Our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) oversees research initiatives and provides independent scientific assessments and reports on the Hurricane Creek watershed and surrounding area. It is composed of volunteers from the scientific community, including but not limited to biology, botany, paleontology, geology, hydrology, engineering, soil science, chemistry, cartography, forestry, ecology and geography.
SAB members do not receive financial or material compensation of any kind for their efforts. FOHC acknowledges their service to our organization and the Tuscaloosa community. They help us make sure we have continuous, credible, scientific data about the watershed.
If you would like to nominate a candidate for the Scientific Advisory Board, please send an email with their name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about our current SAB members below.
Justin L. Hart, Ph.D.
Justin is an Assistant Professor in the Geography Department at the University of Alabama. He runs The Forest Dynamics Lab, a research unit, at the University of Alabama. His research broadly concerns forest community ecology, forest ecosystem ecology, and plant geography. His Lab places a major emphasis on the elucidation of forest development and successional patterns. Much of their work examines the influence of disturbance, land-use history, and biophysical environmental conditions on forests at the community and ecosystem levels. Learn more about Justin's work at The Forest Dynamics Lab website.
David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Ph.D.
David is Chief of the Petroleum Systems and Technology section at the Geological Survey of Alabama. His primary research concerns the origins, transformations, and characteristics of hydrocarbon reservoir rocks and associated rocks, and aims to facilitate efficient discovery and production of hydrocarbons in the state.
Kopaska-Merkel also studies fossils (in particular Pennsylvanian trace fossils) and ancient reefs. He develops and disseminates earth-science educational information and materials, some of which can be found online here.
When he isn't studying hydrocarbons, David has been known to indulge his creative talents in the writing and editing of speculative fiction.
Douglas Brooks, M.S.
Doug earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in the Dept. of Biology at the University of Alabama, with emphasis on biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and algae. His M.S. project was a study of the male-inducing sex hormone of the green alga Volvox aureus.
After graduating he continued to work in the Dept. of Biology for many years, later transferring to the Microbiology Division, where, as Culture Curator, he maintained and tested the pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacterial and fungal collections used in the department. Though his formal training has involved mainly lab biology, his lifelong passion and concern has always been for the environment and the other animals and plants with which we share the planet.
Doug canoes the creek with Kenny in May 2012.
Carol Johnson Brooks, Ph.D.
Carol received her B.S. in biology at the University of Alabama, and continued her studies in the field of Plant Systematics (which Carol likes to call the Classification and Evolution of Higher Plants) here at the University where she completed her M.S. research, "A Checklist of the Vascular Plants of the Holt Lock and Dam Area, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama" with funding from a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Traineeship.
As a doctoral candidate, Carol received the first National Science Foundation Grant ever awarded to a U. of A. student, and earned her doctorate with the completion of her dissertation, "A Revision of the Genus Forestiera (Oleaceae)."
Carol observes the creek via canoe in May 2012.
Stuart W. McGregor, M.S.
Stuart was born in Huntsville and raised in Florence, Alabama, on the Tennessee River at the historic Muscle Shoals. He spent his youth roaming the fields and woodlots in northwest Alabama and southern middle Tennessee hunting arrowheads, squirrels, deer, fish, and other elusive prey, and playing the usual assortment of sports. In 1984, he earned his B.A. double majoring in Environmental Biology and History at the University of North Alabama. In 1987, he earned his M.S. in Biology from Tennessee Technological University.
While in graduate school, he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services Office in Cookeville, and immediately after graduation spent a year working for the Louisville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Navigation Planning Section. In 1988, Stuart accepted a position as an aquatic biologist at the Geological Survey of Alabama, where he is currently employed. His primary research interests include the distributions of freshwater mussels, fishes, crayfishes, and cave shrimp in Alabama. You can read a list of selected publications here.