Dr. Frances Lucas, vice president and campus executive officer at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, has announced that Dr. Eric Powell will become the new director of the university’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs.
Powell is currently a professor at the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, located at the School of Environmental and Biological Science at Rutgers University. Previously serving as director of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory from 1996 through 2010, Powell will begin his role at GCRL this September.
“I am impressed by the diversity of the faculty and research ongoing at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory,” said Powell. “GCRL holds a long history of excellence in scientific research, teaching, and community service. I look forward to helping continue that tradition as director of the lab and am enthusiastic about becoming a member of the Ocean Springs community.”
A native of Millbach, Pa., Powell earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of North Carolina in 1976 and 1978, respectively. He earned his bachelor of science degree at the University of Washington.
Powell, who has conducted extensive research on most of the primary fields encompassed by marine science, has been involved in a number of multidisciplinary programs. His research interests includepaleoecology and taphonomy; population dynamics modeling; fisheries management; and the interaction of contaminants, parasites and pathologies in bivalve health.
“Southern Miss Gulf Coast is thrilled to have Dr. Powell lead our Gulf Coast Research Laboratory,” said Lucas. “He is an internationally renowned scientist who has worked closely with many prominent research organizations, including the National Science Foundation. He will be a great connector to the national research scene and we look forward to having him represent Southern Miss.”
Prior to his teaching and administrative roles at Rutgers University, Powell taught at Old Dominion University and Texas A&M University. He has served on numerous committees and boards throughout his career, as well as contributing to over 200 publications. He founded the Partnership for Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Science, which focuses on fisheries issues, and he also developed the first modern reference-point based management system for the U.S. oyster industry.
Powell will replace Dr. Bill Hawkins, who was appointed director in March 2008 and retired June 2011. In addition to broadening research and academic opportunities, Hawkins led the GCRL’s expansion, which now includes 16 buildings at the lab’s 224-acre Cedar Point expansion site in Ocean Springs.
“I anticipate strong and productive partnerships at GCRL as, together, we build upon this record of excellence and meet the challenges facing Mississippi and the Gulf Coast region,” said Powell.