Texas Sea Grant Director honored as 2014 ‘Harte’s Hero’

June 06, 2014

By Cindie Powell

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Director of the Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University, was recognized Thursday (June 5, 2014) by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) for her work with endangered sea turtles on the Texas coast.

Plotkin was named one of “Harte’s Heroes,” an honor bestowed annually by HRI to commemorate World Oceans Day. This year’s recipients were commended for their efforts to further the recovery of the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.

“I am so grateful the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is the focus of HRI’s celebration this World Oceans Day,” Plotkin said. “The recovery of this Gulf icon is a compelling case history of what can be achieved when people, institutions, states and countries work together toward common goals to restore our natural resources.”

The award cited her leadership role with Texas Sea Grant, which has been in the forefront in funding research about the Kemp’s ridley, and her own research on mass nesting behavior of sea turtles. Texas Sea Grant also is training shrimp fishermen to install and operate turtle excluder devices to reduce incidental capture of Kemp’s ridleys and other Gulf sea turtles, and Plotkin is spearheading efforts to call attention to the declining number of Kemp’s ridley nests in Mexico and Texas at the same time as reductions in federal funding for conservation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Plotkin became the director of Texas Sea Grant in 2011. She is also a research professor in the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University’s College of Geosciences.

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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.

Pictured:

Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Texas Sea Grant Director, center, was among those honored June 5 by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies as “Harte’s Heroes.” Also pictured are, from left, Flavius Killebrew, President of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez; Dr. Donna Shaver, Padre Island National Seashore; Dr. Patrick Burchfield, Gladys Porter Zoo; Luis Jaime Pena, Gladys Porter Zoo; Carol DeMoss, Sea Turtle, Inc.; longtime Kemp's ridley sea turtle conservation volunteer Les Hodgson; and Dr. Larry McKinney, Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. (Photo courtesy Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) (High-resolution image available for download here.)

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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.