Sam Bentley to head operations, bringing together cross-campus effort at the start of CSI’s sixth decade
Louisiana’s coast is a unique, immensely valuable resource. Many of the state’s most prized assets are dependent upon its health: natural resources, seafood and, of course, people. It only makes sense that LSU, the state’s Flagship University, play a leading role in research that helps officials better understand, preserve and manage coastal ecosystems.
LSU has held a place as one of the world’s most respected and internationally-known coastal institutions for more than 60 years, thanks in large part to the hard work, dedication and superior expertise of faculty within the Coastal Studies Institute, or CSI. With names like R.J. Russell, James Morgan, James Coleman and Harry Roberts rounding out a roster of international authorities, CSI experts set the framework for the way scientists look at coastal processes. In a state like Louisiana, where 3 million acres of coastal wetlands house 2 million people, this kind of research has a direct and immediate impact on the people who make their livings off the land.
A memorandum of understanding signed by Dean Christopher D’Elia of the School of the Coast & Environment; Dean Richard Koubek of the College of Engineering; and past-Dean Kevin Carman of the College of Science has created a partnership allowing LSU’s CSI to realign in reflection of the changing face of research.
To lead the charge, Samuel Bentley, holder of the Billy and Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology, in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, has been selected to serve as director.
“In restructuring and expanding the LSU Coastal Studies Institute, we want to highlight and augment LSU’s great expertise in coastal sciences and engineering, particularly as that expertise applies to river deltas, both here and around the world,” said Bentley.
One of the most important roles of the new CSI will be to enhance and facilitate the research enterprise of LSU faculty in the previously mentioned study areas. It will do this by offering expanded technical, administrative and financial support to CSI researchers, and will also coordinate the preparation and implementation of large collaborative projects that lead to a better understanding of coastal processes.
“Rapidly increasing our already impressive coastal research portfolio can have a direct effect on our state,” said Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Stuart Bell. “Louisiana’s economy is dependent upon having a healthy coast. Our industry needs it – our citizens need it.”
The new CSI will serve as a primary point of contact for interdisciplinary coastal research at LSU, and will actively work to share the university’s coastal activities with state and federal agencies that need such data to make informed public policy and safety decisions.
Perhaps most importantly, CSI will provide new opportunities for training and supporting the next generation of leading researchers, paving the way for continued advancements in coastal sustainability. It will also work hand-in-hand with complementary organizations such as the Water Institute of the Gulf.
“Providing sound research, expert opinions and training the next generation of leading researchers are LSU’s service to the state,” LSU Interim System President and Interim Chancellor William Jenkins. “This is particularly important for LSU because of our depth of expertise in coastal work. Our goal is to provide a focused conduit for outside organizations to access this expertise.”
Interested in learning more about LSU’s CSI? Read a detailed history at http://www.csi.lsu.edu/history.asp.
Have questions about coastal research at LSU? Contact Ashley Berthelot at 225-578-3870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.