Harte Research Institute Annual Report 2020

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LARRY MCKINNEY, PH.D. Former Senior Executive Director There has never been a year like 2020, and for the most part I hope we never see another one like it. I am sure we all have been affected by COVID-19, either directly, or through someone we know. It is difficult to even think about other changes and important events as a result, but time and the change that come with it waits for no one. HRI’s 20th anniversary has turned out to be more than an important milestone in the growth and evolution of the Institute. My retirement, along with that of Dr. Paul Montagna and Dr. Richard McLaughlin, mark the end of HRI’s first generation of senior leadership and the beginning of another. Paul and I will remain for a while, focusing on a few topics very dear to each of us that we want to make sure are completed. Rich, on the other hand, moves to southern California and the life of a beach bum — he was always the smarter of the three of us. As the Chair for Gulf Strategies, I will be working on a National Academy of Science Committee looking at long-term environmental trends in the Gulf and helping launch HRI’s oyster conservation initiative. What is exciting to me is the cadre of new chairs, researchers, and students that take our place and the new energy and new ideas that they bring to HRI. Dr. David Yoskowitz, our new Senior Executive Director, is a seasoned researcher and academic whose reputation is well established, both regionally and nationally. The times to come, recovering from COVID-19 in a new political climate, will be challenging, and in my opinion, he is the right person in the right time and place to make sure the Institute continues to thrive. Our five (yes, five) newest Chairs are equally talented and accomplished. When joined with our now senior chairs Dr. Greg Stunz and Dr. Jim Gibeaut I think we have the perfect synergy to take on whatever opportunity comes open or whatever problems that must be addressed to ensure a healthy and productive Gulf of Mexico. If you are part of HRI or one of our many supporters and well-wishers, be assured that HRI will continue on its mission and meet Ed Harte’s simple admonition to make a difference. Simple but powerful words that in the right hands and with the right tools can create something like HRI. Dr. Wes Tunnell and Ed Harte may no longer be here to see what they began, but I know they would be happy to see where we are headed. For me, to have been part of HRI and see it continue to accelerate into the future with a cadre of young, talented, and dedicated researchers and students is the best reward possible for my own 50 years of trying to make a difference.

Former Senior Executive Director



DAVID YOSKOWITZ, PH.D. Senior Executive Director It’s been strange taking on the leadership of the Harte Research Institute in the middle of a pandemic when so much of what we do is meeting and working with our colleagues and stakeholders. It has changed how we all do business, and it has impacted our personal lives. But we are resilient — and at HRI we have kept doing as much of the field and lab work that we can with several modifications. Dr. Larry McKinney — now the HRI Chair for Gulf Strategies — has led us through some tumultuous times over his tenure as Senior Executive Director but he has left the Institute with a sterling reputation and in a strong position for continued growth and impact. We have also had other changes in the senior leadership. Our first Endowed Chair, Dr. Richard McLaughlin, retired in January of 2021 and moved to San Diego, California, to pick up where he left off in his youth, minus the surfing. Rich was an instrumental part of the transdisciplinary approach that defines the way we do our work and the conscience of the Institute. Dr. Paul Montagna, our first Endowed Chair in Ecosystem Science and Modeling, has stepped back just a little bit to become the HRI Chair for HydroEcology. He will be focusing on his passion of working on freshwater inflows into our bays and estuaries and their impacts on the environment and economy. I am happy to announce that Dr. Dale Gawlik has joined us to become our Endowed Chair for Conservation and Biodiversity. As an ornithologist, Dale brings a background and approach that integrates our natural and human systems to create science-driven solutions. We have also brought on Dr. Xinping Hu as our new HRI Chair for Ecosystem Science and Modeling. Already a colleague on the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus, Xinping’s research will help us to continue to advance our research into the environmental impacts of climate change on our coastal ecosystems.



Transitions provide opportunity, and as we move forward there are several areas where we will be focusing specific efforts that will help amplify our impact. I look forward to working with you — our supporters and stakeholders — as we move on these initiatives over the next couple of years. Please know that my door (or for now, my phone, or my webcam via Zoom) is open to you. I invite your ideas and energy as we continue to make a difference for the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.

Senior Executive Director

wenty ears

On September 19, 2000, Corpus Christi philanthropist and newspaper publisher Ed Harte announced the gift that would be his legacy. Harte was an avid birder with an interest in conservation and had already led several major campaigns to protect and preserve large areas of Padre and Mustang Islands as national and state parks. But the as the story goes, he was given a copy of Sylvia Earle’s book Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans, and became increasingly concerned about the state of his own home sea, the Gulf of Mexico. He eventually endowed what is known today as the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Harte gathered Earle, the late Dr. Wes Tunnell, and other leaders in marine science, education, and conservation, and tasked them with building a new kind of institute that would not only study the Gulf but fuse social sciences and policy with several different disciplines of marine and coastal research to create real solutions for Gulf problems. Twenty years later, the Harte Research Institute has also become the legacy of many of those early leaders and researchers who took a chance on coming on board to help build this new, burgeoning research institute. Six research chairs became a dozen, a staff of dozens became hundreds, the Institute tackled a major disaster in the Deepwater Horizon blowout, handles millions in grants annually, and we’re bursting at the seams of the building that seemed so big so long ago. A lot of change happened in those 20 years, and more is ahead. But we look forward to building on the legacy Harte began many years ago to ensure a brighter future for the Gulf of Mexico he loved.


HRI Leadership


Project Highlights


Event Highlights Donors


Staff and Student News


Harte by the Numbers


Our Donors


Special Announcement



Fulfilling the Dream

Dr. Larry McKinney Retires Dr. Larry McKinney, HRI’s Senior Executive Director for more than a decade, stepped down from his leadership role at the Institute in August of 2020. Dr. McKinney will be staying on as the Institute’s new HRI Chair for Gulf Strategies. The first scientist to lead HRI as director after its founding in 2000, McKinney was hired in 2008. He was uniquely qualified to lead a Gulf of Mexico institute bridging scientific research and marine policy after spending half of his career managing Texas fish and wildlife resources with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the other half as an academic researcher. Over his 50-year career as a researcher and resource manager, McKinney has secured some $186 million in research and conservation funding and spent nearly seven and a half months underwater, completing over 8,000 dives. While the bulk of that work has been in the Gulf of Mexico, he has worked in the Arctic, Antarctic, Caribbean and even the Aral Sea, as well as Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. There is no Texas bay, estuary or lagoon untouched by McKinney’s research. During his tenure at HRI, McKinney completed the recruiting of the first team of endowed chairs, as envisioned by the Institute’s founders — hiring Socio-Economics Chair and now Senior Executive Director Dr. David Yoskowitz and Ocean Health and Fisheries Chair Dr. Greg Stunz. He grew the Institute from a total of 37 staff and students with a $2.9 million annual budget in 2008 to 154 staff and students and an annual 01 HRI LEADERSHIP

