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HARTE CURRENT SUMMER 2021

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HRI Partnership Creates Reclaimed Material Oyster Reef

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Fulbright Scholar Working Alongside HRI Researchers

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Kate Shlepr Receives Prestigious NOAA Knauss Fellowship

NEW REEF STUDENT NEWS

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Meet our newest Ph.D. Graduates

Gail S. Sutton, M.S. Associate Director for Institutional Initiatives, Finance & Administration Retires

More Stories Inside...


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HAPPY SUMMER 2021 Happy end of summer HRI friends and family! It's been nice to see you again as the country began to reopen, travel resumed, and we welcomed groups back into our building. The pandemic has been an ever-changing situation, but our science doesn't stop, so we've done our best to continue our work for the Gulf safely here at HRI. In June HRI welcomed over 90 women leaders with Leadership Women Texas to campus to learn about the connections between our Gulf of Mexico environment and the economy. HRI hosted a two-day program that walked the women through the economic and environmental impacts of one popular commercially fished species, the oyster, with guest lectures, science demonstrations, and a great seafood meal.

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HRI has also welcomed visiting scholars, and hosted scientists from Argentina and Mexico this summer. Dr. Fausto Firstater, a researcher from Escuela Superior de Ciencias Marinas (UNCo) in northern Patagonia Argentina, and CONICET, the National Scientific and Technical Research Council Argentina, joined the Sportfish Center this summer on a Fulbright Fellowship to research artificial reef structures in the Gulf of Mexico, and bring those

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lessons home to an artificial reef park project that’s currently underway in his home country. Dr. Abigail Uribe-Martínez, a GIS and biostatistics professor at the Autonomous University of Carmen located in Campeche, Mexico, came to HRI’s Geospatial Sciences lab for three weeks as a part of the institute’s Furgason Fellowship program to build the groundwork for a series of projects that will study coral reefs and coastal habitats in the southern Gulf of Mexico through the analysis of high-resolution imagery. It feels like we are getting back some sense of normalcy here on campus as we bring in these collaborators and prepare to welcome back our students and faculty for the fall semester. But the reality is that COVID-19 is still very present in our Coastal Bend community and we are stressing continued precautions — maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask when indoors — in our HRI facility and beyond. A great semester is a safe one, and we are wishing continued good health for all our HRI family members.

Read on for more news from HRI’s summer session.


TOP NEWS HRI Partnership Creates Reclaimed Material Oyster Reef Over 200 old concrete barriers are serving a new purpose as the foundation for an oyster reef in Aransas Bay thanks to a collaboration between HRI, Palacios Marine Agricultural Research Inc., Derrick Construction Company, Inc., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Center for Coastal Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

CLICK HERE TO READ ON CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

Gail S. Sutton, M.S.

Associate Director for Institutional Initiatives, Finance and Administration Retires

After more than 20 years of service, Gail Sutton left her position as HRI Associate Director for Institutional Initiatives, Finance and Administration on August 31. Gail is unique in that she has been with HRI since its founding in 2000. Hired by former assistant director Dr. Wes Tunnell, Gail originally began at HRI as a business coordinator when the institute was merely an idea backed by an endowment generously donated by Corpus Christi philanthropist Ed Harte. She has managed the institute’s budget, facilities, and administrative staff as HRI grew into a multimillion-dollar research institute with a staff of hundreds, engaging in countless other duties along the way, from planning conferences and directing marketing efforts, to helping to get a successful oyster restoration program off the ground. Gail was also well-known as a problem solver and mentor, and you would often find staff and students in her office seeking a friendly ear about their careers and personal issues. Gail will be taking a new position as director of operations at Palacios Marine Agricultural Research, Inc., a subsidiary of the Ed Rachal Foundation, where she will be leading efforts to get their oyster hatchery operations off the ground. A longer story on Gail’s tenure with the institute will soon follow. We will miss her.

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INSTITUTE NEWS Leadership Women Texas Visit HRI HRI welcomed the 2020 and 2021 classes of Leadership Women Texas in June. They spent the morning learning all about our oyster conservation research and the Oyster Recycling Program from our students and researchers. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

Fulbright Scholar Working Alongside HRI Researchers HRI is hosting Fulbright Visiting Scholar Dr. Fausto Firstater this summer as he works with our Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation to learn more about Gulf of Mexico artificial reef structures. Dr. Firstater will bring back valuable knowledge to his home country of Argentina where he has been working to develop an artificial reef park project, the largest of its kind in South America. CLICK HERE TO READ ON 03

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INSTITUTE NEWS HRI Welcomes Furgason Fellow Dr. Abigail Uribe-Martinez Dr. Uribe-Martinez with Unacar SITIO Oficial has been working alongside HRI Endowed Chair for Geospatial Sciences Dr. Jim Gibeaut and Associate Research Scientist Dr. Mark Besonen for the last few weeks as part of the Furgason Fellowship program. She hopes the partnership will help provide information on building projects to look at coral reefs and coastal habitats in the southern Gulf of Mexico where she is from. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

