Wei Wu

I was trained as a systems ecologist, and have been working in diverse ecosystems, including upland and coastal forests, coastal wetlands, and open sea. My research interests have centered on ecological resilience through understanding species’ and diverse ecosystems’ response to environmental change. My research tools include cutting-edge model selection and Bayesian statistics, traditionally frequentist statistics, spatial statistics, GIS, remote sensing techniques, computer model simulations, field-based observations/experiments, and controlled experiments.


Google Scholar 

Current Students

Jason Tilley

Ph.D. Student

In 2011, I received my M.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi. My thesis examined the importance of Sargassum to the early-life history of two pelagic fishes. I am currently chief ichthyoplankton scientist for the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program’s (SEAMAP) Mississippi surveys. Other research includes work on the early-life history of tarpon, and I recently published research on the early-life history of larval Atlantic bluefin tuna. I have a deep interest in coupling larval fish growth with biotic and abiotic factors, and I am working to expand my knowledge of fish nutrition, remote sensing, and coupled biophysical models. My dissertation research will develop and validate a remote-sensing model for estimating phytoplankton fatty acid availabilities in the the northern Gulf of Mexico. I will also examine how phytoplankton fatty acid availabilities affect the abundance and nutritional quality of zooplankton.


Devin Jen

M.S.  Student

My research focuses on predicting landward migration of coastal wetlands in response to sea-level rise. My projects include: 1) analyzing historical forest-coastal wetland dynamics based on remote sensing derived land cover maps, 2) measuring primary productivity in coastal wetlands, wetland-forest ecotones, and forests, 3) developing a mechanistic model to predict primary productivity along the gradients from coastal wetlands to forests and potential landward migration of coastal wetlands driven by soil salinity and interspecific competition, and 4) evaluating how prescribed fire could affect landward migration of coastal wetlands.

Kodi Feldpausch

M.S. Student

I am evaluating the impact of hydrological extremes on primary productivity of coastal wetlands in Mississippi.

My research objectives are:

  • To study the spatial pattern of productivity and biodiversity in coastal wetlands along the gradients of proximity to the Bonnet Carré Spillway, salinity, and inundation.
  • To evaluate the relation between productivity and biodiversity in peak season.
  • To develop a statistical model to predict peak green aboveground biomass spatially based on remote sensing images.
  • To predict the immediate and one year’s impact of hydrological extremes on peak green aboveground biomass.

Current Undergraduate Student

Makenzie Holifield (Major: Marine Science, Minor: Computer Science)

I am a rising senior. I have helped different projects in the lab since the beginning of my junior year, including field samples and measuring above- and below-ground biomass in the lab. I am interested in pursuing a MS in Coastal Wetland Ecology in the future.

Previous Graduate Students and Post-doc

Jennifer Frey (MS 2011)

Thesis ““Sub-pixel classification of historical and current marsh habitat for the eastern Mississippi Gulf coast using remotely sensed images”

Current Job:

Conservation Resource Biologist for South Mississippi, the Museum of Natural Science, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. She is the state biologist for Gopher Tortoise, Gopher Frog and Black Pine snakes which are all federally listed species and state endangered.

Tyler Hardy (MS 2018)

Thesis “Coastal Wetland Dynamics Under Sea-level Rise and Wetland Restoration in the Northern Gulf of Mexico using Bayesian Multilevel Models and A Web Tool”

Current Job:

Senior Software Developer

Susco Solutions, Metairie, LA

Dr. Shuo Shen (PhD 2020)

Dissertation “Antibiotic resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes and potential drivers in the aquatic environments”

Current Job:

R&D Scientist III
DiaCarta Inc, Pleasanton, California

Dr. Hailong Huang (PhD 2021)

Dissertation: “Modeling hydrochemical and vegetation response of high-elevation forested watersheds to climate change and atmospheric deposition in the southeastern U.S.”

Current Job:

Part-time Research Scientist

University of Southern Mississippi

Ocean Springs, MS

Evan Grimes (MS 2021)

Thesis “Spatial and seasonal patterns of above- and belowground vegetation biomass and potential drivers in the Pascagoula River delta, MS”

Current Job: Scientist I

Army Corps of Engineers,  Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS

Dr. Chongfeng Gong (Postdoc 2011-2013)

Dr. Gong’s research interest is evaluating ecosystem change using remote sensing techniques. He helped two projects: 1) quantifying the potential impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on selected carbon services of salt marshes along the northern gulf coast, and 2) legacy effects of land-use change and nitrogen source shifts on a benchmark system: Building capacity for collaborative research leadership at the Grand Bay Reserve.

Current Job:

Senior Software Engineer II,

American Water, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Lina Fu (2011-2013)

Lina is interested in carbon dynamics of both forests and coastal wetlands. She is a scientist at the Forest Service in China.

Previous Interns

Undergraduate Students:

Megan Ringate (2021), Gabby Boomer (2021), Ethan Ramsey (2021), Lisa Janowsky (2020-2021), Katherine Oxley (2020), McKenzi Turpin (2020 – assisting honor thesis), Olivia Cole (2019-2020), George Sampley (2019), Silver Rodriguez (2017), Samantha Ells (2016), Eaves Christopher (2015).

Undergraduate Students:

Deborah McNeal (2017-18), Brian Moore (Summer 2010)