budget of nearly $27 million in 2020. He significantly expanded HRI’s international reach, establishing two international chairs — one in Cuba and one in Mexico. McKinney led HRI in its efforts responding to the Gulf’s largest environmental disaster, Deepwater Horizon; revising fisheries management of recreational species at both regional and national levels; dealing with sea level rise in Texas and the Gulf; improving coastal community and ecosystem resilience; securing environmental water for Texas bays and estuaries; and, most recently, developing the Texas Coast Ecosystem Health Report Card evaluating the environmental health of the Texas Gulf Coast.

“McKinney has secured some $186 million in research and conservation funding...” McKinney’s 50-year career as a student of the Gulf of Mexico began as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, where he later earned his doctorate, studying the impact of shell dredging on whooping cranes in 1969. He later used that research to end that destructive practice in Texas. McKinney spent 23 years at the TPWD, where he became the agency’s youngest ever Division Director, and eventually the longest tenured Director, before he retired in 2008 to move to HRI. At TPWD, McKinney was a key architect

in building the agency’s Resource Protection Division, Endangered Species, GIS and Legal Programs. He oversaw all outreach and education programs for many years, eventually being named Senior Director for Aquatic Resources and Director for Coastal Fisheries. While at TPWD, McKinney directed the final stages of recovery programs for red drum and spotted seatrout; oversaw the most significant growth period ever for Texas saltwater fishing; and instituted regional management for Texas sportfish. McKinney was Texas’ first trustee for natural resources and helped initiate the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) program for the state of Texas. Under his guidance the program restored more than 10,000 acres of wetlands, including one of the U.S.'s largest-ever NRDA restoration projects, Lavaca Bay. McKinney led development of the fish and wildlife valuation program, recovering millions of dollars from poachers and polluters to restore Texas fisheries and habitat. He oversaw implementation of the shrimp license buyback effort that reduced harmful impacts of that industry. He also established over thirty marine protected areas and launched the Texas Coastal Paddling Trails. He and his colleague Dr. Bill Harvey mapping out and putting up trail markers themselves established the state’s first paddling trail in Lighthouse Lakes, near Port Aransas, Texas. McKinney developed successful adaptive regulatory processes for coastal shrimp farms, management of invasive aquatic vegetation, and development of offshore aquaculture. During his tenure, he directed oil spill response for TPWD and chaired the EPA Science Advisory Committee for the Gulf of Mexico Program.



DAVID YOSKOWITZ Senior Executive Director


Amplifying Our Gulf Impact Dr. David Yoskowitz takes Director’s Chair With the COVID-19 pandemic extending with no end in sight, a major election, and a climate of anxiety hanging over the U.S. economy, it’s a strange time to be changing jobs, much less taking over the leadership of a major public research institute. Dr. David Yoskowitz is almost six months into his new position as Senior Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. He was chosen after a national search and took up mantle on August 31, 2020, becoming the third leader of our prestigious institute. When he saw this moment in his mind originally, Yoskowitz said he’d planned to hit the road soon after taking the director’s chair to begin his goal of “amplifying HRI’s impact” by connecting with major Institute partners Gulf-wide, nationally, and internationally and forging new relationships through in-person meetings and personal connections. “I’d hoped to take advantage of that newness to forge some connections,” he said. “But these are strange days, and it’s left me with a lot of time to work on things here at the Institute. It’s more important than ever to ensure we can deliver work that is impactful. The Institute is in great health thanks to the work by former Senior Executive Director Dr. Larry McKinney, and we want to stay that way.” Yoskowitz has strong ties to both the Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) campus and HRI. He’s been on the Island University campus for over 18 years, holding both faculty and administrative positions. He served as HRI’s Associate Director for Research, Policy, and Development and is the founding Endowed Chair for Socio-Economics. In addition,

Yoskowitz also held the position of Chief Economist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2014-2015. In his new role, Yoskowitz has been spending time working on his future plans for HRI, forging new (socially-distanced) connections, and meeting with the staff in his new capacity as director to understand their needs. And the Zoom calls — there have been a lot of those, he added. But mostly he’s been forging ahead on some key ideas for the future of HRI: he hopes to integrate engineering into HRI’s effective interdisciplinary research model; he’s moving forward on the Institute’s new Center for Environment and Economy in downtown Corpus Christi; and he wants to work on the Institute’s brand and in doing so, push out on a major institutional capital campaign. Integrating an engineering component into HRI’s research programs, whether through partnerships on the TAMU-CC campus or with other institutions, will add a new dimension to our interdisciplinary research strategy – pushing us towards a transdisciplinary approach, Yoskowitz explained. “Our approach to solving problems is developing science-driven solutions, and to do that we need that implementation component,” Yoskowitz said. “That’s what incorporating engineering does, it really helps to complete the model that we use.” Expanding that vision of HRI’s mission — science-driven solutions for Gulf of Mexico problems — is also the goal of the Center for Environment and Economy, which Yoskowitz describes as a solutions

design studio that will be headquartered in a new university property located in downtown Corpus Christi. There, HRI and TAMU-CC will invite community partners from government, commercial entities, non-profit organizations and elsewhere to come in with critical regional problems that can be tackled with a team approach. “The only way this works is if members of the community that have these issues are working with us to solve the problem,” Yoskowitz said. “That’s why it’s in a location that takes us off campus and into the community-at-large.” Yoskowitz said he also hopes to build HRI’s brand as the Institute celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, explaining that he wants to create a “strong emotional connection” between the Institute and its community, stakeholders, and partners. “We’ve built the reputation,” he said. “Now we need to build the brand. It’s an opportunity to forge connections and educate the broad Gulf community – and many more – about what we do.” That can only help the Institute as it embarks on a major capital campaign in the next year that aims to grow the Institute even further beyond the vision that was established with Ed Harte’s founding gift. “We’ve grown quickly even beyond the original ideas and expectations for what HRI was going to be,” Yoskowitz said. “When people are thinking about the most pressing issues of the day when it comes to watershed, coastal, and marine problems, we want them to think of us. Whether that be in the U.S., Mexico, Cuba or beyond. We can take our science-driven solutions and apply them worldwide. Ed Harte gave us the gift and the vision, and we want to take that and continue to amplify our impact.” 04