Steve Truchon Memorial Scholarship Established In memory of a dear friend of HRI, the family and friends of Steve Truchon established the Steve Truchon Fellowship in Marine Ecology this summer. The fellowship will award annual scholarships for students working in the Gulf of Mexico. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

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STAFF & STUDENT NEWS Kate Shlepr Receives Prestigious NOAA Knauss Fellowship Kate Shlepr, M.S., a Research Assistant in our Conservation & Biodiversity laboratory who is currently completing her doctoral degree at her home institution Florida Atlantic University, has been named a finalist for the esteemed John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship from the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program. Starting in Spring 2022, Kate will spend a year with federal agencies in Washington DC completing her fellowship. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

HRI Participates in CCME Workshop

Our NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems students spent a week this summer at the Center-Wide Competency Course in St. Augustine FL completing problem-based teaching activities. Two HRI students won awards - Alyssa Outhwaite for Best Communicator and Molly McBride for Top Tech. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

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STAFF & STUDENT NEWS Ecosystem Science & Modeling Lab Completes NOAA Research Cruise The Ecosystem Science and Modeling Lab completed a week-long research cruise this August as part of a NOAA-funded ocean acidification project in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

Coastal Conservation & Restoration Lab Receives NOAA Funding

Our Coastal Conservation & Restoration lab recently received an award from NOAA Fisheries for a 3.9 acre oyster reef construction in St. Charles Bay. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

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HIGHLIGHTS The Conservation & Biodiversity group conducted a fire damage assessment of the Shamrock Island Waterbird Colony for The Nature Conservancy using and small unmanned aerial system (drone) piloted by MS student Rostam Mirzadi.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr. Kesley Banks received the Coastal Conservation Association Corpus Christi Chapter’s Conservationist of the Year award at their 2021 annual fundraising banquet.

CLICK HERE TO READ ON

The Oyster Recycling Program hosted a booth at the Texas Surf Museum’s Lauau Party in July where visitors got to learn all about oysters and oyster reefs in our local waters and even got to make art with oyster shell. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

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HIGHLIGHTS Recent HRI graduate Dr. Emma Clarkson received a Special Achievements Employee Appreciation award from Texas Parks and Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith for her work on the new oyster aquaculture industry in Texas. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

The Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation worked the weigh-in for the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament in Port Aransas. The team works with anglers to certify their catch and obtains samples from various species for research purposes. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

Dr. Michael Wetz was featured in an August 2021 Texas Wildlife article discussing water quality in Baffin Bay. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

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PRESENTATIONS Dr. Dale Gawlik of the HRI Conservation and Biodiversity Lab presented a talk on food limitations in wetland birds to the South Texas Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program.

HRI NOAA CCME graduate students Lily Walker and Anthony Lima gave a virtual presentation over what they have worked on for their NERTO assignment. CLICK HERE TO READ ON

Dr. Michael Wetz of the Coastal Ecosystem Processes Lab presented "Living on the Edge: the need for long-term adaptive management strategies to lessen the impact of climactic and anthropogenic changes on naturally stressed low inflow estuaries" as a speaker and panelist for the special session, "Estuaries as Sentinels for Climate Change" presented by the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting.

Dr. Michael Wetz of the Coastal Ecosystem Processes Lab presented his talk, "Human and Climate-Driven Water Quality Challenges Affecting the Texas Coast" to the Lavaca Bay Foundation. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

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PUBLICATIONS Medium-term monitoring reveals effects of El Niño Southern Oscillation climate variability on local salinity and faunal dynamics on a restored oyster reef. Beseres Pollack J, Palmer TA, Williams AE (2021) Medium-term monitoring reveals effects of El Niño Southern Oscillation climate variability on local salinity and faunal dynamics on a restored oyster reef. PLoS ONE 16(8): e0255931 CLICK HERE TO SEE ARTICLE

Predicting effects of water management scenarios on three wading bird species. Essian, D. A., R. Paudel, and D. E. Gawlik. Predicting effects of water management scenarios on three wading bird species. Journal of Wildlife Management. CURRENTLY IN PRESS

Morphological Assessment of the Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Hajovsky, P., Beseres Pollack, J. and Anderson, J. (2021), Morphological Assessment of the Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Mar Coast Fish, 13: 309-319. CLICK HERE TO SEE ARTICLE

Freshwater inflow and responses from estuaries across a climatic gradient: An assessment of northwestern Gulf of Mexico estuaries based on stable isotopes. Marshall, D.A., La Peyre, M.K., Palmer, T.A., Guillou, G., Sterba-Boatwright, B.D., Beseres Pollack, J. and Lebreton, B. (2021), Freshwater inflow and responses from estuaries across a climatic gradient: An assessment of northwestern Gulf of Mexico estuaries based on stable isotopes. Limnol Oceanogr. CLICK HERE TO SEE ARTICLE

