Students plant marsh grasses Volunteer effort to help Nueces Bay HRI PhD candidate Michael Ruescher plants marsh grasses on new terraces in Nueces Bay.
PHOTO: JACE TUNNELL/CBBEP
Several HRI students planted marsh grass in Nueces Bay
on March 6 as part of a community-based wetlands restoration and education project sponsored by the
Coastal Bend Bays Foundation (CBBF). The students are members of
the TAMU-CC Marine Science Graduate Student
Organization, a student-run club that gathers together like-minded
graduate students. Most of the members are housed in the HRI
building. Those doing the planting included Michael Reuscher, Sharon Jacqueline Furiness,
Eleonor Barraza, Judd Curtis, Anthony Reisinger and Lauren Hutchison.
Historically, the Nueces Bay project area
was more densely covered by marsh grasses and its shoreline
stretched farther out into the bay. The newly built terraces and newly planted
marsh grasses will benefit the bay by reducing erosion and calming
the shallow bay waters, thereby improving water quality and
providing more habitat for aquatic organisms and coastal birds. The
plantings and marsh creation project is funded by the
Land Office and NOAA and developed under a partnership between CBBF
and the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuary Program.
Welder becomes Knauss Fellow HRI student to study one year in DC
HRI graduate student Kathleen Welder, who is getting her master's in environmental science, has been awarded
a Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship to serve a one-year position in
Washington DC beginning this February. Named for former NOAA
administrator John A. Knauss, the fellowship program matches
graduate students with legislative and executive branch offices in
Washington to enable them to learn and participate in marine policy making at the
highest level. Welder specializes in ecosystem services under
HRI’s endowed professor of socioeconomics
Dr. David Yoskowitz and
researches the value of freshwater inflow-dependent habitats in
Texas estuaries. She will be accompanied by four other Texan fellows
when she joins the Knauss class of 2012.
Barraza receives award PhD student's paper named outstanding
HRI doctoral student
Eleonor Barraza received an Outstanding Student
Paper Award for her presentation at the American Geophysical Union
Fall Meeting in December 2010. Her talk "How would a more resilient
Galveston Island look?" co-authored by HRI's Chair for Geospatial
Dr. James Gibeaut was selected among the best student
presentations in the Public Affairs section. Barraza works as a Graduate Research Assistant in Gibeaut's
Coastal and Marine Geospatial Lab. She also received the
highly-competitive Student Travel Grant to attend this meeting. The AGU Fall Meeting is one of largest scientific conferences worldwide.
In 2010, more than 18,400 scientists attended the meeting.
Reuscher at Smithsonian HRI PhD student examining polychaetes
HRI marine biology doctoral candidate
is spending two months at the Smithsonian National
Museum of Natural History (NMNH)
in Washington DC to examine paraonid
polychaetes (segmented worms) from the museum's rich collection.
From May through July, he will be collaborating with a world-famous polychaete specialist at the NMNH,
Fauchald. Reuscher's specific project is to examine 45
species using scanning electron microscopy and morphometric
measurements to study the ultrastructure of morphological
characters, allometric change of those morphologies, and to reveal
the relationships among the different species of these microscopic
soft sediment dwellers.
Curtis awarded scholarship Money to fund red snapper research
Conservation Association recently awarded
HRI Doctoral Scholar Judd Curtis a scholarship to
pursue ongoing research in red snapper ecology in the Gulf of
Mexico. Curtis works with Dr. Greg Stunz'
Fisheries and Ocean Health Lab at HRI. The prestigious $5,000 per year scholarship is awarded
each year to one
student conducting graduate-level research that will contribute to
the understanding of marine fisheries and management in the Gulf of
Mexico. Curtis’ dissertation focuses on studies in red snapper
mortality, recruitment and population connectivity of this
economically important and overfished species. The ultimate goal of
his research is to provide more informative data to fishery managers
to help make better management decisions.
HRI student joins expedition Lavelle conducts research in Honduras Researchers from the DeepCAST II Expedition with the submersible in
HRI student Kate Lavelle and
Dr. Tom Shirley
took part in a
successful research trip, the DeepCAST II Expedition May 21-28 to Roatan
in the Bay Islands of
Honduras. "DeepCAST" stands for Deep Corals and Associated Species’
Taxonomy and Ecology. Lavelle is earning her master's in marine
biology and working in HRI's Biodiversity and Conservation Science
lab. Since she's writing her thesis on the ecology of
deep-sea coral communities, this expedition directly relates to her
research focus. Dr. Peter Etnoyer
with NOAA’s Deep Coral Ecology Lab was the expedition's science
director and organizer. In 2009, he became the first graduate
student fellow to receive a doctorate through HRI. Other participants
in the expedition included the curator of marine
mollusks at the Smithsonian Institution and a group from Conservation International’s Sojourns
The team explored deep-sea habitats using Roatan Institute
for Deep-sea Exploration’s submersible, "Idabel,"
which is designed to safely transport three people to 3,000 feet
below sea level. The team met their objectives to estimate coral, sponge
and invertebrate abundance and diversity, to characterize water
chemistry, and to discern the relationships between corals and their epifauna. Video transects revealed a high diversity of octocorals,
echinoderms, crustaceans, slit shells and sponges.
Oyster video wins award Video chosen as best conservation film
Click on video above to watch
A short film introducing
Recycling Program was awarded Best Conservation Film in the
Beneath the Waves Film Festival, which was held during the 40th
Ecology Meeting (BEM) in Mobile, Alabama, March 16-20. The “Sink
Your Shucks” video was created by HRI’s Ecosystem Studies and
Modeling Lab. The five-minute video competed against 46 other
submissions, including productions by NOAA and National Geographic.
Covering a broad range of marine issues, the films were submitted
from a diverse group of filmmakers, scientists, and
conservationists. TAMUCC graduate student Lauren Hutchison directed
the oyster video. She studies ecosystem-based management and
ecosystem services and has a film degree from the University of
Texas at Austin. The film was written by TAMUCC PhD student Brittany
Blomberg, whose research focuses on oyster reef restoration, and
narrated by HRI Associate Director
Dr. Wes Tunnell.