Responseat Harte

Science Doesn’t Stop

Like many others acting to control the spread of COVID-19, HRI faced new challenges during the pandemic and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency stay-at-home order, which was issued March 31 and lasted through much of the spring, with the community continuing to socially distance through the summer and fall. While the institute prioritized keeping HRI’s researchers, staff, students and community safe above all else, it also had an institutional — and in many cases, personal — mission to continue to conduct research in the face of adversity. That’s where we came up with our informal pandemic motto: “Science doesn’t stop for social distancing.” While most employees and students were sent home to find new ways to work and study to keep safe, workers with time-sensitive lab or field work found new ways to conduct their duties safely in the lab and outdoors. Some people couldn’t do their work at home and required the use of specialized research equipment only available at HRI to do their job and to maintain the facility over the long term for scientific research. Essential workers required to come into the building worked six feet apart and called in safety crews after they left the building to ensure rooms were decontaminated. 05 PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

Ken Hayes, Laboratory Manager for the Coastal Ecosystem Processes Group, continued to work in the building through the stay-at-home order, and said over seven weeks of quarantine he processed over 2,100 organic and inorganic samples — he chalked it up to fewer meetings and interruptions, and said he was happy he could continue his work — safely — through the pandemic. “I enjoy working, being productive. I like the work I do and that is why I took the job here at TAMU-CC. There are also deadlines that needed to be met for my boss (grants, papers and reports), students (data and sampling) and my own thesis work,” Hayes said. Many of HRI’s ongoing projects depend on continuous collection of long-term environmental data. It is daily research that is not only essential to helping us understand how the environment is changing and responding to weather and climatic events, but to allows students to continue their education. That was another reason we considered it essential to keep our scientists working — safely. “Losing even one day of data can limit our ability to perform ecological forecasting and make future discoveries,” said HRI HydroEcology Chair Dr. Paul Montagna.

Building Resilience in the Coastal Bend

Katya Wowk, Ph.D.

Billions of dollars in federal relief disaster funds are available to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but small rural communities like those that make up the majority of the Coastal Bend often find themselves without the resources or people power to even apply for much-needed relief. HRI Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence Dr. Katya Wowk conducted a survey of small businesses in rural Coastal Bend counties including Aransas, Bee, Refugio and San Patricio to try to get a picture of the economic impact of the pandemic. The survey was completed with a rapid-response grant from the TAMU-CC Research and Innovation office's COVID-19 Just-in-Time Funding. The team surveyed nearly 500 local businesses by phone, asking questions about COVID-19 -related revenue loss and whether businesses had to reduce their staffing to cope with loss of income. Businesses were surveyed through the months of July and August, and preliminary findings reveal that while impacts for about one-third of businesses may be significant, many Coastal Bend businesses had been spared the worst. However, the report cautioned that because the pandemic is still ongoing, this could change. Wowk is continuing to study the survey data and will work with communities to find the best methods towards economic stability and resiliency in the rural Coastal Bend. Wowk is an experienced expert in disaster resiliency and recovery and has partnered with the Coastal Bend Council of Governments (CBCOG) to create the Regional Resilience Partnership (RRP) to help rural communities bounce back after Hurricane Harvey. That partnership is also working to tackle issues related to the pandemic. Wowk prepared the report with the help of student research assistant Maxwell L. McClure, a TAMU-CC history undergraduate student.

Is the Coast Clear? Michael Wetz, Ph.D.

At the peak of quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, an image went viral on social media of the canals in Venice. As people stayed home, without the usual bustling human traffic of tourists, the city’s waters were left clear and shimmering, the bottom clearly visible – a picture that left many people around the world wondering if nature was doing better without us. Dr. Michael Wetz, HRI Chair for Coastal Ecosystem Processes, received a rapid response grant from Texas Sea Grant that allowed him to examine water quality data collected during the quarantine to try to determine whether our waters changed or even improved while most people stayed home from the beach to wait out the pandemic. Using water quality data collected on the Texas coast during the period of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency stay-at-home order, which was issued March 31 and lasted through the month of April, Wetz and other TAMU-CC researchers plan to compare data from that period to the same time in years past to determine how a lack of human activity might have impacted water quality. 06


Building a Resilient Coastal Bend Building a Resilient Coastal Bend

HRI researchers are bringing their expertise in disaster recovery and mitigation to help HRI researchers are bringing theirresilience expertise in Coastal Bend communities build disaster recovery mitigation to help after disasters likeand 2017’s Hurricane Harvey Coastal Bend communities build resilience and the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in after disasters 2017’s small town andlike rural areas.Hurricane Harvey and the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in small town rural areas. Texas A&Mand University-Corpus Christi signed a memorandum of understanding to establish Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi signed the Regional Resilience Partnership (RRP) a memorandum understanding with the Coastalof Bend Council of to establish the Regional Resilience Partnership (RRP) Governments CBCOG, an association of city withcounty the Coastal Bend Council and governments acrossof the 11-county Governments CBCOG, an association area that surrounds the Corpus Christi of city and county governments across the 11-county metropolitan area.HRI's Geospatial Sciences area led thatby surrounds theGibeaut Corpuswill Christi Lab Dr. James build the metropolitanInformation area. Geographic System (GIS)

platform for this project, and help lead The RRP also an $800,000 education and received training initiatives on grant this GIS from the U.S. Department of Commerce technology. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to also develop a Geographic Information The RRP received an $800,000 grant System platform for of Aransas, Bee, from the(GIS) U.S. Department Commerce Refugio, and San PatricioAdministration counties that will Economic Development aid in understanding economic riskfor and (EDA) to develop a GIS platform Aransas, resilience in those areas. This EDA grantthat will Bee, Refugio, and San Patricio counties be matched with $204,790economic in local investment. will aid in understanding risk and resilience in those areas. This EDA grant will GISmatched is a technology that uses scientific data to be with $204,790 in local investment. help communities develop online mapping toolsisaccessible to everyone improvedata to GIS a technology that usestoscientific understanding of flood andonline other coastal risk help communities develop mapping factors when planning for future development. tools accessible to everyone to improve 07 PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

