TAMUG Comprehensive Research Funds

Summer 2017

Funds to purchase these items are provided by the Texas Legislature to TAMUG to increase research capacity and should be considered to be a departmental/campus resource. As such, these items should be made available to other interested TAMUG users. Publications resulting from this item should acknowledge support from Texas A&M. 


  • TCRF funds will be used to purchase two swim tunnel respirometers (170 mL and 90 L) with complementary oxygen consumption and water velocity measurement equipment and software. These units will allow new, collaborative investigations into cardiovascular performance, swimming performance and assessment of fluid dynamics in various piscine model organisms. The use of swim tunnel respirometry is becoming standard in the broad field of fish physiology, kinematics and toxicology. The swim tunnels will be located in the Sea Life Facility physiological room. For more information please contact Lene Petersen.

  • TCRF funds will be used to support a new research project by Drs. Ashley Ross and David Retchless. This study aims to identify how type and format of messaging influences natural hazards knowledge and willingness to act while accounting for the range of individual experiences and beliefs that may influence both knowledge and action. This project innovatively addresses multiple streams of academic inquiry, including: 1) public opinions about climate change, 2) effects of messaging on literacy for climate change and hazards, and 3) how opinions and messaging may affect behavioral intentions. For more information please contact Ashley Ross or David Retchless.

  • New analytical instrumentation will be purchased that will complement existing instrumentation and provide cutting-edge tools to study biogeochemistry in marine and terrestrial ecosystems and for toxicology research. These items are: 1) an automated solid phase extraction (SPE) system to concentrate trace-level amounts of organic compounds and contaminants from natural waters, 2) a basic high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) system to be connected to an existing time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer and 3) an interface to use an existing Picarro carbon isotope analyzer for bulk carbon isotope analysis of solid and gas samples.  Items will be housed in the Marine Science Department. For more information please contact Karl Kaiser, David Hala, or Rainer Amon.

  • TCRF funds will be used to begin building an acoustic tracking array in the Galveston Bay Estuary in order to collectively begin understanding the distribution and movement of species within the local bay system. Equipment will be purchased and deployed for an acoustic tracking array along with electronic tags to examine fine-scale movement patterns of a model predator (shark) and prey (fish) species within Galveston Bay, along with a model sea turtle species. Ultimately, this work will act as a pilot study and provide the necessary equipment for future projects to focus on the spatial distributions of important species in relation to environmental change (natural and anthropogenic) and human impacts (habitat loss and degradation). For more information please contact David Wells.

  • A Thermomechanical Analyzer (TMA) for characterization of coefficient of thermal expansion and glass transition will be purchased and housed in the Marine Engineering Technology Department (MARE). TMA is a tool used by engineers, chemists and physicists to measure appreciable changes caused by the free volume of amorphous or polymeric material system with changes in temperature. TMA will provide rapid and inexpensive high-quality data for advanced novel thermal interface materials that are currently being developed in the MARE. It will also be used for the ongoing study of semiconducting thin films as well as materials used in sub-sea research in marine science and marine biology. For more information please contact Ed Clancy.

  • TCRF funds will be used to purchase a pool, filtration system, deck and associated infra-structure for holding harbor seals at the Texas Institute for Preclinical Studies (TIPS) at Texas A&M University in College Station. The holding pool will be located inside one of the large TIPS vivariums maintained by their staff.  The installation of this holding pool will enable research with marine mammals and other large aquatic animals which heretofore has not been possible at TIPS. For more information please contact Randall Davis.

  • A new generation real time (RT-PCR) Instrument (Roche Light Cycler II 480) will be purchased and then housed in the Marine Genomics Laboratory. Real time PCR represents one of the most flexible technologies in molecular genetics in use today. By offering precise measurement of fluorescence, the efficiency of PCR amplification of nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) allows the precise quantification of gene expression, number of gene copies, DNA content in a sample (e.g., eDNA), and high resolution melting analysis (HRMA) which is used in a wide variety of applications, from forensic identification to population genetics. For more information please contact Jaime Alvarado-Bremer.

  • TCRF funds will be used to support a project to establish the 239/240Pu age dating on sand deposits as a viable technique at TAMUG. Funds will be used to purchase an insert for an existing microwave extraction system and summer support for one graduate student. For more information please contact Tim Dellapenna.

  • A high-resolution, dual frequency echosounder system (Seafloor System’s Hydrolite-DFX) will be purchased and then housed in the Marine Sciences Department. This portable, cutting-edge technology will be stored in its standard Pelican case and operates off standard 12V batteries. This instrument can be readily deployed off any vessel, can easily be transported as checked luggage, and provides a standard file format that can be manipulated in existing GIS software. The dual-frequency of the Hydrolite-DFX allows for two geophysical assessments: depth of the sediment-water interface and the textural nature of the seafloor (soft sediment versus hard rock bottom). For more information please contact Pete can Hengstum, David Retchless, or Wes Highfield.

  • A fifth generation DJI Matrice 600 Pro Model Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and its peripherals will be purchased and housed in the Marine Sciences Department. The Matrice 600 Pro is a flexible platform that can be customized and continuously upgraded, can carry a 15 kg payload, has a battery life twice that of earlier generations, and is the industry standard for third-party designers of peripheral products. UAS have become increasingly sophisticated research tools that have an enormous range of applications in today’s scientific fields. The creation of a state of the art UAS lab through the purchase of this equipment will greatly benefit current and future research. For more information please contact Glenn Jones, Anna Armitage, or Jens Figlus.