CCS Students Receive Awards at the Texas Academy of Science Meeting

Published: April 08, 2016

CCS Students Receive Awards at the Texas Academy of Science Meeting

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Three Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students in the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) earned awards at the 119th annual Texas Academy of Science meeting in Junction, Texas. The event was held from March 4-6 in the Llano River Field Station at Texas Tech University.

This year’s meeting included professional development sessions, scientific talks, field trips and more than 250 presentations of research information by individuals and representatives of research teams. The meeting held presentations by the Academy’s Distinguished Scientist and its Outstanding Texas Educator for 2016, followed by an awards banquet.

I-Shuo Huang, a Ph.D. student with the Center for Coastal Studies, won second place in the Ph.D. competition for the Marine Science oral session. Huang’s presentation titled, “Taxonomic identification and toxin isolation of a new-to-science cyanobacterium Pseudoleptolyngbya mysidocida gen. nov. & sp. nov.,” focused on a new marine cyanobacterial toxin that was found in either Chesapeake Bay, Md., or Corpus Christi Bay, Texas. Huang and his team have named the new cyanobacterium genus and species, Pseudoleptolyngbya mysidocida.

Lindsey Ramirez, a Master of Science student in the MARB program, won third place in the Master of Science competition. Ramirez’s study titled, “Does elevated salinity induce a physiological response in Texas diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin littoralis)?” will determine the physiological effects of elevated salinity on stress hormone production in the Texas diamondback terrapin residing in Nueces and Mission-Aransas Estuaries. The funds from this award will go toward her master's work involving physiological responses in terrapins related to elevated salinities. Dr. Paul Zimba, Director of the Center for Coastal Studies, served as an advisor to both Huang and Ramirez for their projects.

Juan Martinez, a computer science undergraduate, won the poster award in the computer science poster session. His work titled, “Spatial data management of species interactions in the Gulf of Mexico,” uses the Gulf of Mexico Species Interactions (GoMexSI) open source database and a Geographic Information Systems tool to create spatial queries for data acquisition. The main objective of the study was to facilitate the retrieval of digital fish diet data in the Gulf of Mexico. Martinez was assisted by Associate Research Scientist, Dr. James D. Simons, as his advisor who specializes in species interaction networks and databases.  

More than 120 students attended this event and more than 250 presentations were given by various research students from across the state.

The Texas Academy of Science was founded by teachers’ in 1880. The organization emerged around 1929 and included a physicist, botanist, mathematician and two biologists as its founding members. Now, TAS publishes a peer-reviewed journal (The Texas Journal of Science), conducts an annual meeting that highlights research across 17 sections in the sciences, and provides substantial funding opportunities for students, and facilitates expert testimony on policy issues related to STEM or science education.