Acclaimed wildlife scientist to lead MSU department


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Posted: 6/22/2015

Acclaimed wildlife scientist to lead MSU department Photo By: Submitted

Andrew J. Kouba, director of conservation and research at the Memphis Zoo, is the new head of the Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Kouba has served the Memphis Zoo as director of conservation since 2001. He has secured more than $3 million in competitive grants for zoo projects including work with amphibians, large carnivores, giant pandas, forest ecology and reintroductions for endangered species. He has worked closely with Mississippi State faculty employing numerous graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for research work in conservation.

"We are fortunate to have Dr. Kouba join the Mississippi State University family and lead this active department," said George Hopper, dean of the College of Forest Resources and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership to this position and will further advance the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture."

During his tenure with the Memphis Zoo, Kouba also served as adjunct professor in the MSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as with the University of Memphis, Rhodes College and Southwestern Forestry University in China. In this role, he served as a mentor and committee member for graduate research.

MSU's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture was established in the late 1960s and conducts research to sustain and improve wildlife, fisheries and aquatic resources throughout the state and region. As the research arm of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the department takes an active role in providing research on game species including white-tailed deer, turkey, waterfowl and fisheries, as well as numerous nongame species. In addition to research, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture offers undergraduate and graduate education and provides service to Mississippi citizens through the MSU Extension Service.

Gary Jackson, director of the MSU Extension Service, noted Kouba's extensive record in research and outreach.

"Dr. Kouba understands the Extension mission and our role in nonformal education. His career reflects accomplishments in educational outreach and engagement, and demonstrates successful collaboration with numerous stakeholders," Jackson said. "Mississippians value our state's natural resources, and we look forward to working with Dr. Kouba to advance practical programs based on client needs and priorities."

Kouba earned a bachelor's degree from Northwest Missouri State University, a master's degree from Clemson University and a doctoral degree from the University of Florida. He conducted post-doctoral training at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's Center for Research and Endangered Wildlife.

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