understanding of flood and other coastal risk factors when planning for future development. The Partnership will offer virtual training sessions for localwill stakeholders, local The Partnership offer virtualhelp training governments secure and administer sessions for local stakeholders, help disaster local resilience funds, andand helpadminister TAMU-CC apply governments secure disaster existing science real-worldapply resilience funds, and and data help to TAMU-CC projects science that willand build thetoresilience existing data real-worldof the Coastal Bend to better withstand disasters, projects that will build the resilience of the including the to COVID-19 crisis. HRI Senior Coastal Bend better withstand disasters, Research the Scientist Dr. Katya Wowk including COVID-19 crisis. HRI leads Seniorthe Partnership on behalf the Island Research Scientist Dr. of Katya WowkUniversity. leads the Partnership on behalf of the Island University. There are still billions of dollars in grants dedicated to helping There are still billionsHurricane of dollars in grants Harvey-impacted communities dedicated to helping Hurricane rebuild and prepare for futurecommunities disasters, andrebuild now, even Harvey-impacted and more aidforis future available to helpand communities prepare disasters, now, even recover COVID-19. Butcommunities basic challenges more aidfrom is available to help like people-power or access expertise have recover from COVID-19. Buttobasic challenges beenpeople-power huge hurdles or foraccess small to and rural have like expertise communities struggling to get been huge hurdles for small andback ruralon their feet, Wowk said, and they’re communities struggling to getgetting back onleft their behind. feet, Wowk said, and they’re getting left behind. “What we’ve seen and heard when visiting with officials theheard region is that they “What we’ve around seen and when visiting don’tofficials want oraround need another plan,” Wowk said. with the region is that they “Instead, needanother technical expertise don’t wantthey or need plan,” Wowktosaid. fine-tune they and implement existing plans,toand “Instead, need technical expertise people inand the implement seat to do the job.” plans, and fine-tune existing people in the seat to do the job.”

HRI and Center for Water Supply Studies Win Grants

HRI and TAMU-CC researchers have been awarded nearly $2 million in Texas Coastal Management Plan grants. The Texas Coastal Management Program (CMP), funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) and managed by the Texas Land Commissioner and the Texas General Land Office, focuses on the state’s coastal natural resource areas. Each year the CMP awards millions of dollars in grant money to state and local entities to fund projects on the Texas Coast that enhance the state’s natural resources.

The projects include:

An integrated assessment of nutrient loadings to Baffin Bay, Texas

Assessing coastal change in support of the 2023 Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan

Shell Bank: Enhancing coastal resiliency via shell recycling, restoration and community partnerships

This project will identify the sources of nutrient pollution in Baffin Bay in order to prioritize projects to restore the health of the entire watershed. High levels of nutrients can trigger explosions of algal growth that impact the system as a whole, causing fish kills and damaging habitat quality. The team will conduct coordinated sampling in the bay and watershed across an 18-month period, and then feed that data into a computer model of the watershed that will help to determine any hot spots for nutrient loadings.

The Texas Coast hosts a network of cities and towns, oil and gas production, heavy industry, shipping, commercial and recreational fishing, agriculture and tourism businesses. But this human infrastructure is nestled on a low-lying coastal plain, a dynamic system of coastal features and watersheds that are vulnerable to hazards like storm surge, rain flooding, wind, and coastal erosion. This project will use mapping and modeling technology to show how natural and human systems are linked, assess coastal change, sea level rise impacts, and storm surge impacts over time, and examine how these changes will affect human infrastructure in the future. This work is part of the Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan 2023 efforts.

This grant will continue the activities of HRI’s successful oyster recycling and conservation outreach program “Sink Your Shucks,” which takes oyster shells from local seafood restaurants and places them back in the estuary to create new reef habitat. The program will enroll two new seafood restaurants into the shell recycling process and integrate citizen science into the program by recruiting a certified aquatic science teacher to visit schools, special programs, and events to provide support and resources. A research component will examine the performance of restored reefs that are fished versus reefs that are preserved in their restored state.

Grant Total:

$1,189,414 Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Wetz HRI Chair for Coastal Ecosystem Processes Co-Principal Investigators: The TAMU-CC Center for Water Supply Studies including Director Dr. Dorina Murgulet; Dr. Mohamed Ahmed; Dr. Hussain Abdulla; and Dr. Joseph Felix

Grant Total:


Grant Total:


Principal Investigator: Dr. Jim Gibeaut, Endowed Chair for Coastal and Marine Geospatial Sciences

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Pollack HRI Chair for Coastal Conservation and Restoration

HRI Lead Co-Investigators: Mukesh Subedee, Research Data Scientist; Marissa Dotson, Research and Reporting Analyst

HRI Co-Principal Investigator: Gail Sutton, Associate Director for Institutional Initiatives, Finance and Administration 08 PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

One ShellTime at a

Oysters are a key indicator of the health of our coastal systems. They filter water in our bays and estuaries, protect shorelines from erosion, and provide key habitat for a variety of important coastal fisheries. They’re also in a major decline — it’s estimated that 90 percent of oyster reef habitats have been lost, compared to historic numbers. HRI is committed to restoring the health and abundance of Texas’ historic reef system. Here are some of our current research initiatives, with more on the horizon:


Growing Industry

Hurricane Harvey proved to be one of the most expensive natural disasters on record for both Texas and the United States. Major economic drivers and activities along the Texas coast were severely damaged; one of the most significantly impacted was the oyster fishery. This led the state to legalize a new oyster aquaculture industry to help fishermen get back on their feet. HRI Marine Resource Development Chair Dr. Joe Fox has deployed a commercial-scale research site in Matagorda Bay that allows scientists to test and evaluate different oyster aquaculture methods for effectiveness on the Texas coast. This will allow HRI researchers to collect and share real data on growth and survival rates of farmed oysters in Texas as the state builds its new industry, and will work in tandem with a planned future hatchery. This project is sponsored by NOAA and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Building Data-based Tools Scientists from three of HRI’s research disciplines are working in collaboration to create an oyster aquaculture suitability index (ASI), a data-based tool which will use actual oyster farm inputs to determine oyster aquaculture capacity within Texas bays and help identify suitable farming sites. This system, employing the aquaculture expertise of Dr. Joe Fox, the long-term oyster monitoring data of experts like HRI Coastal Conservation and Restoration Chair Dr. Jennifer Pollack, and the GIS mapping expertise of Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr. Anthony Reisinger, will be able to predict carrying capacity for any location within a bay based upon long-term data sets for various environment/chemical variables. Establishing an aquaculture planning and siting tool for specific areas within individual bays will provide science-based support for the development of rules and regulations governing oyster farming in Texas.