Temporal variability and driving factors of the carbonate system in the Aransas Ship Channel, TX: A time-series study. McCutcheon, M.R., Yao, H., Staryk, C.J., and Hu, X. 2021. Temporal variability and driving factors of the carbonate system in the Aransas Ship Channel, TX: A time-series study. Biogeosciences, 18, 4571-4586. CLICK HERE TO SEE ARTICLE

Texas Dead Zones. McKinney, L. and L. Allred. "Texas Dead Zones." Texas Parks & Wildlife, July 2021. CLICK HERE TO SEE ARTICLE

Long-term water quality analysis reveals correlation between bacterial pollution and sea level rise in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. *Powers, N.C., J. Pinchback, L. Flores, Y. Huang, M.S. Wetz, and J.W. Turner. 2021. Long-term water quality analysis reveals correlation between bacterial pollution and sea level rise in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 10 CLICK HERE TO SEE ARTICLE

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NEW RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS PROJECTS Do descender devices increase opportunities for depredation? A Gulf-wide examination of descender device depredation rates and depredating species Mississippi State University (Prime Sponsor - Texas A&M University) PI – Dr. Greg Stunz $39,086

Closing the Loop: Recycling shells and rebuilding oyster reefs for resilience and recovery Texas General Land Office PI – Dr. Jennifer Pollack $355,289

Evaluation of the proposal for widening and deepening the Matagorda ship channel Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust PI – Dr. Paul Montagna Co-PI – Dr. Jim Gibeaut $110,028

RESTORE Centers of Excellence: Geospatial framework and analysis for coastal resilience, South Texas Coastal Bend Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (Prime Sponsor: Department of the Treasury) PI – Dr. Katya Wowk Co-PI – Dr. Jim Gibeaut, Christine Hale $432,574

To understand the socio-economic drivers of impaired water in Texas The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation PI – Dr. David Yoskowitz $50,000 11

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PRESENTATIONS GRADUATES & NEW FACES GRADUATES DR. DIANA DEL ANGEL

Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine System Science Socio-Economics

DR.TERRY PALMER

Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine System Science Coastal Conservation & Restoration

NEW FACES

Laura Beecraft, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Associate Coastal Ecosystem Processes READ MY BIO

Neina Chapa MS Student & CCME Scholar Coastal Conservation & Restoration READ MY BIO

Isabelle Cummings Institutional Student Worker Coastal Ecosystem Processes READ MY BIO

DR. EMMA CLARKSON

Ph.D. in Marine Biology Coastal Conservation & Restoration

Antonio Cantu, M.S. PhD Student & Crutchfield Fellow Conservation & Biodiversity READ MY BIO

Alicia Cleveland Institutional Student Worker Communications READ MY BIO

Mary Kramer MS Student Socio-Economics READ MY BIO

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PRESENTATIONS GRADUATES & NEW FACES NEW FACES 13

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Nicole Kumbula MS Student & Crutchfield Fellow Ecosystem Science & Modeling READ MY BIO

Karin Trevino MS Student HydroEcology READ MY BIO

Sankar Manalilkada Sasidharan, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Associate Coastal Ecosystem Processes READ MY BIO

Hang Yin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Associate Ecosystem Science & Modeling READ MY BIO


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NEW POSITIONS NEW POSITIONS

Terry Palmer, Ph.D. Assistant Research Scientist Coastal Conservation & Restoration READ MY BIO

Diana Del Angel, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Associate Socio-Economics READ MY BIO

Dominic Burch Research Specialist I Coastal Ecosystem Processes READ MY BIO

Katie Iverson Foundation & Corporate Relations Officer Development READ MY BIO

OUR NEW

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

CARMEN OSIER Big leadership changes are coming to HRI this fall semester. Carmen Osier is assuming a new role as HRI’s Associate Director beginning September 1. Carmen, HRI’s former Assistant Director, is a U.S. Navy veteran, CPA, and former TAMU-CC central office of research grants administrator. A conscientious and thoughtful manager of both her staff and the institute’s finances, she joined institute’s staff in 2017 to assist in overseeing HRI’s budgeting, accounting, and administration services. She is replacing longtime HRI Associate Director for Institutional Initiatives, Finance and Administration Gail Sutton, who retired in August. Congratulations to Carmen as she leads us into a bright new future here at HRI! READ MY BIO

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@harteresearch Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi 6300 Ocean Drive - Unit 5869 Corpus Christi, TX 78412 Email: hri@tamucc.edu Copyright © 2021 Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. All Rights Reserved.

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The Harte Current-Summer 2021  

Happy fall semester HRI friends and family! Check out our summer 2021 edition of the Harte Current to learn about what’s “current” with HRI....

The Harte Current-Summer 2021  

Happy fall semester HRI friends and family! Check out our summer 2021 edition of the Harte Current to learn about what’s “current” with HRI....

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