GERS 2021 Candidates


Charlie Martin

Charlie is a faculty member at the University of Florida, stationed full time at the Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key, Florida. He received his BS in Biology and PhD from the University of South Alabama. Working through the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, his dissertation work focused on the effects of estuarine invaders in Mobile Bay, AL. More recently, he served as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Louisiana State University studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coastal flora and fauna before joining the University of Florida in 2016. Dr. Martin’s research involves examining how biotic processes and anthropogenic activities influence the structure and function of estuarine ecosystems. His broad research program experimentally assesses how factors such as climate change, invasive species, oil spills, trophic interactions, loss of biodiversity, and hydrology affect Gulf of Mexico ecosystems and their restoration. Dr. Martin has over 2 decades of experience working in Gulf estuaries, serves editorial roles at multiple journals, and has written numerous funded proposals peer-reviewed publications on the ecology of estuaries, in addition to being a 2-time winner of the FloraBama Mullet Toss (which he claims is his greatest accomplishment). 


Padmanava Dash

Prof. Padmanava Dash is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University. His broad research interests include investigating the conditions under which water quality issues develop, assessing their ecological impacts, and developing visualizations for their management and mitigation. He has particular expertise in remote sensing and water biogeochemistry. He received his Ph.D. in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University working on Louisiana’s estuaries, bays, and the northern Gulf of Mexico. His research includes field, laboratory, unmanned aerial systems, and satellite remote sensing approaches to study harmful algal blooms, suspended sediments, colored dissolved organic matter, acidification, pathogens, nutrients, toxic elements and heavy metals to enhance the current state of knowledge on detection and mapping of water quality parameters and thus support state and coastal community efforts to manage human health and fisheries. He is working on several projects now involving coastal Mississippi and northern Gulf of Mexico. He has been a CERF member since 2015 and he would like to get involved with GERS to represent the full spectrum of the interests of the membership, serve on committees and perform special duties as needed for GERS, and serve as informal liaison between GERS and the greater scientific community of the Gulf of Mexico region.

Brian Roberts

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; impacts of dredging on sand shoal productivity and food webs; controls on local to national scale wetland methane fluxes; 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, and have stressed attendance by my students and postdocs. My 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. I have served as Member-At-Large for GERS since 2019 helping to organize and run our 2020 virtual conference and look forward to having the opportunity to continue building on the tremendous foundation and spirit of collaboration, network building and professional development that typifies GERS over the next two years.

Benjamin Walther

Benjamin Walther is an Associate Professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.  His research interests focus on the movement, habitat use and responses to environmental stressors of fishes in estuarine and coastal ecosystems using a suite of geochemical tracer techniques including otolith chemistry and tissue isotopes.  The majority of his work is conducted in the northern Gulf of Mexico, but he conducts comparative and collaborative research in comparative systems worldwide.  

He has been a member of CERF and GERS since 2009 and has been heavily involved in the development and planning of the society’s biannual meetings.  He served as Workshops co-Chair for the 2019 CERF meeting in Mobile, Alabama, and is currently a co-Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the 2021 CERF meeting to be held virtually.  He is excited to get more involved in the GERS Affiliate and represent the interests and aspirations of GERS members.  He is particularly interested in expanding involvement and representation of students and underrepresented demographic groups at the affiliate and national society levels.

Patrick Larkin

Patrick Larkin is an associate professor in the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Originally from Iowa, he has both a BS (Univ. of Iowa) and PhD (Texas A&M) in Biochemistry. His research interests are in the genetics and biochemistry of seagrasses, especially as they pertain to conservation. An active member of the Texas Seagrass Monitoring Working Group, he’s also previously served as treasurer, vice-president, and president of the South Texas Local Chapter of the American Chemical Society.

Stephanie Archer

Stephanie Archer completed her PhD at North Carolina State University where she studied how sponges alter community composition and ecosystem function in tropical and subtropical nearshore marine ecosystems. She then moved on to work for Fisheries and Oceans Canada in multiple capacities. There she studied species interactions and ecosystem function of Glass Sponge Reefs and worked to develop efficient monitoring methods grounded in a strong understanding of the behavior and ecology of keystone species. She am now an Assistant Professor at LUMCON establishing a local research program focused on coastal Louisiana’s sponges, oyster reefs, and other biogenic habitats.

Student Rep

Caitlin Turner

Hello fellow GERS members! My name is Caitlin Turner, a graduate research assistant in the Coastal Hydrology, Hydrodynamics, and Oceanography lab at Louisiana State University where I am earning my master’s degree in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences. I am currently researching and modeling how wind, tides, and freshwater inputs (such as the Bonne CarrĂ© Spillway) impact algal bloom prevalence and toxicity in the Lake Pontchartrain estuarine system. Before LSU, I attended Stockton University in New Jersey where I earned my bachelor’s in Marine Science with a concentration in Oceanography and a minor in Mathematics. My field experience at Stockton University transformed my interest in the physical dynamics of estuaries and their biological communities into a career. It also motivated me to join the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (AERS), which has proven to be an invaluable resource as a newly professional scientist. Heading the Stockton Chapter of the Marine Technology Society enabled me to share my passion for estuary science by organizing field work experiences, demos from industry, and outreach activities with local schools for my fellow aspiring scientists, which I hope to continue as your GERS student representative.

Jacob Doty

From 2015-2019, in my undergraduate at Coastal Carolina University, I worked within the marshes and estuaries of coastal South Carolina. After graduating, I moved to south Texas to begin my master’s degree at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, working within Texas salt marshes and mangrove forests. I am currently looking at how trait plasticity and stress events affect the ongoing range expansion of black mangroves along the Gulf coast. Moving forward into my PhD I hope to delve into more carbon work as well as incorporating biotic factors (such as competition and facilitation) into a more comprehensive understanding of mangrove expansion.

Matt Hodanbosi

Matt Hodanbosi is a 4th-year Ph.D. student in Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama based at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL). His dissertation research focuses on the effects of freshwater discharge on the trophic ecology and demographics of bottlenose dolphins in Mobile Bay and the Eastern Mississippi Sound. He previously completed his M.S. in Marine Biology at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi (TAMU–CC), where he researched gas dynamics in diving marine mammals using mathematical models. He is currently the Treasurer of the Marine Science Graduate Student Organization (MSGSO) at DISL and was a member of TAMU–CC’s MSGSO. After finishing his master’s degree, he did two internships in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and coastal Alabama assisting stranded marine mammals and wants to apply those same skills in assisting his fellow students! He hopes that his experiences as a graduate student along the Gulf Coast over the past seven years will allow him to accurately represent student members on the GERS Executive Committee and express the needs of student members to the GERS Governing Board.

GERS is an affiliate society of the Coastal Estuarine Research Federation (CERF). We encourage you to join and support CERF! CERF members receive great benefits, influding access to an international job board and tools for early career scientists to become leaders in their fields. Regular GERS dues may also be paid at the same time as CERF dues. Join or renew your CERF membership today!

Other CERF Affiliates:

  • Southeast Estuarine Research Society (SERS)
  • Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (AERS)
  • Pacific Estuarine Research Society (PERS)
  • California Estuarine Research Society (CERS)
  • New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS)
  • Atlantic Canada Coastal Estuarine Research Society (ACCERS)

Contact Us

Please email us with any questions at

Gulf Estuarine Research Society 

703 E. Beach Dr., 

Ocean Springs, MS 39564 USA

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