Restoring Critical Habitat St. Charles Bay has experienced high erosion rates and shoreline loss over the past few decades, endangering critical habitats for foraging, feeding and nesting for coastal bird species. HRI coastal restoration expert Dr. Jennifer Pollack is leading a team in the construction of an oyster breakwater living shoreline which will restore shallow oyster reef habitat along the shoreline in the Mission-Aransas Estuary in St. Charles Bay. About two sections totaling 10 acres of reef have been constructed so far, with three more construction phases to go. In addition to reducing wave energies along the shoreline, additional benefits of the project include habitat creation for oysters, fish, and crustaceans, as well as support for recreational fishing. The living shoreline restoration will also be monitored quarterly after construction to assess environmental conditions and development of the restored oyster population. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, NOAA, the Texas General Land Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ed Rachal Foundation. 10 PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS


Living Coast The

To kick off the Institute’s 20th anniversary celebration, HRI and The Performing Arts Center (PAC) at TAMU-CC presented "The Living Coast," a unique multimedia performance by the band Montopolis celebrating the Texas Gulf Coast. The event was supported by a Texas Commission on the Arts grant. Montopolis is an indie chamber music group from Austin. Their music incorporates country and folk into modern classical arrangements with inventive instrumentation. Their most recent works are themed around ecologically important sites in Texas, including Enchanted Rock, Big Bend and the Texas Gulf Coast, and incorporate video and interactive live storytelling to draw in the audience. "The Living Coast" featured a unique mix of history, ecology, storytelling, sound and video recordings of the Gulf Coast and music to help portray the beauty and challenges of living on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.


Changing Seas


Included in HRI’s suite of 20th anniversary festivities was the presentation of Changing Seas on local PBS station KEDT-TV. Changing Seas premiered Thursday, April 9th at 7:30pm CST and aired weekly through early 2021. The Emmy Award-winning nature documentary series focuses on timely issues affecting the world's oceans and goes to sea with explorers and scientists as they use cutting-edge technology to study the Earth's last frontier.

The Gulf Podcast When Dr. Jen Brown, Associate Professor of History at TAMU-CC, approached HRI with an idea to create a repository of oral history interviews about the Texas Gulf Coast in the form of a podcast, the answer was a resounding “YES!” Season One of “The Gulf” debuted in Fall 2019 with episodes highlighting stories about the people and nature woven into the Texas Gulf Coast’s history. “The Gulf” is written, narrated, and produced by Dr. Brown and proudly sponsored by HRI. It can be enjoyed on a number of popular podcast platforms.

20th Anniversary Gifts

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have interrupted our plans for in-person 20th anniversary celebrations, it couldn’t prevent us from commemorating the historic milestone with special memorabilia. HRI employees, friends, and supporters received anniversary keepsakes thanking them for their support of HRI over these 20 years. 12 EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

Shark Week LIVE!

Each year HRI celebrates Shark Week by heading out into the community to host Shark Week LIVE!, an event where our scientists watch Shark Week specials together with Coastal Bend residents at a local establishment. HRI’s Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, home to the largest shark-tagging program in the western Gulf of Mexico, has been featured on five different Shark Week specials. To keep our researchers, staff, and friends in the Coastal Bend safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, HRI couldn't hold our annual event this year, but we didn't want to miss the chance to share our work with local children during Shark Week. We partnered with Driscoll Children's Hospital to donate some of the gear and educational materials we usually give away at our Shark Week LIVE! event so their young patients could celebrate Shark Week with us. Our new Senior Executive Director Dr. David Yoskowitz and HRI shark researcher Dr. Kesley Gibson, a featured Shark Week Expert, masked up and visited Driscoll Children's Hospital on August 11, 2020, to drop off some shark-themed goodies and cold-brewed local coffee donated by Driftwood Coffee Co. and Coffee Waves for the hard-working medical staff.


Tunnell CBBF Award

On November 12, 2019, former HRI Endowed Chair for Biodiversity and Conservation Science Dr. John "Wes" Tunnell, Jr. was posthumously honored with a Legacy Award for his lifetime of service to protecting and preserving Coastal Bend natural resources at the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation’s annual Conservation and Environmental Stewardship Banquet. The award was accepted on his behalf by his family. The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation commemorated Dr. Tunnell as “a true academic inspiration and mentor to thousands of students. He established the Center for Coastal Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and was the heart and soul of the Harte Research Institute. He was passionate about science with an unrivaled work ethic. From the academic programs he built to the countless lives he influenced, Wes’s contributions to the scientific community will be felt for generations to come.”

Girls Discover STEM

On November 18, 2019, HRI welcomed 21 female students from West Oso Junior High School for “Girls Discover STEM” — an educational outreach program organized by the Corpus Christi branch of the American Association of University Women. Along with a tour of HRI’s facilities and operations, the students met with female HRI graduate students, directors, and senior researchers to learn about their educational backgrounds and experiences in STEM throughout their careers. The half-day event concluded with students breaking into small groups and rotating through four stations working side-by-side with HRI researchers on hands-on activities highlighting satellite shark tagging, oyster life cycle and habitat, microorganisms found in local benthic ecosystems, and coastal geospatial mapping.

Kesley Gibson Hosts Shark Shop In May of 2020 Dr. Kesley Gibson, Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, connected with shark enthusiasts via Facebook Live for “Shark Shop.” During each episode of the three-part series, Dr. Gibson shared stories of her shark research expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico, recounting her personal experiences working with species like the Shortfin Mako to promote awareness and understanding of shark research and conservation. “Shark Shop” was presented by the Coastal Conservation Association. 14 EVENT HIGHLIGHTS



