Dr. Wes Tunnell and Son Jace Tunnell Honored for Conservation Commitment

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Dr. Wes Tunnell and Jace Tunnell

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Endowed Chair for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and Professor Emeritus Dr. Wes Tunnell and his son, Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve Director Jace Tunnell were honored for their dual dedication to working in Gulf of Mexico conservation.

The father-son duo were honored Thursday, March 9, by CCA-Texas at their annual Corpus Christi Chapter Banquet. Dr. Wes Tunnell received the Conservation Lifetime Achievement Award and Jace Tunnell was honored as Conservationist of the Year.

HRI Chair and Professor Emeritus Dr. Wes Tunnell is a marine ecologist and biologist focusing primarily on coastal and coral reef ecosystems, and has been studying the banks off South Texas since his graduate research work in the late 1960s.  He is founder and former Director of the Center for Coastal Studies, and he assisted in the development of the Harte Research Institute, served as its first Associate Director and helped design its building. Wes also assisted in the development of two Bachelor of Science degree programs along with four master’s degree and two doctoral programs at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Wes was also instrumental in establishing seven graduate student scholarships in the Center for Coastal Studies. An educator at heart, he has advised or co-advised 70 M.S. students, 7 Ph.D. students and 4 post-doctoral research associates. Throughout his career, Wes has been committed to publishing his works through journals, articles, and books. He has published over 115 articles, book chapters, and proceedings papers, as well as 7 books.

Jace Tunnell is the Director of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas where he has been since 2014, focusing on habitat protection, conservation, and environmental education and outreach. Prior to the Reserve, Jace worked at the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program as Director of Research and Planning, restoring habitats through restoration and managing water quality initiatives throughout the Coastal Bend. Jace also serves as president of the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation, and in 2015 he was awarded the Conservation & Environmental Stewardship Award for the Coastal Bend. In 2016, Jace was honored with the Making Waves award for his work in directing and producing “All the Cups,” a video about preventing trash from reaching our oceans, at HRI's first-ever BLUE Gulf Film Competition.

 In 2015 the two collaborated on a book on archaeological sites around the Coastal Bend region, "Pioneering Archaeology in the Texas Coastal Bend."