Maroon Lagoon newest addition to Texas A&M

May 03, 2016

By Cindie Powell

Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young is sharing office space with the Maroon Lagoon.

Freshman business major Sean Dempsey from San Angelo, Texas, won a campus-wide contest to name the new 120-gallon saltwater aquarium, placed in President Young’s office by the university’s Texas Sea Grant College Program.

President Michael K. Young is very much appreciative of the new saltwater aquarium, Maroon Lagoon, in his office. “It presents a unique vehicle to talk with visitors about the remarkable programs at Texas A&M, including the Oceanography, Ocean Engineering, and the International Ocean Discovery Programs, to name a few,” he said.

The Brazos River watershed is one of only two in Texas that drain directly into the Gulf of Mexico; the others empty into the state’s estuaries. Texas Sea Grant launched its Brazos Valley ocean awareness outreach program three years ago with support from the Texas A&M Provost’s Office, starting with a 300-gallon saltwater aquarium in the university’s Memorial Student Center. The aquarium, dubbed Aglantis in a similar naming contest, holds species native to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean to remind visitors of the impacts of inland activities on the health of these coastal and marine ecosystems. The Maroon Lagoon includes species from the Caribbean as well as other areas of the world’s oceans.

“We are excited about the addition of another saltwater aquarium on the Texas A&M campus,” said Rhonda Patterson, Texas Sea Grant’s Outreach Specialist. “President Young is very concerned about the many issues affecting the Gulf of Mexico and oceans around the world, and now every visitor to his office can observe this small piece of the ocean and see why we need to band together to make a difference for our oceans and the animals that live there.”

Texas Sea Grant's ocean awareness initiative in the Brazos Valley includes both the large Aglantis aquarium and the Aglantis Jr. Adopt-A-Tank program, in which area K-12 schools adopt 29-gallon saltwater aquariums from Texas Sea Grant for use in the classroom. So far, the 40 smaller aquariums have been placed in 51 Brazos Valley classrooms, with 11 returned and re-adopted.

“Our mission is to help the people in our community improve their understanding about how they can make a difference for our oceans right here in the Brazos Valley,” Patterson said.



Texas A&M President Michael K. Young and freshman business major Sean Dempsey, whose suggestion of “Maroon Lagoon” won the naming contest for a new 120-gallon saltwater aquarium in the President’s Office.

The “Maroon Lagoon” in Texas A&M President Michael K. Young’s office. 


Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.