Dr. Wes Tunnell


O: HRI 318C
P: (361) 825-2055
F: (361) 825-2050 
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Job title: Endowed Chair of Biodiversity and Conservation Science and Professor Emeritus


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, seashells of Texas, oil spills in the marine environment, and biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico, 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 18 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: Although Dr. Tunnell retired in 2013, he continues on at half-time at HRI, primarily leading our two book series, and handling HRI's international work and cooperative agreements with Mexico and Cuba. He still has research interest in the reefs and banks of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as someday implementing a Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Report Card.

Selected Publications: Throughout his career, Dr. Tunnell has been committed to publishing his works through journals, articles, and books. He has published over 100 articles, book chapters, and proceedings papers, as well as 5 books, and he has two other books in press.


Tunnell, J.W., Jr. and E.A. Chavez. 2013. Coral Reef Management and Conservation in the Southern Gulf of Mexico. Pp 305-318 in J.W. Day and A. Yanez-Arancibia (eds). Gulf of Mexico: Origin, Waters and Biota, Volume IV Ecosystem-Based Management. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas. 


Tunnell, J.W., Jr. 2010. History of the Center for Coastal Studies, Gulf of Mexico Science, Special Edition - Gulf of Mexico Marine Labs 23 (1&2): 42-55.


Tunnell, J.W., Jr. 2010. History of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Gulf of Mexico Science, Special Edition - Gulf of Mexico Marine Labs 23 (1&2): 56-70.

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