Jennifer is a coastal ecologist working as the Education Coordinator for the Department of Marine Resources’ (DMR) Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Jennifer received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biology with emphases in animal behavior and ecology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Jennifer has worked mostly for the DMR since 1984 and the Reserve specifically since 1999. During her time at the DMR, she has worked in the fields of fisheries and coastal management, emergency response and environmental education. She resides with her biologist husband and two daughters in Long Beach, MS.
Ron is the site operator for the Grand Bay NERR’s mercury monitoring program which is part of the larger National Atmospheric Deposition Program. This project is funded in part by NOAA and the data collected is used to model trends in mercury levels throughout the environment. Ron also assists in various other research projects including a quarterly juvenile fish monitoring project that aims at establishing long-term data sets that can be used to gauge the impacts of events such as the 2010 Gulf oil spill on the fisheries of the Grand Bay estuary.
Kim is experienced in analyzing the water quality of both freshwater and coastal ecosystems. At Grand Bay NERR, she coordinates sampling for the System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP). Through SWMP, the nation’s 28 NERRs each use the same standard protocols to collect water quality, nutrient, and meteorological data. This allows consistently high-quality data to be accumulated over long periods of time, compared within and across regions, and used to inform coastal resource management decisions.
Brenna leads a project funded by the EPA which focuses on watershed development and its effects on estuarine environments. Brenna conducts extensive field sampling in three bayous which vary in the level of human impact, two of which are located within the NERR. A major portion of the project seeks to assess water quality and water column nutrient levels in relation to watershed development. In addition to water quality studies, Brenna also samples biological resources such as fish, oysters, and submerged aquatic vegetation to better understand how human development affects the health of these important resources.
Coastal Training Program Coordinator
Larissa has been working with various groups of stakeholders for the past ten years. As the CTP Coordinator, Larissa organizes and administers various trainings and workshops to provide coastal decision-makers with the knowledge and tools they need to address critical resource management issues that are of concern to local communities. The primary audiences for these trainings are local officials and staff, natural resource managers, and coastal scientists who work in coastal Mississippi.
Stewardship Associate – Natural Resource Specialist
As part of the Stewardship Sector, Jay coordinates and assists with research and stewardship efforts at the Grand Bay NERR. His duties also include integrating with university researchers and government agencies on a variety of natural resource management projects. Prescribed fire and invasive species control are among the top of his resource management interests. Some of Jay’s other research and personal interests include: submerged aquatic vegetation monitoring, a dendrochronological study of local pine savannas and flatwoods, wildlife and landscape photography, and music.
ECSC Site Coordinator
Christina is the Grand Bay Site Coordinator for the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC). The ECSC works to increase the number of minority students involved in the NOAA related sciences and engages students in site-based research and management. Through her activities with the ECSC, Christina supports student and faculty activities and collaborates on research projects related to ecological processes, ecotoxicology, remote sensing/GIS, and conceptual ecosystem modeling. Christina’s research interests are focused on studying the ecology and conservation of diamondback terrapins in southeastern Mississippi and the Florida Keys.
Education Specialist K-12
The education specialist K-12 works with other staff members to design and implement programs that address current coastal issues on the school level from kindergarten to twelfth grade. I coordinate with the education coordinator to prioritize a list of topics that can be developed into teacher workshops and activities for students encouraging stewardship and knowledge of our diverse coastal habitats. I make a concerted effort to collaborate with other sector staff at Grand Bay NERR and partners such as: DMR, NOAA, USFWS, MEC and other agencies. Ultimately, my goal is to inspire future generations to become good and knowledgeable stewards of our fragile coastal environments.
Dave was instrumental in coordinating efforts to establish a research reserve in Mississippi during the mid-1990’s and has served as Manager since 2003. As manager, Dave works to provide staff support to help them work effectively, spending most of his time dealing with grants, reports, fiscal oversight and staff coordination. Dave helped oversee the construction of the new Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center. Since 2005, Dave has helped lead the reserve through three defining incidents: a major chemical spill, Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Dave relishes opportunities to learn more about the intricacies of Grand Bay and to share that information with others.
Teresa is responsible for grants administration, purchasing, inventory and facilities reservations.
Our building manager, a retired Air Force officer, is responsible for maintaining all equipment pertaining to the Coastal Resources Center including heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical. Growing up in a small, South Dakota farming community has made Tom capable of maintaining and repairing most equipment, vehicles, and boats. He enjoys fishing and doing anything outdoors.
Stewardship Coordinator/Wildlife Biologist
As the stewardship coordinator, Will directs the wise use and management of land resources within the boundaries of the Reserve. He is responsible for long term monitoring of resources, land acquisition activities, as well as restoration of degraded habitats. He has a background in wildlife biology and advocates for the return of prescribed fire to Reserve properties. Will has a strong interest in the natural history of the habitats of the Southeastern U.S. and enjoys botanizing and photographing plants in the various habitats represented on the Reserve.
Mark is a research biologist at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center and serves as the Research Coordinator at the Grand Bay NERR. Trained as an ornithologist, he is currently studying ecology of tidal marsh birds. In addition, his collaborative research efforts focus on human impacts on coastal habitats, the effects of global climate change on coastal plants and animals, ecosystem effects of mercury, and the role of terrestrial vertebrates in tidal marshes. Ultimately, Mark’s goal is to better understand coastal ecosystems to allow natural resource managers to make more informed conservation decisions.