McLaughlin Retires

Dr. Richard McLaughlin, Endowed Chair for Marine Policy and Law, was the first chair hired to join the staff at HRI in 2005, and “Ed’s favorite chair,” said HRI Associate Director Gail Sutton, referring to the Institute’s namesake and founder, Corpus Christi newspaper publisher Ed Harte. While it was a relatively new concept at the time, Harte was excited about the idea of bringing in a policy expert first to create a new kind of marine research institute on the TAMU-CC campus, one that considered the human aspects of marine environmental issues to make a real-world impact. After 15 years of service, McLaughlin retired from his position at HRI on January 15, 2021. HRI honored McLaughlin at a socially-distanced gathering at the Institute Monday, December 7, 2020. It might seem strange to some that a lawyer would play an essential role in building one of the largest marine research institutes focused on the Gulf of Mexico, but McLaughlin is part of what makes the culture at HRI so unique. “I always thought of Rich and I as the bookends to the Institute,” said HRI Senior Executive Director Dr. David Yoskowitz, an economist who was hired as the Institute’s sixth and final founding chair, occupying its Endowed Chair for Socio-Economics. “Together we brought the human dimensions of research to the Institute, and he and I both felt a deep commitment and need to prove the worth of including this work in our institute’s model.” Before coming to HRI, McLaughlin spent 18 years as a professor of law at the University of Mississippi School of Law. There he taught and researched in a variety of legal areas including property law, admiralty law, international trade law, and environmental law. But McLaughlin said his passion always lay in ocean and coastal law, especially international law of the sea. “Rich McLaughlin was the original HRI Chair and he set a high bar for all those who followed,” said former Senior Executive Director Dr. Larry McKinney, who now serves as the Institute’s Chair for Gulf Strategies. “Rich has been the respected conscience of our enterprise. As an attorney who could have done anything he wanted, I am happy he chose us and the Gulf of Mexico as his focus. All of us who depend on the Gulf and live around it are better off for his dedication and passion.” McLaughlin was invited to apply to the newly created Endowed Chair for Marine Policy and Law by the late Dr. Wes Tunnell, a member of HRI’s founding team, architect of HRI’s mission and vision, and the former associate director. McLaughlin confessed he wasn’t sure about uprooting his career at first, but he was intrigued by the idea of an interdisciplinary marine research institute focused on the Gulf. “(HRI’s) desire to become a multi-disciplinary institute working toward finding solutions to improve the sustainable management of the Gulf of Mexico closely aligned with the research I was doing at the University of Mississippi,” McLaughlin said. “The fact that a 15 STAFF & STUDENT NEWS

centerpiece of their mission was to bring the three nations surrounding the Gulf together to deal with issues collaboratively was tremendously exciting to me. After meeting Wes, TAMU-CC President and HRI’s founding Director, Dr. Robert Furgason, Ed Harte, and others associated with HRI, I immediately knew that I needed to become a part of their vision and after being offered the job moved to Corpus Christi in the summer of 2005.” McLaughlin said some of the highlights of his time at HRI include organizing major meetings and conferences, including: the Law of the Sea Institute Conference on the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean; the International Conference on Sea Level Rise; and the Symposium on Improving Cooperation for a Sustainable Gulf of Mexico after the 2014 Mexican Energy Reforms, which brought together regulators from the United States and Mexico to discuss how to better manage offshore oil and gas development in transboundary areas of the Gulf. McLaughlin is also well-known as an educator on the TAMU-CC campus, teaching his popular annual course in Coastal Management and Ocean Law, and serving on the doctoral and master’s degree committees of over 30 students. “Training students to better understand how policies and laws impact the environmental and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico has also been very important to me during my fifteen years here,” McLaughlin said. “More than 200 graduate students have taken my course and, as a consequence, will move into their professional careers more sensitive and knowledgeable about important legal and policy issues that affect how our coastal and ocean areas are protected and managed.” McLaughlin has also helped to supervise student mentorship and training programs while at HRI, serving as the institutional principal investigator for one of the Institute’s largest grants, NOAA’s Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME), which provides underrepresented students in the marine-related sciences with full funding to complete their doctoral and master’s level degrees. Since the program’s inception in 2016, it has provided funding for tuition, living expenses, travel, and research for 17 HRI graduate students. HRI HRI Chair for HydroEcology Dr. Paul Montagna will take over leadership of that program after McLaughlin's retirement. McLaughlin has also led HRI’s unique Student Workshop on International Coastal and Marine Management (SWIMM), which brings 18 students from Cuba, Mexico and the United States together each year to engage in a 10-day field-intensive workshop in one of the three nations. The goal of the program is to encourage personal and professional collaboration between these international student leaders as they collaborate on a project together. HRI Associate Research Scientist Dr. Mark Besonen, who has co-coordinated SWIMM, will take over as director. McLaughlin said he was proud of the time he spent at HRI serving in his role as a policy expert among scientists, and felt he made a difference as a respected member of the team — though he won’t miss the lawyer jokes made at his expense.“Culminating my career at HRI has been a joy,” McLaughlin said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of professional colleagues and personal friends. In retirement, I plan to return to HRI frequently to continue to work with students and collaborate on various projects.” 16 STAFF & STUDENT NEWS

A New Chapter for Dr. Paul Montagna

After nearly 15 years of service, HRI’s Dr. Paul Montagna has retired from his position as Endowed Chair for Ecosystems and Modeling to take a new position as HRI Chair for HydroEcology. Montagna was one of six founding chairs originally recruited to lead HRI in 2006 and was named a Regents Professor by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. He has broad expertise in marine ecosystems, having worked on all trophic levels, all aquatic systems, and in six of the world’s seven seas. His research is focused on two main topics: environmental flows of water and the fate and effects of offshore oil and gas development. Montagna, who previously spent 20 years at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI), located in Port Aransas, said that he was excited by the idea of working at an interdisciplinary research institute. At the time, he was in the middle of building the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and thought that he would never leave UTMSI. “I was attracted to many things, such as working with social scientists, which provided an opportunity to create whole new fields of inquiry,” Montagna said. “But I found it especially appealing to help create a new institute from the ground up, and to help TAMU-CC grow and expand research and doctoral programs. I thought this was an incredibly unique opportunity to do something really important in a second phase of my career.” Now Montagna is entering the third phase — he began his new appointment as HRI Chair for HydroEcology on September 1, 2020. While his employment status is “retired-active” since he retired from his Endowed Chair, he said there will be emphasis on the “active.” He plans to focus on synthesizing 35 years of environmental flow data and writing a new edition of the book Freshwater Inflow to Texas Bays and Estuaries. He will do both of these with the help of his longtime research partners: Rick Kalke, who has been with him since 1986, and Larry Hyde, with him since 2000. 17 STAFF & STUDENT NEWS

