CORPUS CHRISTI, Tx. — Texas A&M Corpus Christi researchers are headed up the Texas coast to Matagorda Bay for a two to three year research project for which the Texas Comptroller's Office has allotted $2.7 million.
"It just gives us the resources we need to do science on an unprecedented level," Professor of Marine Biology for TAMUCC's Harte Research Institute Greg Stunz said. "$2.7 million is a lot of money, but we'll be doing all sorts of work up there that really requires that level of resource."
One of the goals of the project is to monitor the balance between industries in the bay like commercial and recreational fishing and the habitats for endagered species like sea turtles.
"How to make all of those activities work together is something that we need to make sure we have the right science so we can conserve those areas, identify ecological hot spots, and preserve that area in perpetuity for future generations to enjoy that resource."
Researchers from the A&M University's flagship campus in College station and its branch in Galveston will join TAMUCC researchers who include students from undergraduates all the way up to Ph.D. candidates.
"This is a great opportunity," Stunz said. "It's training the next generation of scientists, but this is a wonderful opportunity for students to get involved as they further their education."
Stunz called the research project "groundbreaking" because of its scope and because of the importance of Matagorda Bay to the State of Texas.
"Matagorda Bay is one of the iconic bays on the Texas coast," he said. "Very important economically. A lot of shrimping. A lot of commercial fishing. And especially a lot of recreational fishing occurs there."
Researchers are already in place, doing paperwork, and making preparations. The work they'll do will be challenging, but it's clear Stunz is looking forward to it.
"It's going to be a real fun project," he said.