News

Meet our new marine fisheries extension specialist

By: Marcus Drymon / Published: Aug 03,  2017

I’m thrilled to say that this week I joined the faculty at Mississippi State University, and the team at Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. I’m Marcus Drymon, and I’m a marine fisheries ecologist. Originally from central Kentucky, my family and I have lived on the Gulf Coast for 13 years and are pleased to call this region our home.

I’m extremely fortunate to have turned a childhood passion into a rewarding career. As extension faculty, my job is to make applicable, science-based solutions usable to coastal marine anglers, both commercial and recreational. So that you can better know me, I’ll take a moment to describe my research interests, as well as some of the research areas I’m excited to focus on moving forward.

My research interests are in applied fisheries ecology, which means my research goals are to provide fisheries managers the data necessary to best manage our marine fisheries resources. Most of my work has focused on the role that sharks play in maintain healthy coastal ecosystems, and understanding the factors that determine their distribution and movement patterns.

One of the primary techniques I use for this are field surveys. By repeatedly deploying the same gear (a bottom longline) over time, I am able to document the shark population off our coast, and measure changes in that population from year to year. Ultimately, data from this survey are used in stock assessments for several species of shark, including Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, and blacktip sharks. These surveys also provide the opportunity to deploy satellite tags that allow me to follow the movements of species like scalloped hammerheads and tiger sharks.

My goal as extension faculty is to connect with Gulf Coast fishermen and provide science-based solutions to problems impacting commercial and recreational fishermen in our region. Recently, the most controversial fishery in our region is the one for red snapper.

Using the same bottom longline gear that samples sharks, I’ve been working with regional colleagues to estimate the stock status of red snapper in our region. We’ve done this by monitoring changes in the relative abundance of red snapper through time. The data we’ve collected so far are promising, but much work remains to be done before the full benefit of this fishery is realized.

I look forward to building personal relationships with you so that we can work together to accomplish shared goals. While doing this, I want to update you on issues relevant to Gulf Coast fisheries and provide a mechanism for you to communicate with me. Over the next several months, I’ll be updating, restructuring, and redesigning the content previously distributed through the Gulf Coast Fisherman Newsletter using a combination of website content, blogs, Facebook, YouTube and e-newsletters. My intention is to use these electronic tools to initiate a dialogue, but I look forward to meeting you in person. Until then, please feel free to contact me at marcus.drymon@msstate.edu.

I’m rolling up my sleeves – we’ve got work to do!

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