Management Team Biographies

James Hurley assumed the directorship of Wisconsin Sea Grant on May 1, 2012. Hurley holds a Ph.D. in Water Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has worked extensively on the impact of mercury in northern Wisconsin lakes, the Great Lakes and the Everglades. His recent research has centered on cycling of mercury in the aquatic environment, especially with regard to factors affecting bioaccumulation in plankton and fish. He uses stable isotopic techniques to study transport and transformations of trace metals in the environment. Hurley chaired several regional and national Sea Grant committees and was a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, which developed a risk assessment for U.S. mercury emissions in 2011. He has published more than 65 research articles in his field. In addition to his director position, Hurley holds a 25 percent faculty appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is serving as president of the Sea Grant Association until 2019. 

Moira Harrington is the assistant director for communications, directing the creation of materials to promote science literacy, and oversees media relations and social media. Harrington also assists with external relations. She is a former reporter for newspapers, magazines and a statehouse news service. She has also worked for Wisconsin’s statewide public television broadcasting system, and as the state director and press secretary for former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Harrington holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

David Hart is the assistant director for extension. He directs a staff of extension specialists who extend coastal science throughout Wisconsin, the Great Lakes region and beyond. He joined the Wisconsin Sea Grant Extension team as a scientist in 2002, after working with Sea Grant for eight years on coastal geographic information systems (GIS) applications through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Land Information and Graphics Facility. As one of the few Sea Grant GIS specialists in the country, Hart provides assistance to local governments and other coastal constituents in the areas of mapping, community planning, coastal hazards, land use and climate adaptation. Hart holds an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans and a Ph.D. in Land Resources from UW-Madison.

Jennifer Hauxwell is the assistant director for research and student engagement. She oversees the research portfolios of both Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute, as well as an engagement program for the hundreds of students supported through those two research programs. Hauxwell joined the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in 2001 as research limnologist. From 2008-14, she served as chief of the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Research Section, leading a team of researchers conducting applied work on Wisconsin’s inland aquatic resources and the Great Lakes. She holds a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology from Boston University’s Marine Program at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Michigan.  Her research has focused on the effects of non-point source nutrients and invasive species on aquatic systems, and she has worked in temperate lakes, wetlands and estuaries as well as subtropical springs.

Terri Liebmann is the assistant director for operations. She handles Sea Grant's day-to-day administrative management; financial oversight; and direction of human resources activities. Liebmann has an Associate Degree in Supervisory Management from Madison Area Technical College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.