Texas Sea Grant awards $1.5 million in research to support Texas coast

October 07, 2015

By Cindie Powell

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University is announcing new grants totaling $1.5 million for eight two-year research projects at universities around the state to support coastal and marine ecosystems, communities and economies.

“Texas Sea Grant is strengthening its partnership with universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the people of Texas,” said Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Director of Texas Sea Grant. “Each of the grants announced today will help us achieve our goals to create and sustain healthy coastal ecosystems and resilient communities and economies, and build on our efforts to develop the Texas workforce.”

Awards for the 2016-2018 period are:

  • “Bioavailability and Chemical Characterization of Dissolved Organic Nitrogen in South Texas Rivers,” Dr. Zhanfei Liu, Department of Marine Science, University of Texas Marine Science Institute;
  • “Conservation Genomics of the Critically Endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii),” Dr. Luis Hurtado, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University;
  • “Determining the Suitability of Soil Microbial Amendments to Enhance Ecological Restoration of Coastal Texas Sand Dunes,” Dr. Kerri Crawford, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston;
  • “A New Early Warning Tool to Mitigate Harmful Algal Blooms,” Dr. Lisa Campbell, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University;
  • “Perceptions of Community Resilience in Texas Shoreline Counties,” Dr. Kirby Goidel, Public Policy Research Institute, Texas A&M University;
  • “The South Texas Banks Ecosystem: Oceanography, Biodiversity and Genetics,” Dr. Diego Figueroa, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Brownsville);
  • “Study of Wetland Erosion Due to Storms Through Combined Field, Laboratory and Numerical Investigations,” Dr. Kuang-An Chang, Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University; and
  • “Testing Macroclimate Models of Coastal Wetland Plant Communities,” Dr. Christopher Gabler, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston.

The overarching goals of Texas Sea Grant’s research program are to support outcome-oriented research that spans broad areas of natural, physical, social, behavioral and economic sciences and engineering, and to make research investments that will generate substantial social, economic and environmental impacts in Texas. Projects also must fit within one of the program’s four focus areas: Healthy Coastal Ecosystems, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, Resilient Communities and Economies, and Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development.

A partnership of the State of Texas and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Texas Sea Grant conducts a competitive research grant program every two years that draws on the expertise of the state’s top scientists. The program’s coastal extension agents and specialists working in the field translate and communicate research results to stakeholders to meet the real-world needs of Texans.

For more information, contact Mia Zwolinski, Texas Sea Grant Research Coordinator, at mzwolinski@tamu.edu or 979-458-0449.

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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.