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Scott Santagata

Scott Santagata

Associate Professor of BiologyGraduate Adviser, Biology Department

B.S., University of Rhode IslandM.S., American UniversityPh.D., University of Southern California


  • Background: Scott Santagata is currently an Associate Professor of Biology at LIU-Post. Dr. Santagata received his Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Southern California. Before joining LIU-Post, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Marine Station and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
  • Research: Dr. Santagata’s research focuses on the evolution and ecology of invertebrate animals. Some of the work in his laboratory explores how the expression patterns of evolutionarily conserved transcription factors are modified in divergent forms of animal nervous systems. Publications from his laboratory have covered a wide variety of topics such as reproductive biology, neuromuscular anatomy, biogeography, invasive species, phylogeny, and metamorphosis. More recently, his laboratory has been gathering transcriptomic and genomic information from diverse species of Antarctic bryozoans (as well as using different kinds of microscopy techniques) to resolve their evolutionary relationships. One of the main goals of this NSF-funded research is to discern potential molecular adaptations in polar organisms. Over the last five years, bioinformatic workflows created through this research have been shared with the wider scientific community in a series of workshops.
  • Teaching: Dr. Santagata’s past and current teaching includes the following undergraduate and graduate courses: Biology 1 Lecture and Laboratory (Foundations of Biology), Biology 104 Laboratory, Biology 105 (Research Methods I), BIO 110 (Evolution), BIO 205 (Developmental Biology), BIO 240 (Advanced Microscopy), BIO 252 (Invertebrate Zoology); BIO 500 (Graduate Research Seminar), Biology 502 (Advanced Microscopy), Biology 528 (Developmental Biology), ATCG 628 (Human Development). Dr. Santagata also serves as a member of the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program Advisory Board.
  • Website:


Developmental Biology, Invertebrate Zoology, Molecular Phylogenetics, Invasive Species


  • Co-author, “Phoronid phylogenetics (Brachiopoda; Phoronata): evidence from morphological cladistics, small and large subunit rDNA sequences, and mitochondrial cox1,” published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
  • Author, “The Phoronida of the Gulf of Mexico,” published in “Gulf of Mexico--Origins, Waters, and Biota”
  • Lead and Corresponding Author, “The Brachiopoda of the Gulf of Mexico,” published in “Gulf of Mexico--Origins, Waters, and Biota” (2009)
  • Lead and Corresponding Author, “Concentrated sodium chloride brine solutions as an additional treatment for preventing the introduction of non-indigenous species in the ballast tanks of ships declaring No Ballast On Board,” published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (2009)
  • Author, “Evolutionary and structural diversification of the larval nervous system among marine bryozoans, published in Biological Bulletin (2008)
  • Lead and Corresponding Author, “Effect of osmotic shock as a management strategy to reduce transfers of nonindigenous species among low-salinity ports by ships,” published in Aquatic Invasions (2008)
  • Author, “The morphology and evolutionary significance of the ciliary fields and musculature among marine bryozoan larvae,” published in the Journal of Morphology (2008)
  • Co-author, “Characterization of source invertebrate populations and assessing salinity toxicity as a barrier to prevent transfers of high risk species to the Great Lakes in ballast tanks,” published in the final report for the project “Identifying, verifying, and establishing options for best management practices for NOBOB Vessels,” submitted to The Great Lakes Protection Fund by Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (2007)
  • Contributing Author, “What is metamorphosis?” published in Integrative and Comparative Biology (2006)
  • Author, “A waterborne behavioral cue for the actinotroch larvae of Phoronis pallida (Phoronida) produced by Upogebia pugettensis (Decapoda: Thalassinidea),” published in Biological Bulletin (2004)
  • Author, “The larval development of Phoronis pallida (Phoronida): implications for morphological convergence and divergence among larval body plans,” published in the Journal of Morphology (2004)
  • Author, “Structure and metamorphic remodeling of the larval nervous system and musculature of Phoronis pallida (Phoronida),” published in Evolution & Development (2002)
  • Lead and Corresponding Author, “Comparison of the neuromuscular systems among actinotroch larvae: systematic and evolutionary implications,” published in Evolution & Development (2002)
  • Lead and Corresponding Author, “Comparing cell patterns of coronate bryozoan larvae with fluorescent probes,” published in the Proceedings of the 11th International Bryozoology Association Conference (2000)
  • Co-author, “The origin of brooding in the Cheilostomata: Interpretive morphology of Scrupocellaria ferox,” published in Invertebrate Biology (1996)
  • Co-author, “A checklist of the cheilostome Bryozoa found at Chuuck, Micronesia,” published in Micronesia (1996)
  • Contributing author, “A setigerous collar in Membranipora chesapeakensis n.sp. (Bryozoa) - Implications for the evolution of cheilostomes from ctenostomes,” published in Invertebrate Biology (1995)


  • Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution (10/08-10/11)
    (Proposed research will be conducted at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Fla.)
  • Member, Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology