New CONCORDE publication!

Check out the November issue of Fisheries Oceanography to learn about some of the latest work the Hernandez Lab has participated in as part of the  CONCORDE consortium on the fascinating interactions between lobster phyllosoma and jellies!

Greer, A.T., C. Briseño-Avena, A.L. Deary, F.J. Hernandez, R.K. Cowen, W.M. Graham (2017) Associations between lobster phyllosoma and gelatinous zooplankton in relation to oceanographic properties in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Fisheries Oceanography, 26(6): 693-704, doi: 10.11111/fog.12228


Larval Fish Lab’s Olivia Lestrade wins scholarship from Air and Waste Management!

IMG_0217Congratulations to our very own Olivia Lestrade who is one of the winners of two $1,500 scholarships sponsored by the Mississippi Chapter of Air & Waste Management Association. Olivia started this fall as a graduate student in the Fisheries Oceanography and Ecology lab studying the association of microplastics and juvenile fishes within and outside of sargassum features. She recently attended the Air & Waste Management Association Southern Section meeting in Nashville, TN where she accepted her scholarship and presented her future research.

Pictured above, left to right: Dallas Baker (MS director of the Southern Section of Air & Waste Management Assoc.), Olivia Lestrade (the University of Southern Mississippi scholarship winner), Laura Wilson (Mississippi State scholarship winner), Scott Freeburn (President of the Air & Waste Management Assoc.)

The Fisheries Oceanography and Ecology Lab is awarded a new GoMRI research grant

We are very pleased to announce that the Fisheries Oceanography and Ecology Lab is leading one of 23 small research teams recently awarded funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. This project, Deep-Pelagic Plankton Communities of the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Tropic Ecology, Assemblage Dynamics, and Connectivity with the Upper Ocean, is a collaborative research effort between the University of Southern Mississippi (Frank Hernandez, Kevin Dillon), the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Kelly Robinson), and Oregon State  University (Jim Ruzicka). The overall goal is to address major knowledge gaps for the Gulf of Mexico by describing the community structure and trophic ecology of deep-pelagic plankton assemblages, and their connectivity with the upper ocean.


For more information, visit our Research page for a project description.


Photo courtesy of Deepwater Horizon Plankton Assessment Archive.

The Fisheries Oceanography and Ecology Lab is very excited to welcome two new graduate students to the lab this fall!

Welcome aboard, Olivia Lestrade and Courtney Stachowiak!


Olivia has been a member of the Hernandez Lab since 2014 but has been accepted to the graduate program to study juvenile fishes associated with Sargassum and ingestion of microplastics. Olivia received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and participated in a summer internship with the Fisheries Oceanography and Ecology Lab. After some time away completing an internship at Institute of Marine Mammal Studies, Olivia returned to the Gulf Coast Research Lab and has become an essential team member of the Hernandez Lab!




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Courtney graduated from the University of Florida where she completed her bachelor’s degree in 2016 with an undergraduate thesis studying the influence of competition and predation on success of an insect biological control agent on hydrilla. She recently spent the summer as an intern working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fisheries-Independent Monitoring program. We are excited to have Courtney join the Hernandez Lab as we begin our work evaluating the importance of pelagic Sargassum to fisheries management in the Gulf of Mexico!

The Fisheries Oceanography and Ecology Lab receives NOAA RESTORE Award!


We are very pleased to announce that the Fisheries Oceanography and Ecology Lab is one of the 15 teams awarded funding from the NOAA RESTORE Science Program! This project, Linking habitat to recruitment: evaluating the importance of pelagic Sargassum to fisheries management in the Gulf of Mexico, includes four, 9-day research cruises aboard the University of Southern Mississippi’s R/V Point Sur, one of which we have already completed with great success. (So, please stay tuned to see updates from our exciting 2017 field campaign!) On these cruises, we will sample Sargassum, a holopelagic brown algae complex to evaluate its nursery function and fisheries importance. We are very excited to collaborate with colleagues Dr. Chuanmin Hu (University of South Florida), Dr. Kevin Dillon (University of Southern Mississippi), and Glenn Zapfe and Dr. Walter Ingram (NOAA Fisheries) and we look forward to this new and exciting research!

Please see the announcement here!

New CONCORDE publication

Learn about some of the newest work the Hernandez Lab has participated in as part of the CONCORDE consortium.

Dzwonkowski, B., A. Greer, C. Briseno-Aveno, J. Krause, I. Soto Ramos, F. Hernandez, A. Deary, J. Wiggert, D. Joung, P. Fizpatrick, S. O’Brien*, S. Dykstra*, Y. Lau, M. Cambazoglu, G. Lockridge*, S. Howden, A. Shiller, and W.M. Graham (2017) Influence of estuarine-exchange on the coupled bio-physical water column structure during the fall season on the Alabama shelf, Continental Shelf Research. 140(15), 96-109.