Kelly Darnell, University of Southern Mississippi I am an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Ocean Science and Engineering at The University of Southern Mississippi where I also hold the position of Director of the Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence. Previously, I was a Research Scientist at The Water Institute of the Gulf, a non-profit research institute in Baton Rouge, LA, and the Deputy Director of the RESTORE Act Center of Excellence for Louisiana. My experiences in academia and at a non-profit, and the research administration roles I’ve held have given me the broad perspective to represent the wide breadth of GERS members. I have also worked and/or lived in all five of the U.S. Gulf Coast States, and I appreciate the unique social and ecological aspects of each area, but also recognize the interconnectedness of the States as part of a larger functioning system. My research is an extension of this perspective and combines large-scale, regional studies with smaller scale projects to address biological and ecological questions in nearshore plant-dominated systems.
I would be honored to be President-Elect of GERS. I have been a member of GERS and CERF (ERF) since 2007, when I attended my first CERF conference as a graduate student. I have since served on the GERS Board as a Member-at-Large for two terms and chaired the fundraising committee for both the 2016 and 2018 GERS meetings, raising over $10,000 to help defray meeting expenses and support student travel. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the organization that has supported me throughout my career by promoting the support and training of students, creating opportunities for increased student involvement, encouraging active participation of members across all career stages, and, as President, proudly representing GERS on the CERF Governing Board as the GERS Affiliate Society Representative.
Student Representative: McDonald and Janelle Goeke
Janelle Goeke, Texas A&M University - Galveston I am a PhD Candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at Texas A&M University at Galveston. So far I’ve had the good fortune to participate in three biennial CERF conferences and the most recent GERS meeting. I’ve greatly enjoyed both the academic and social experience of all four meetings, and have been actively trying to get more involved in the organizations. Beyond CERF, I have attended seven conferences hosted by five different organizations in my first three years of graduate school. This has allowed me to see and experience a variety of meeting styles, and make connections in fields beyond the coastal and estuarine sciences. Additionally, I have served as the Vice-President and President of the Galveston Graduate Student Association, and have been on the planning committee for the EEB program’s Darwin Day event (an educational outreach event celebrating biodiversity that attracts over 300 people) for the past two years. These experiences have provided me with broad insight that will serve me well in planning the upcoming GERS 2020 meeting and broadcasting GERS and the work of its members to a broader audience. In exchange, I’m excited to learn more about what goes into the running of academic societies and events, as I plan to continue to be enthusiastically involved with both GERS and CERF as I move forward with my career.
Members At Large: Brian Roberts, Donna Devlin, Matthew Hoch, James Nelson
Brian Roberts, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium I am honored to be nominated for a Member-At-Large position on the GERS Board. I have over 20 years’ experience as an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist, with a focus in the Gulf of Mexico region since joining the faculty of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) in 2007. As LUMCON’s Associate Director of Science, I oversee our scientific faculty, science programs and usage of facilities, properties, and resources.
My research program spans across coastal, estuarine, and ocean systems with a broad focus on how human activities influence the ability of ecosystems to retain and transform carbon, nutrients, and energy and how restoration activities may help ameliorate some of these impacts. Current research focuses on topics including Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacts on coastal wetland biogeochemistry, plant ecology, and microbial ecology; controls on coastal hypoxia; ocean acidification; living shoreline coastal restoration; and how salinity alterations and marsh creation projects impact wetland food webs. I became an active member in CERF since attending my first meeting in 1997, have been personally involved in GERS meetings since moving to the Gulf (including organizing a career panel at the last meeting), and have stressed attendance by my students and postdocs. A favorite aspect of GERS is the friendly and supportive atmosphere it provides for students and early career scientists. This has also been a central mission of my career. I initiated and have served as the program director for LUMCON's NSF REU site since 2011. I was an original member of ASLO's Early Career Committee and have served on similar panels and committees for agencies and organizations. My goal as a Member-At-Large will be to continue building on the tremendous foundation and spirit of collaboration, network building and professional development that typifies GERS.
Donna Devlin, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi I am a research professor at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and research associate at the Smithsonian Marine Station. I am an ecologist/ecological geneticist and my work focuses on the link between global change and ecosystem function as saltmarsh and mangrove systems converge and the effects on population structure and biological interactions of these systems. Previously I was a coastal biologist and executive and legislative lobbyist for the State of Florida at the Center for Marine Conservation, now the Ocean Conservancy. GERS plays an important role transferring information facilitating communication among its members especially between academics, government agencies and land managers. As threats to estuarine systems increase, communication and effective transfer of research findings will become even more crucial. As a member at large, I will work to provide forums at meetings where scientists and managers to work together to solve problems. GERS role in supporting graduate and undergraduate students is pivotal in the development of students as confident scientists and leaders in the field of estuarine research. We provide a platform where students can network with academics, agency representatives and corporate interests. Students are encouraged to present in a constructive atmosphere. I gave my first talk as a graduate student at a GERS meeting and it was a very positive experience. I will work to increase GERS student membership and ensure that meetings are highly beneficial to students.