Ben Shepard is a Student Research Assistant for the Oyster Recycling Program and Marine Resource Development groups at HRI. Ben has previously interned with Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) in 2018 where he became familiar with fisheries sampling techniques and worked with the Environmental Regulations and Policies division where he expanded his understanding of permitting and ocean law in Texas. He has also conducted rookery island bird surveys (where he captured a photo of a pink flamingo found in Port Lavaca during a survey was featured in the New York Times.) During his studies at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, Ben will be working towards his masters degree and PhD. Ben has future plans to develop and operate his own aquaculture business.