Mercer R. Brugler

Doctoral Candidate
Graduate Program in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology
Department of Biology - UL Lafayette

Office: Billeaud Hall 216
Phone: (337) 482-6494
mrbrugler -at -yahoo dot -com

All anthozoans studied to date have shown low levels of variation in the mitochondrial genome, but little comparative work has been done in the black corals (Order Antipatharia). My research involves an examination of variability of mitochondrial and nuclear genes of black corals. Patterns of variability will be assessed at two levels: i) by sampling species from all known families, and ii) by surveying populations of the Hawaiian black coral Antipathes dichotoma. The goal is to generate markers that can be used in a phylogenetic analysis of the order and for population studies.


B.S. in Marine Science/Biology, University of Miami, Florida
M.S. in Marine Biology, College of Charleston

A deep-sea black coral (Bathypathes sp. ) on the New England Seamounts, western North Atlantic (Photo courtesy of the Deep Atlantic Stepping Stones Science Party, IFE, URI-IAO, and NOAA).

  • Publications

Wagner, D., M.R. Brugler, D.M. Opresko, S.C. France, A.D. Montgomery and R. Toonen. 2010. Using morphometrics, in situ observations and genetic characters to distinguish amongst commercially valuable Hawaiian black coral species; a redescription of Antipathes grandis Verrill, 1928 (Antipatharia: Antipathidae) Invertebrate Systematics 24: 271-290 (doi:10.1071/IS10004)

van der Ham, J.L., M.R. Brugler and S.C. France. 2009. Exploring the utility of an indel-rich, mitochondrial intergenic region as a molecular barcode for bamboo corals (Octocorallia: Isididae) Marine Genomics 2: 183-192 (

Thoma, J.N., E. Pante, M.R. Brugler and S.C. France. 2009. Deep-sea octocorals and antipatharians show no evidence of seamount-scale endemism in the NW Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series 397: 25-35 (

Brugler, M.R. and S.C. France. 2008. The mitochondrial genome of a deep-sea bamboo coral (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Octocorallia, Isididae): genome structure and putative origins of replication are not conserved among octocorals. Journal of Molecular Evolution 67:125-136 (

Brugler, M.R. and S.C. France. 2007. The complete mitochondrial genome of the black coral Chrysopathes formosa (Cnidaria:Anthozoa:Antipatharia) supports classification of antipatharians within the subclass Hexacorallia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42: 776-788 (

Daly, M., M.R. Brugler, P. Cartwright, A.G. Collins, M.N. Dawson, S.C. France, C.S. McFadden, D.M. Opresko, E. Rodriguez, S. Romano, J. Stake. 2007. The phylum Cnidaria: A review of phylogenetic patterns and diversity 300 years after Linnaeus. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. & Shear, W.A. (Eds) (2007) Linnaeus Tercentenary: Progress in Invertebrate Taxonomy. Zootaxa 1668: 127-182 (open access pdf)