Meet Our New Chairs Dr. Dale E. Gawlik

Endowed Chair for Conservation and Biodiversity

Dr. Dale Gawlik joined the HRI leadership team in January 2021 as the Institute’s new Endowed Chair for Conservation and Biodiversity. He comes to us from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton where he previously served as a professor of biological sciences and as director of the environmental sciences program. As an ornithologist, he brings an interesting new research focus to the Institute. His work focuses on waterbird ecology and conservation, wetland and intertidal ecosystems, restoration ecology, and the use of birds in aquatic ecosystem management. He has published over 80 papers, many focused on how hydrologic processes in coastal and freshwater ecosystems control wading bird populations. Gawlik and his students have developed heron, stork, and ibis habitat models that link bird populations to the hydrologic management and restoration of the Everglades of Florida. He is a Fellow in the American Ornithological Society and serves on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Heron Specialists Group and IUCN Stork, Ibis, and Spoonbill Specialist Group. He also is a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wood Stork Working Group and the International Reddish Egret Working Group. Gawlik has held elected leadership positions in professional ornithological and scientific societies, including the Association of Field Ornithologists, Waterbird Society, Wilson Ornithological Society, and the Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

Dr. Xinping Hu

HRI Chair for Ecosystem Science and Modeling

In September 2020 HRI welcomed Dr. Xinping Hu as its new HRI Chair for Ecosystems and Modeling. Hu comes to HRI from TAMU-CC's Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, where he also serves as an associate professor. Hu’s research focuses on a wide variety of topics that are centered on carbon cycle science in estuarine, coastal, and oceanic environments, and provides science-based information for stakeholders and resource managers to adapt and mitigate impacts. Hu focuses on understanding the dynamics of estuarine and ocean acidification and the controlling factors, in an effort to understand its impact on marine organisms. Hu’s lab employs a multitude of techniques, including in situ and shipboard observations, as well as statistical and numerical modeling to unravel the linkages between changes in the water and the factors that are behind them. His research aims to provide the most up-to-date information to stakeholders including coastal communities, fishing and aquaculture industries, and state and federal agencies for management purposes. As a National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program awardee, Dr. Hu is committed to training the next generation of marine scientists, especially those from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds. 18 STAFF & STUDENT NEWS




Dr. Jennifer Pollack, HRI Chair for Coastal Conservation and Restoration, accepted the role of Chief Editor for Environmental Science for Experimental Results, a new journal published by Cambridge University Press. Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota: Volume 5, Chemical Oceanography was published and released to the public. Originally started by the late Dr. John “Wes” Tunnell, Jr. (HRI co-founder, Former Endowed Chair for Biodiversity and Conservation, and Professor Emeritus), Volume 5 is the final book in the series, which offers a thorough study of the Gulf of Mexico.

Fall 2019

Dr. Kesley Gibson, a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Fisheries and Ocean Health, was published in the journal PLOS ONE for her work involving citizen scientists with land-based shark fishing. Dr. LiHong Su, an Associate Research Scientist with Coastal and Marine Geospatial Sciences, co-authored an article highlighting the mapping of seagrass meadows in Redfish Bay using WorldView-2 satellite imagery in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. Emily Cira, M.S. (now a Ph.D. graduate), a student in the Coastal Ecosystem Processes group, was published in ScienceDirect for her work quantifying the spatial-temporal distribution of Aureoumbra lagunensis or “brown tide” in Baffin Bay.

Dr. Michael Wetz, HRI Chair for Coastal Ecosystem Processes, was promoted to professor by the Texas A&M University Board of Regents. HRI Assistant Director Carmen Osier became licensed as a Certified Public Accountant. Dr. Daniel Coffey, a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Fisheries and Ocean Health, received a 2021 Texas Comprehensive Research Fund Postdoctoral Support Program award from the TAMU-CC Department of Research and Innovation.

Spring 2020

Coastal Conservation and Restoration graduate and NOAA CCME Fellow Meghan Martinez, M.S. was awarded a highly competitive NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship and will be working for two years with the California State Coastal Conservancy in Oakland, California. Coastal Conservation and Restoration undergraduate student Abigail Schulz was awarded a prestigious NOAA José E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions undergraduate scholarship. She was also selected as a NOAA Ernest. F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholar. Dr. Jennifer Pollack and Terry Palmer, M.S. of the Coastal Conservation and Restoration group published an article in Experimental Results examining oyster dredge efficiency in Texas estuaries. The study, “Water Quality Trends in Texas Estuaries,” was published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. Dr. Michael Wetz was a co-author.

Summer 2020

Dr. Paul Montagna and the HydroEcology laboratory published four papers — two examining the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on marine ecosystems and two analyzing ecosystem responses to natural disasters. Coastal Conservation and Restoration Master's student Devin Comba and Coastal Ecosystem Processes Master’s student Molly McBride were awarded scholarships from the Coastal Conservation Association - Texas. HRI students Alexis Neffinger (M.S.), Rachael Klose (M.S.), and Lily Walker (Ph.D.) were each recipients of a National Marine Science Scholarship, a joint effort supported by Shimano and the Coastal Conservation Association. 20 STAFF & STUDENT NEWS

Harte Doctoral Graduates Emily Cira

Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine System Science

Phytoplankton Dynamics in a Eutrophying South Texas Estuary (Baffin Bay) Emily completed her Ph.D. working under the guidance of Dr. Michael Wetz, HRI Chair for Coastal Ecosystem Processes. Her dissertation research focused on nutrient-phytoplankton dynamics in Baffin Bay, Texas. This included understanding the drivers of spatial, seasonal, and interannual variability in the phytoplankton community, with an emphasis on the Texas brown tide organism. While in the field, Emily worked closely with the Baffin Bay community through a volunteer water quality monitoring program. She hopes her research continues to influence community-driven management and restoration efforts in the Baffin Bay watershed. Emily holds a B.A. in Biology with a Specialization in Marine Science from Boston University and a M.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She was a 2018 NOAA Knauss Fellow with the EPA National Nutrient Criteria Program and accepted a fulltime position working as a Biologist with the EPA's Watershed Restoration, Assessment, and Protection Division in Washington, DC.

Kesley Gibson

Ph.D. in Marine Biology

Movement Patterns and Habitat Use for Fishery Species of Varying Life History Strategies Kesley earned her Ph.D. in HRI’s Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation under the mentorship of Dr. Greg Stunz, Endowed Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health. Her dissertation focused on movement patterns and habitat use for fishery species of varying life history strategies, including Red Snapper and Shortfin Mako sharks. While working toward her doctorate, Kesley’s research in the field took her offshore to tag sharks with satellite data transmitters and under the water’s surface diving artificial reef systems. As an experienced recreational angler, she was chosen as a recipient of the Shimano-CCA National Marine Science Scholarship. Kesley received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Tennessee at Martin and her M.S. in Environmental Science from Troy University. Upon completion of her doctorate, Kesley remains at HRI as a Postdoctoral Research Associate where she is often sought out by the media for her expertise on topics regarding marine fisheries conservation.

