As chief scientific officer, Lucas also will be responsible for developing collaborative programs with other agencies and assisting with planning processes to best utilize the agency's scientific resources, the MDMR said.
Lucas will join the staff May 7.
"With the addition of Dr. Lucas to our staff, we are taking our agency's expertise in scientific research and program planning to the next level," said MDMR Executive Director Jamie Miller. "In her role as CSO for the agency, she will have an immediate impact on the science we provide to policy makers and enhance our strategic partnerships with the scientific community."
Dr. Lucas is a Mississippi Gulf Coast native and holds a doctorate degree in coastal science from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master of business administration from University of Alabama Birmingham and a bachelor of science degree in microbiology from Mississippi State University.
She has most recently worked as deputy director of the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Geospatial Center at Stennis Space Center. Dr. Lucas has written and co-authored numerous scientific publications and presentations and has been instrumental in securing grant funding for regional geospatial modeling.
"I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am excited to join the agency," said Kelly Lucas, who will be joining MDMR staff next week as CSO. "I am committed to the mission of the MDMR and I look forward to working with everyone at the agency and with the scientific community to provide the best available science for managing our marine and coastal resources."