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Faculty & Staff Focus, Research, Science & Technology

Robert Twilley Named Executive Director of LSU-based Louisiana Sea Grant College Program

06/21/2012 12:02 PM

BATON ROUGE - Robert Twilley has been named executive director of the LSU-based Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, and will begin his duties in mid-August.

“It’s an honor to lead such a distinguished program,” said Twilley. “Louisiana Sea Grant has accomplished some extraordinary things, from responding to coastal stakeholder needs following devastating hurricanes and the recent oil spill in the Gulf to sponsoring innovative research and nurturing new scholars across the state. This truly is an exciting opportunity for me to continue my passion to promote solutions to living along coastal Louisiana.”

Twilley steps into the position following Chuck Wilson, who served as executive director of the LSU Sea Grant Program, and previously held the position of vice provost of academic affairs and various other administrative and academic titles over a 28-year career at LSU. Wilson currently serves as chief science officer of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI. To learn more about Wilson’s career and new position, visit

Twilley comes to Sea Grant from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he served as vice president for research for the past two years. He previously served as associate vice chancellor for research and economic development at LSU, where he also held the rank of professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, or DOCS.

“We are excited about the return of Professor Robert Twilley to LSU as executive director of the Louisiana Sea Grant College program and professor in DOCS,” said LSU Interim Vice Chancellor of Research & Economic Development Thomas Klei. “Robert is an exceptional scientist and has an outstanding reputation in costal studies research and work on environmental issues. Coastal issues are a priority area for LSU. Sea Grant has been and will continue to be an integral part of this effort.  The faculty and staff have an excellent reputation and play a major role linking coastal research to outreach and extension.  I am sure this will continue under Robert’s leadership.”

While at LSU, Twilley was involved in developing interdisciplinary programs – such as the Coastal Sustainability Studio – that integrate physical and social sciences with engineering to solve the complex problems of rebuilding coastal Louisiana. Twilley helped initiate a science program to support the Louisiana Coastal Area Program, or LCA, that served to authorize the Water Resource Development Authorization, or WRDA, to fund comprehensive coastal restoration projects, and he assisted with the development of both the state’s 2007 Master Plan for Coastal Protection and Restoration and the Louisiana Speaks planning document following Hurricane Katrina. He also was instrumental in organizing the science and engineering board that oversaw the 2012 master plan update.

Twilley is Louisiana Sea Grant’s third executive director during the program’s 44-year history. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and his doctorate in plant ecology and systems ecology from the University of Florida.  He completed his post doc in coastal oceanography at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies.

To learn more about the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, visit

About Louisiana Sea Grant College Program:

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at LSU, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 32 university-based programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.

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