GRiHMS Mission    

The Gulf Research Institute for Highly Migratory Species (GRiHMS) will perform studies that fill critical data gaps in the habitat requirements, life history, and dispersive behaviors of highly migratory species in the Gulf of Mexico.  Research activities will center on elucidating migration pathways and drivers of movement for coastal (cobia, dolphinfish, tarpon) and offshore (billfishes, tunas, sharks, wahoo) migratory fishes.  Research conducted and facilitated by the Institute will provide data to support healthy and sustainable fisheries in the Gulf, which contribute $11 billion annually to the region’s blue economy. 

Value of Movement / Migration Data

An improved understanding of the movements and population connectivity of migratory fishes – the blue travelers of the Gulf – is needed to develop effective management plans for conserving this critical component of the Gulf’s blue economy.  Many coastal and offshore species are migratory and routinely traverse state and international boundaries. Movements into territorial waters of other states of countries where regulatory measures differ significantly can profoundly impact fishery yields and compromise efforts to manage these populations sustainably.

Ecological Importance of Highly Migratory Species

Many species classified as highly migratory are top predators and essential components of marine ecosystems. These species play important ecological roles that influence the structure, biodiversity, and dynamics of marine communities in the Gulf of Mexico through top-down control.  Population declines of these taxa due to habitat loss, overexploitation, or global climate change can significantly alter the productivity and resiliency of marine ecosystems.  Several of the species identified as high priority targets by GRiHMS scientists are also on the IUCN 2022 Red List of Threatened Species and classified as endangered, vulnerable, or near vulnerable, highlighting the need to better understand and protect these species.

Contact Info

Email: GRIHMS@tamug.edu

Phone: +1 (409)740-5777