Texas Sea Grant awards $9,400 to 12 undergraduate students for research projects

January 10, 2017

By Alex Hood

The Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University (TAMU) has awarded $9,400 in research grants to 12 undergraduate students at two Texas A&M University System institutions.

The students are funded as a part of the Texas Sea Grant Scholars Undergraduate Research Program, which designates Texas Sea Grant Scholars from among those who are selected for the LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Recipients will receive up to an additional $1,000 to supplement their research budget.

The goal of the program is to encourage motivated undergraduates to participate in research, and to give them the opportunity to communicate their findings as principal authors to the university’s scholarly community.

The 2016-17 Texas Sea Grant Scholars Program recipients, along with their respective institutions and projects, are listed below.

  • Tess Heywood and Catherine Risley, Marine Biology students at TAMUG, “Hydromedusae blooms and seasonal biodiversity changes in the Galveston Bay.”
  • Katherine Adams, Marine Biology student at TAMUG, “Reproductive histology of blacktip sharks, Charcharhinus limbatus, in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.”
  • Jahna Brooks, Environmental Geoscience student at TAMU, “Investigation of changing seawater chemistry by deep-sea coral beds due to climate change.”
  • Jesus Duran Ramirez, Marine Biology student at TAMUG, “Using optical properties of dissolved organic matter to discriminate sewage treatment effluents from runoff in Santa Monica Bay, California.”
  • Rachel Hamrock, Marine Biology and Marine Fisheries student at TAMUG, “Are common dolphins truly common: A look into population distribution and conservation efforts.”
  • Aubree Jones, Marine Biology student at TAMUG, “Microstructure and innervation of mystacial vibrissae in harbor seals, Phoca vitulina.”
  • Kathyrn Kunz, Marine Biology and Marine Fisheries student at TAMUG, “Evaluation of the co-evolution and genetic diversity of the stag-horned hyrocoral and its hermit crab host from the Pacific and Gulf of California.”
  • Monika McGuinness, Marine Biology student at TAMUG, “Productivity of Spartina alterniflora in proximity to mangroves.”
  • Benjamin Miner, Marine Engineering and Technology student at TAMUG, “Optimizing morphological features of titanium dioxide as an abundant alternative in marine engineering applications.”
  • Randall Teague, Marine Biology and Ocean and Coastal Resources student at TAMUG, “Understanding habituation, sensitization and tolerance of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Galveston Bay to natural and anthropogenic stimuli.”
  • Katie Westmoreland, Marine Fisheries and Marine Biology student at TAMUG, “Genetic investigations of grass shrimp (Palaemonetes spp.) populations along the Gulf of Mexico coast.”

More information about the Texas Sea Grant Scholars Undergraduate Research Program is available at http://texasseagrant.org/funding/undergraduate-sea-grant-scholars-program/


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.