Dr. Wes Tunnell


O: HRI 318C
P: (361) 825-2055
F: (361) 825-2050
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Job title: Associate Director


Education: Ph.D. in Biology; Texas A&M University (1974)
M.S. in Biology (Geology Minor); Texas A&I University (1969)
B.S. in Biology (Chemistry Minor); Texas A&I University (1967)

Expertise: Dr. Tunnell joined the University in 1974. Through his instruction, insight, and interests, his depth of experience and understanding of the Gulf of Mexico have reached throughout the world. He was an early advocate for strong relationships between the United States, Mexico, and Cuba to research and support the Gulf of Mexico. As a broadly trained marine biologist/ecologist with a particular interest in field studies on coral reefs and coastal areas of the Gulf, he is often asked to present to a variety of audiences.


Dr. Tunnell has been instrumental in developing not only the Harte Research Institute, but also founding the Center for Coastal Studies and pioneering the concept of co-locating environmental and natural resources agencies to the TAMU-CC campus. As a committed steward and scientist, Dr. Tunnell balances research, instruction, and publishing with his administration activities.


Additional Activities: Dr. Tunnell is an educator at heart. During his career with the University, he has taught 13 different courses. He works closely with his associates and actively supports a wide range of environmental initiatives. In 2007, he was recognized by the University as an Outstanding Research Scholar.


Research Focus and Interests: Dr. Tunnell leverages his research to maximize the information available on the Gulf of Mexico. He is researching the Biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico working with 140 authors/taxonomists from 80 institutions in 15 countries. He is leading the initiative to update Bulletin 89, a comprehensive research series. And, he is conducting research focusing on coastal and marine environments across the southeast for NOAA.

Selected Publications: Throughout his career, Dr. Tunnell has been committed to publishing his works through journals, articles, and books. Recently, key volumes have been completed and become available through the Texas A&M University Press. As his work continues with updating Bulletin 89, those interested in the Gulf will have even more resources available.

Tunnell, J.W., Jr., J. Andrews, N. Barrera, F. Moretzsohn. 2010. Encyclopedia of Texas Sea Shells. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.


Tunnell, J.W., Jr. (editor) 2009. Center for Coastal Studies: The First 25 Years, 1984-2009. Center for Coastal Studies, College of Science and Technology, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas. 172 pp.


Tunnell, J.W. Jr., E.A. Chavez, and K. Withers. 2007. Coral Reefs of the Southern Gulf of Mexico. Texas A&M University Press. College Station, Texas.


Tunnell, J.W. Jr. 2005. Biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico project. Pp. 285-286 in P. Miloslavich and E. Klein (eds.), Caribbean Marine Biodiversity : The Known and the Unknown. DEStech Publications, USA.


Tunnell, J.W. Jr. and S.A. Earle. 2004. Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies: Initiatives in Marine Science Research. Proceedings of 55th Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, Xel-Ha, Quintana Roo, Mexico, pp. 132-141.

Tunnell, J.W. Jr. and F.W. Judd (eds.) 2002. The Laguna Madre of Texas and Tamaulipas - A Compendium. Texas A&M University Press, College Station. 346 pp.