Skip Navigation

Initial Funding Awarded to the Texas A&M University at Galveston Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research    

January 27, 2020


A member of the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research Team handles a sea turtle

By Andréa Bolt

The Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research at Texas A&M University at Galveston was just awarded a $99,984 state wildlife grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to tag sea turtles in Galveston Bay.
 
Dr. Christopher Marshall, professor in the department of marine biology and the center’s inaugural director, said the grant is a much-needed boost to the monitoring program that began in Galveston’s Christmas Bay this past year.
 
Marshall and his team plan on attaching both satellite and acoustic tags on green, Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead sea turtles throughout the bay and coastal areas of Galveston to better understand population demographics, sea turtle movement through the system, habitat needs and uses of sea turtles.

When sea turtles are identified and safely captured, the team will record the species and size, which will help identify the age class of the turtle.

Over time, this demographic data will provide an idea of the population size and composition of many species of sea turtles.

“The Texas State Wildlife Grant will provide a clearer picture of how sea turtles are using Galveston Bay and the bay’s diverse habitats,” Marshall stated. “The data will be specific to Galveston Bay – other studies maybe on ongoing but this grant will provide a healthy start to a long-term monitoring effort here on the upper Texas coast, which is sorely needed.”

Marshall said work will begin this month.

Members of the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research team pose on a boat during a recent excursion.
Members of the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research team pose on a boat during a recent excursion

 

“We have green, Kemp’s ridley and occasionally loggerhead sea turtles in the bay. The satellite tags will allow us to track sea turtle movement in the bay and how they use different habitats, e.g., seagrass beds, oyster reefs, etc.,” explained Marshall.

The primary goal of the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research is to create a consortium that will enhance the efforts of individual researchers in support of programmatic grant proposals that individual researchers usually cannot access. Other goals include establishing research priorities, increased cooperation and communication of researchers throughout the gulf and training the next generation of sea turtle biologists. A physical location is planned for the center, which will likely be constructed on the Texas A&M-Galveston campus.
 
The center relies solely on sponsored research, extramural grants, gifts and donations for operations. You can help support the center by donating directly online or by purchasing a Texas Sea Turtle Specialty license plate through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Visit https://www.tamug.edu/GulfCenterforSeaTurtleResearch/ for more information.

###

Media contact:
Andréa Bolt
a_bolt@tamug.edu
409.740.4929



Texas A&M University at Galveston is an ocean-oriented branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in a unique blend of marine and maritime programs, including majors in science, business, engineering, liberal arts, and transportation. It is driving the development of the blue economy in the Gulf Coast Region and is a critical contributor to Texas A&M’s sea-grant portion of Texas A&M’s rare land-, sea-, space-grant mission with nearly $10 million in research expenditures.
 
Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of seven in the U.S. and the only academy integrated into a Tier 1 academic institution, which trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world. Texas A&M-Galveston is ideally located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where is it surrounded by the industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and their strong desire to serve.

If you are interested in supporting this endeavor or research, please contact the Texas A&M University at Galveston Office of Development by email at GiveToSeaAggies@txamfoundation.com or by calling (409) 740-4481.