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Hendon Named Director of USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Wed, 01/06/2021 - 15:00pm | By: Van Arnold

Dr. Joseph R. (Read) HendonDr. Joseph R. (Read) Hendon, longtime marine researcher at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), has been appointed Director of the University’s renowned Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL).

Hendon has been a research scientist at USM for the past 22 years, serving most of that time in a variety of roles with the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, including as its director. He has most recently served as GCRL Associate Director.

“I am excited to be promoted to this position and certainly honored to be entrusted with this responsibility by University administration,” said Hendon.

The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is a marine and coastal research and education enterprise occupying 275 acres at two locations in Ocean Springs, Miss. Research at GCRL is multidisciplinary and applications-oriented with a focus on sustainable and productive coastal marine resources, development of new marine technologies, and the education of future scientists and citizens. Education opportunities span graduate degree programs in coastal sciences, undergraduate field courses in marine biology and hands-on discovery programs for students and teachers.

Dr. Kelly Lucas, Associate Vice President for Research, Coastal Operations, notes that Hendon’s research expertise, management and leadership have long been vital assets to GCRL and USM.

“As we continue to advance our research and align our coastal operations programming, Dr. Hendon will play a prominent role as the Director of GCRL in expanding research and educational opportunities that support our coastal future,” said Lucas.

Hendon says two primary responsibilities directly impact his role as GCRL Director: directing the day-to-day operations of GCRL and coordinating research activities for GCRL’s mission-based units.

“In the first, I am fortunate to have an excellent management team in place for this very broad task,” he said. “The second role encompasses not only internal organization to ensure effective collaborative, within both GCRL and the broader University research community, but also coordination with our state and federal partners so that they have a good understanding of our capabilities and scientific resources.”

Designated as the State of Mississippi’s marine laboratory, GCRL has been committed to researching the Gulf Coast’s dynamic coastal ecosystem for more than 70 years. A huge part of that mission is to evaluate how society interacts with the marine environment.

Hendon points out that GCRL provides USM a unique gateway to the Gulf Coast and Gulf of Mexico, in terms of understanding the region’s natural resources, while educating students and the general public.

“No other university in Mississippi can boast its own marine laboratory,” said Hendon. “GCRL is also one of the largest marine laboratories on the Gulf of Mexico. The breadth of our research, which literally spans from genetics to whale sharks to entire ecosystems, is unsurpassed.”

A native of Jackson, Miss., Hendon earned his undergraduate degree from USM (1996); his master’s degree from USM (1998) and his doctorate from USM (2013).