Lab News

Congratulations to Anika Agrawal (M.S. thesis student, cohort 2019) for an outstanding presentation!

Anika was a recipient of the 2020 Best Graduate Student Presentation Award for her outstanding talk at the Gulf Estuarine Research Society’s 2020 Meeting. Her talk was titled: Temporal effects of multiple stressors on Crassostrea virginica, the Eastern oyster. Anika has recently embarked on a PhD program at UConn, and we are very excited for her (and also that she had her pick of several fully funded offers)!

New Partnerships and Grants

Two new grants with TAMUG collaborator Anna Armitage are beginning late this year. We will be looking at how invertebrate populations and plant productivity at salt marsh restoration sites are affected by erosion-control structures like breakwaters. This project, supported by the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, will help resource managers understand biological costs and benefits when designing projects for shoreline protection. In a separate project, the Armitage and Jurgens labs will be working together to examine the effectiveness of restoration efforts using dredge material to boost elevation of eroded or subsided mudflat and marsh areas. We will be working with local managers to understand whether such projects successfully increase invertebrate food resources for migratory birds. This project is in partnership with Texas General Land Office.

We are continuing to explore mussel bed biodiversity and biogeography near the southern range edge in Baja, Mexico with scientists at MexCal (Managing Ecosystems Across the Californias), a research group based at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) in Ensenada, Baja California, MX. Funding partners: Texas A&M University and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACYT) Collaborative Research Grant.

In spring 2021, we started field work on a project examining the occurrence of microplastics in Galveston Bay oysters. Lead by our lab, this work is in partnership with the Quigg Lab (TAMUG) and Hanke Lab (University of Houston) with funding support from Galveston Bay Estuary Program and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. There will also be a curriculum development component in partnership with education specialists at Galveston Bay Foundation.

Collaborating with local agencies and Marine Protected Areas, along with local and international scientists, we’ll be headed to Oriental Mindoro, Philippines (as soon as it’s COVID-safe/feasible to travel). This project will work with MPAs and communities to research how they may best support the sustainability of subsistence gleaning for invertebrates in seagrass beds and mangrove forests, and explore invertebrate biodiversity. Funded by a grant from the Conservation, Food, and Health Foundation.

In a new collaboration with Galveston Bay Foundation, we will be setting up long-term monitoring of oyster restoration projects through hands-on service-learning activities with university students at TAMUG. This collaboration is funded by the Texas General Land Office.