In 2006, Dr. Montagna joined the HRI Team. He focuses on how organisms control and regulate marine ecosystems and coastal environments. This work is critical in guiding resource management decisions. He and his team closely examine bottom-living organisms and the various attributes of water quality. The increasingly important relationships between humans and the environment are considered in detail through his studies as he looks at the environmental flows, nutrients, and the ultimate impact on marine life.
He adapts his research to the real world by building relationships with business and industry. In the fall of 2009, "Shell Bank," the oyster shell recycling program, launched in partnership with local restaurants and the Port of Corpus Christi. Projects such as these recognize the need for cooperation and education of all of the stakeholders.
Dr. Montagna shares his expertise with a broad range of organizations. He has initiated conferences and events focused on freshwater inflow into the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems. He received the Chairman's Award, for extended commitment and extraordinary effectiveness in preserving our rich coastal heritage from the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation. He is a member of the Texas Environmental Flows Science Advisory Committee, which is guiding development of flow standards in all Texas rivers and bays. And, he has worked with numerous regional, state and national groups to address critical estuarine issues.
Research Focus and Interests
Through his work, Dr. Montagna incorporates a long-term viewpoint. His research to understand the response of estuary ecosystems and organisms such as mollusks, crustaceans, and polychaetes, to freshwater inflow is accomplished by tracking the level of freshwater inflow, nutrients, sediments, and water column characteristics in the bays. One concern, for example, is the occurrence and effects of hypoxic (or "dead") zones and their effects on organisms. The goal of his research is to develop strategies to maintain bay productivity and health. For example, the CAMEO Project will bring together all of the Harte Research Institute's disciplines to address critical freshwater inflow understanding. He works with students and researchers to ensure both effective learning and results.
Dr. Montagna has demonstrated his commitment to sharing his research and knowledge. He has participated in more than 180 publications and technical reports. Because of the continued emphasis on understanding the relationship of freshwater to long-term health in the Gulf of Mexico by a broad range of interests, his perspectives and research are critical.