerto Rico. From 2002-2008 he was the Chief Scientist on a joint contract with the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), performing the long-term reef monitoring at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico.

His research interests include combining ecological and geological methodologies to decipher "change" in reef communities through time and space. Using this integrated approach, he (with collaborators Richard B. Aronson and Ian MacIntyre) has been able to assess the geological and ecological novelty of many of the recent maladies affecting Caribbean coral reefs. This includes deciphering local anthropogenic signals from overarching global effects. Specific research has included the effects of coral disease and coral bleaching on the trajectories of reef coral communities.

Since completing his graduate degree in Marine Geology and Geophysics from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Mr. Precht has specialized in the restoration and rehabilitation of various coastal resources, especially coral reef, seagrass and mangrove systems. Currently, Mr. Precht is the Program Manager of the Damage Assessment, Restoration, and Resource Protection Program (DARRP) for NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) where he is developing cutting edge assessment and restoration strategies for reefs affected by various anthropogenic sources including ship-groundings. The FKNMS-DARRP team responds to hundreds of vessel groundings within the Sanctuary annually. He is based out of Key Largo, FL.

In addition to his regular responsibilities with the FKNMS, Mr. Precht maintains status as a Visiting Research Scientist with the Smithsonian Institution's Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Program in Belize and as an Adjunct Faculty to Northeastern University's East/West Marine Science Program where he teaches a course in coral reef ecology and geology every winter quarter. To date, he has published over 225 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and abstracts and has presented over 100 invited lectures to universities, professional societies and organizations. In 2006 he completed the first-ever book on coral reef restoration, entitled "Coral Reef Restoration Handbook" published by CRC Press of Boca Raton, Florida.