Texas Sea Grant Awards Eight Island University Graduates Research Funding

Published: June 19, 2018

Texas Sea Grant Awards Eight Island University Graduates Research Funding

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University recently awarded $15,400 in funding to eight graduate students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi through their Grants-In-Aid of Graduate Research Program.

The Program provides small grants to students enrolled at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University at Galveston, or to any student whose marine or coastal related research is relevant to Texas, though not necessarily based in Texas. Grants are awarded after a competitive proposal review process and are designed to promote scientific excellence and achievement.

“This is an important program for graduate student support,” said Dr. Frank Pezold, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. “In particular, these grants can be critical for students to attend professional meetings to present their research findings and network with the scientific community.”

The 2018-19 Grants-In-Aid recipients for A&M-Corpus Christi includes:

  • ** Audrey Douglas, a coastal and marine system science doctoral student, for her research proposal titled, “Submarine groundwater discharge derived dissolved organic nitrogen: The overlooked component in coastal systems and nutrient budgets (Phase 2).” Dr. Dorina Murgulet, associate professor of hydrogeology and director of the Center for Water Supply Studies, will be Douglas’s faculty mentor for this project.
  • Polly Hajovsky, a fisheries and mariculture master’s student, for her research proposal titled, “The occurrence of microplastic in the diet of juvenile fish in Corpus Christi Bay and Upper Laguna Madre area.” Dr. Simon Geist, assistant professor in the Department of Life Sciences, will be Hajovsky’s faculty mentor for this project.
  • * Lee Pinnell, a marine biology doctoral student, for his research proposal titled, “Isolation and genomic analysis of naturally occurring marine bacteria that biodegrade polyhydroxyalkanoate plastics.” Dr. Jeffrey Turner, assistant professor of marine biology, will be Pinnell’s faculty mentor for this project.
  • Joseph Reustle, a marine biology doctoral student, for his research proposal titled, “Using oyster reef recovery following Hurricane Harvey to study interactions between disturbance and predation in natural communities.” Dr. Lee Smee, associate professor in the Department of Life Sciences, and Dr. Benjamin Walther, assistant professor in the Department of Life Sciences, will be Reustle’s faculty mentors for this project.
  • Sebastian Rubiano, a chemistry master’s student, for his research proposal titled, “An assessment of sulfide intrusion and its relationship to genotypic diversity in the seagrass Halodule wrightii from the Texas Gulf Coast.” Dr. Patrick Larkin, associate professor of chemistry, will be Rubiano’s faculty mentor for this project.
  • * Dominic Swift, a marine biology doctoral student, for his research proposal titled, “Assessing MHC-dependent mate choice in the dusky smoothhound (Mustelus canis) and blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus).” Dr. David Portnoy, assistant professor of marine biology, will be Swift’s faculty mentor for this project.
  • Sarah Tominack, a marine biology doctoral student, for her research proposal titled, “Determination of nutrient sources fueling phytoplankton growth in Corpus Christi Bay, Texas.” Dr. Michael Wetz, associate professor of marine biology, will be Tominack’s faculty mentor for this project.
  • ** Rachel Weisend, a marine biology doctoral student, for her research proposal titled, “Spatial and temporal variability of microbial communities within mangrove systems.” Dr. Brandi Kiel Reese, assistant professor of microbial ecology, will be Weisend’s faculty mentor for this project.

* Received a Texas Sea Grant in 2015

** Received Texas Sea Grants in 2017