Quinn McColly

Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine System Science

Market Mechanisms and the Efficient Allocation of Water Quinn achieved his Ph.D. working under Dr. David Yoskowitz, Endowed Chair for Socio-Economics and now Senior Executive Director of HRI. Prior to joining HRI, he worked in finance as a floor trader on the Chicago Stock Exchange for a decade before moving into an advisory position. While working on his dissertation, Quinn drew from his professional and academic backgrounds to evaluate the role that market mechanisms can play in restorative and conservation efforts. Using artificial intelligence, he modeled water prices to inform and build financial tools for developing markets. Quinn holds a B.G.S. in Liberal Arts and an A.S. in Environmental Science, both from Columbia College. He completed his M.S. in Environmental Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Quinn remains with the Socio-Economics Group at HRI as a Postdoctoral Research Associate where he is heavily involved in the recently established Mitchell L. Mathis Program for Environmental Water Economics, a joint program between HRI and The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. 21 STAFF & STUDENT NEWS

Harte Graduates 2019-2020 Kesley Gibson

Fall Semester


Ph.D. in Marine Biology Dr. Greg Stunz, Fisheries & Ocean Health


Summer Semester


B.S. in Biology Coastal Conservation & Restoration

Meghan Martinez

M.S. in Marine Biology Dr. Jennifer Pollack, Coastal Conservation & Restoration

Abe Margo

Spring Semester

Brianna Villalon

M.S. in Marine Biology Dr. Jennifer Pollack, Coastal Conservation & Restoration

Lauren Rener

B.S. in Environmental Science Ecosystems & Modeling

Quinn McColly

Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine System Science Dr. David Yoskowitz, Socio-Economics

Tiffany Chin

M.S. in Marine Biology Dr. Michael Wetz, Coastal Ecosystem Processes

Emily Cira

Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine System Science Dr. Michael Wetz, Coastal Ecosystem Processes

Kara Coffey M.S. in Environmental Science Dr. David Yoskowitz, Socio-Economics

Kenneth Hayes

M.S. in Environmental Science Dr. Michael Wetz, Coastal Ecosystem Processes 22 STAFF & STUDENT NEWS

Harte by the Numbers

Like most organizations around the globe, HRI’s normal daily operations were interrupted by the pandemic this past year, but our science was not. Instead, our leadership, researchers, students, and support staff responded by finding creative new methods and techniques to carry out operations. Resources provided by the funding sources below kept all ten areas of our research moving forward — regardless of whether we were in the field, in the lab, or at home.

Harte Numbers By The

Funding Sources





89 10

Research Projects


Research Areas




Growth In Operating Budget Eight Year Overview

$10M $11M $11M


$26M $25M




In Research Expenditures









Thank You


Our most sincere thanks goes out to all those who give philanthropically in support of HRI's mission. Thank you for investing in science-driven solutions that advance the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. Charles K. Blend

Drew and Alyson Donalson

In memory of Dr. John “Wes” Tunnell, Jr.

In memory of Erin Caroline Donalson

Cecilia Blackwell Bridges

Vinaykumar Motiram Dulip Dr. Sylvia A. Earle

In memory of Maggie Bains

Linda and Charlie Brown Cantrell E. Bryan, III In memory of Dr. Henry Hildebrand

Building Conservation Trust Jesse Cancelmo In memory of Dr. John “Wes” Tunnell, Jr.

Capital Counsel LLC

ExxonMobil Foundation Matching Gifts Program Dan and Ruth Flournoy Dr. Robert R. Furgason Lyle B. German Graciela and John Greer In memory of Dr. John “Wes” Tunnell, Jr.

Heather and Fabio Moretzsohn De Castro Jim Newman The O'Donovan Family Foundation William L. Ohmstede Port Aransas Billfish Pachanga LLC Jack Richards Robin K. Riechers Ms. Cynthia Robalin In memory of Lance Robalin, Jr. In memory of Lance Robalin, Sr. In honor of Jeremiah Robalin and all families

Ruth Bowman Russell

In memory of Ed Harte

Gulf Coast Growth Ventures

Saltwater-fisheries Enhancement Association

John and Ellen Carlson

George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation The Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation

Earl C. Sams Foundation, Inc.

Peggy Lasater and Bill Clark In memory of Dr. John “Wes” Tunnell, Jr.

Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation Coastal Conservation Association - Texas Mr. and Mrs. Bill Cohen James H. Copeland Melanie C. Dailey

Henrietta P. C. Hildebrand

In memory of Dr. John “Wes” Tunnell, Jr.

Shell Oil Company Foundation Matching Gifts

Dr. Vivian Ho

Dr. Chris Simoniello and Miss Cory Diaz

The William Knox Holt Foundation James and Tammy King

In memory of Maggie Bains

Drs. Richard A. and Mary Ann Davis

Living Exhibits, Inc. Dr. Melissa Rohal Lupher

Dr. Jimmy Dinn

Deb and Andrew Sewell

Heather Hirsch

Susan and Steve C. Lewis

Martha and Charles H. DeCou

Dr. Ramón Sanchez and Chula Sanchez

Charles Smith Gail and Michael Sutton Lori and Ken Taylor George C. Vaughan

In memory of Maggie Bains

Gretchen Watkins

Dr. Paul A. Montagna

Dr. David W. Yoskowitz

*List reflects gifts made September 1, 2019 through August 31, 2020.



20th Anniversary Edition Annual Report To commemorate the Harte Research Institute’s 20-year history of generating sound science to benefit the Gulf of Mexico, our next annual report will be a 20th Anniversary edition. We’ll journey back to where it all began with Ed Harte — the man behind the mission — and follow the timeline of what began as an idea and transformed into the tri-national research institute it is today. Along the way, we’ll meet the key players who shared in Mr. Harte’s vision and made his dream a reality, many of whom remain closely involved with HRI today. We’ll also reflect on some of the Institute’s most significant accomplishments and advancements, each one a milestone to celebrate in its own right. We look forward to sharing our 20th Anniversary edition Annual Report with you and hope you enjoy this special collection of success stories for a more ecologically and economically sustainable Gulf of Mexico.