Research Development Funds Summer 2013

The Texas Legislature created two funds to enhance research in 2001.  These funds were combined to establish the Research Development Fund (RDF). Since FY 2006, RDF has supported efforts to increase research capacity at eligible public universities.  For 2013 funds were made available to faculty in Galveston to purchase equipment which will allow them to expand their research capabilities. Below is a list of the items being purchased for Summer 2013.

A new Electromagnetic Conductivity Meter is being purchased in the General Academics Department.  This is a small, light-weight electromagnetic induction and conductivity instrument.  The general purpose is to prospect for buried archaeological sites, however, it has a wide variety of other scientific and industrial applications.  The electromagnetic induction and electric resistivity methods both measure vertical and lateral changes in electrical conductivity or its inverse, electrical resistivity. In the near term this item will be used to locate buried archaeological deposits in Texas and Viking Age Sweden. The equipment will be used for both research and teaching.

In order to enhance our current computing capabilities, 6 16-core compute nodes (each node with have 16 cores, 32 gigabytes of memory, one local 600-900 GB SAS disk drive) are being purchased in the Marine Sciences Department.  The compute nodes will be part of the High Performance Computing Cluster at the Texas A&M Supercomputing facility, which serves as a centralized computing facility to provide support for the research and educational community at Texas A&M University. 

A new Voltammetry system is being purchased in the Marine Science Department.  This is a fully computer-controlled user-friendly voltammetry instrument capable of measuring trace-level concentrations (0.1 – 200 ng/L) of metals and non-metals.  In addition, the system allows measurement of metal-organic ligand interactions.  The system is configured to allow simple operation for high-sample throughput and educational use.  The voltammetry instrumentation will complement the existing ICP-MS instrument and provide cutting-edge tools to study metal biogeochemistry in marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Wave flume instrumentation is being purchased in the Maritime Systems Engineering Department.  A wave flume is an exceptional instrument for research and education in all coastal and ocean related fields dealing with waves and their effects on structures and the natural environment.  Essentially, a wave flume is a long, water-filled tank with a wave maker at one end.  The wave maker mechanically displaces water in such a way that realistic wave trains can be sent through the tank in a computer-controlled fashion.  The waves then interact with floating or fixed model structures or mobile bed material (model beach), depending on the project.  The new instruments will complement the existing wave flume set up.  In particular, the new instruments are wave gauges to measure wave height changes along the flume, optical backscatter sensors to measure sediment concentrations above a mobile bed in the wave flume, and a laser profile scanner to measure the changing bottom bathymetry.

A new Flow Velocity Profiling System is being purchased in the Maritime Systems Engineering Department.  This system is capable of measuring 3D fluid flow velocity profiles at rates up to 100 Hz.  The measured velocity profiles extend over 3 cm which is adequate to describe most coastal boundary layer flows.  The measurement principle is based on coherent Doppler  processing which represents a non-intrusive technique requiring virtually no instrument calibration by the user.  The system is ideal to measure 3D velocity profiles near boundaries in the flow which allows for data collection at a previously unknown level of detail.

A new Ultra-low -80o Freezer is being purchased in the Department of Marine Biology.  Proper preservation of biological samples and certain supplies, such as antibodies and reagents, is a critical requirement for research programs for several vertebrate biologists in the Department of Marine Biology.   

A new MicroMill is being purchased in the Department of Marine Biology.  This microsampling device is designed for high resolution milling to recover sample powder from hard parts (otoliths, vertebrae, etc.) for chemical and isotopic analysis (C and O).  The MicroMill is a combination of submicron stage resolution and positional accuracy with real-time video observation.  It also includes custom designed software and computer. 

A new TOC-LCSH with the capability to analyze C and N in both solid and liquid samples is being purchased in the Marine Science Department.  The TOC is equipped with a solid sample combustion unit and total nitrogen unit and is capable for simultaneous analyses of total carbon/inorganic carbon/organic carbon and total nitrogen in solid and aqueous samples including seawater.  This instrument also features automatic condition changing and re-analysis of out-of-range samples by automatic online dilution.  This instrument can provide organic carbon by directly measuring inorganic carbon and total carbon.  In addition, analysis of larger amount of solid samples (up to 1 g) reduces weighing errors or errors due to the uneven distribution of the carbon content.