Advisory Council2017-09-13T07:07:28+00:00


The Council advises the Executive Director on the overall mission and vision of LUMCON and provides representation of Consortium and community partner interests.

Suzanne AppleSuzanne Apple, of Atlanta, Georgia and Avery Island, Louisiana, served as Senior Vice President of Private Sector Engagement at World Wildlife Fund-U.S until January, 2016. She led the corporate engagement activities for WWF-US including work around responsible sourcing and sustainable business practices, corporate philanthropy, and cause-related marketing. In addition, she led WWF-U.S.’s largest corporate partnership with The Coca-Cola Company and served as WWF-U.S.’s representative on WWF International’s Global Partnerships Committee. Before joining WWF, Suzanne served as Vice President, Community Affairs and Environmental Programs for The Home Depot from January, 1992 until October, 2002, where she managed the company’s annual community relations and charitable contributions budget of over $30M, and its sustainability and environmental programs. The company was ranked number one in corporate social responsibility in the Harris Interactive/Wall Street Journal survey on corporate reputation and the company rose to fourth in corporate reputation. She joined The Home Depot after a career in the banking and finance, corporate marketing and communications. Suzanne serves as an Associate Board Member of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, as a Board Member of the Audubon Society of Louisiana, as a Trustee of The Atlanta Girls School and as a Trustee of Hix and Bertha Green Family Foundation.

Mark BenfieldDr. Mark Benfield is a biological oceanographer whose research focuses on zooplankton ecology. He is currently studying the role of microplastics in the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and Louisiana estuaries. He coordinates Gulf SERPENT: an academic-industrial partnership that uses ROVs from deepwater oil and gas exploration and production facilities to study deep-sea biodiversity. Mark received his B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, MSc. from the University of Kwazulu-Natal, and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University and holds an Adjunct appointment as a Guest Investigator in the Biology Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is a member and past Chair of the ICES Working Group on Zooplankton Ecology.

Bethanie GuidryBethanie Guidry, M.S., is a graduate of Mississippi University for Women (2001) and the United States Sports Academy (2002). She is currently teaching upper level science at Ellender Memorial High School and is the head varsity volleyball coach to the Lady Patriots. She is married to Jennifer Kreller Guidry and has twin daughters Allie and Avery. She likes spending time outdoors camping, kayaking, fishing, and doing anything with her family.

Dr. Bernard Thorpe Halloran is an Assistant Professor in the Biological and Physical Sciences Department at Northwestern State University. His focus is on fish ecology, especially as it relates to early life history dynamics in relation to large riverine-floodplain systems. Thorpe has concentrated effort on documenting the environmental phenomena that structure both adult and larval assemblages in warm- and cold-water systems in North America. Thorpe is interested in freshwater invertebrate communities, limnology, and stream ecosystems. He has also worked extensively in the North Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean as a fisheries biologist. These projects have included examining coastal fish populations and by-catch and conducting open surveys for ichthyoplankton.

Dagne HillDr. Dagne Hill is the Interim Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana. She has dual appointments in both the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She previously taught as an Instructor of Biology at Southern University in Louisiana and worked as a Science Teacher for the Caddo Parish School System. She has over 27 years of teaching experience. In 2002, she was a Research Associate (non-gratis) at Louisiana State University Agriculture Center, Hill Farm Research Station located in Homer, Louisiana. Her educational background includes a B.S. degree in Biology, a M.A.T. degree with a concentration in Natural Science, and a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Science from Jackson State University in Jackson, MS. Her dissertation is entitled “The Influence of Non-Point Source Pollution and Animal Waste on Water Quality and Human Health”. She also has a diploma in the area of Wildlife/Forestry Conservation and possesses a lifetime teaching certification in the areas of both biology and general science. She is a previous Southern Region Educational Board (SREB) Fellow.

Dr. Jennifer HillDr. Jennifer Hill is an Assistant Professor at Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Hill obtained her B.S in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University and her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech under an NSF IGERT Fellowship. Her post-doctoral research was performed at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (Dauphin Island, AL). Jennifer’s research focuses on understanding how different environmental contexts and/or anthropogenic changes influence animal behavior and estuarine community interactions. This research often involves the use of empirical lab and field experiments which aim to facilitate the management and recovery of coastal ecosystems. At Louisiana Tech, Jennifer teaches Ecology and Introduction to Marine Biology and enjoys exposing her northern LA students to the wonders of the coast (sinking in the marshy muck included).

Gary LaFleur Jr.Dr. Gary LaFleur Jr. is a developmental biologist that has concentrated on using reproductive biomarkers as indicators of environmental health. He was born in Eunice, LA and earned an AS at LSU-E, a BS at LSU in Zoology, a Masters at TAMU-Corpus Christie, and a PhD at UF Whitney Marine Lab. He completed post-doctoral studies with Gary Wessel at Brown. In 1998, he joined the Nicholls faculty. To enhance the Nicholls Masters Program in Marine and Environmental Biology, Gary helped to establish their yearly Calypseaux Expedition hosted at LUMCON to introduce students to the coastal and academic environments of SE Louisiana. His current interests include surveys of the Apple Snail in the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary and using drones to map the changing habitats of Louisiana’s barrier Islands. In 2013 he was named the executive director of a new initiative entitled the Center for Bayou Studies. Since 2000 he has participated in the LUMCON Summer program introducing up to 180 students to the habitats and inhabitants of the Louisiana coast through courses such as Coastal Landscape Photography, Introduction to Marine Zoology, and Invertebrate Zoology and Ecology. Other skills include long-term experience in hand-grabbing tou lou lous and changing the shear-pin in a 1975 Johnson outboard.

Dr. Beth StaufferDr. Beth Stauffer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Beth obtained her B.S. in Marine Science & Biology at the University of Miami and Ph.D. in Marine Environmental Biology at the University of Southern California. Following graduate school, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biological oceanography at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. Beth joined the UL Lafayette faculty in 2015 where she is actively building a research program focused on phytoplankton ecology and the Gulf of Mexico. Areas of research in the Stauffer lab include quantifying phytoplankton species and community responses to the dynamic estuarine environments of south Louisiana, better understanding the role of microzooplankton grazing in structuring phytoplankton communities in coastal waters, and using these insights to more fully quantify the factors controlling composition of these diverse communities. This research combines field- and lab-based approaches to both quantify and identify different members and interactions among members of these communities.