Texas A&M University at Galveston researchers awarded $1.9 million to study deep-ocean fauna in the Gulf of Mexico

Dr. Jay Rooker, Dr. David Wells and Dr. Ron Eytan of Texas A&M Galveston Marine Biology are co-investigators on a research consortium led by Dr. Tracey Sutton from Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Nova Southeastern University consortium was awarded $8.5M, $1.9 million of which will go to the Texas A&M University at Galveston marine biologists.

This project will be focused on the pelagic (open ocean) realm, from the surface to depths of over one mile, which is by far the largest ecosystem component of the Gulf of Mexico.  The consortium will examine the biological communities of the deep Gulf with respect to space and time, using a variety of techniques, and relate these findings to disturbances, both natural such as season, river input, major currents and human-made such as the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill in order to understand the short- and long-term consequences of such events on the health of the Gulf. Collaborating institutions include Florida International University, Texas A&M University at Galveston, San Antonio Zoo, the University of South Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

The project is part of a larger $140 million grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI.)  The 10-year research initiative established in 2010 and funded by a $500 million commitment by British Petroleum.  Twelve organizations were selected to receive funding for continued research in the area of oil spills and how we respond to them.


Texas A&M University at Galveston is the maritime and marine campus of Texas A&M University at College Station. It is a special purpose institution offering academic programs, research and service in marine and maritime studies. The institution is home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy the only maritime academy located on the Gulf Coast.  Texas A&M Galveston’s Aggies like their College Station counter-parts, receive the Aggie Ring and a Texas A&M University diploma.