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From the College of Natural Sciences

Sally Palmer is the Communications Coordinator for The University of Texas Marine Science Institute. She received a bachelor of science in marine biology from the University of Rhode Island and earned a masters degree in marine science from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001. Prior to her position handling communications, Sally served as the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve Manager. She also has research experience with benthic ecology, hypoxia, and ecosystem dynamics. Since 2006, Sally has help secure over $16 million in funding for administration, research and construction of educational facilities.

Reading the Tea Leaves

Reading the Tea Leaves

Kelley Savage, Research Scientist Associate with the Mission-Aransas Reserve, lays out a transect line in order to place multiple tea bag samples in the salt marsh on Mustang Island. Photo credit: Christina Marconi.

Sometimes well known, simple household objects can be the best tools to use in a science experiment. Researchers at the Mission-Aransas Reserve are part of an international experiment with the Smithsonian MarineGEO (Global Earth Observatory). Tea bags are used to determine salt marsh decomposition rates, how microbes help the decomposition and if the environment makes a difference. Tea bags it turns out are a great source for science because they are readily available throughout the globe and are similar in size, weight and composition.

Nurdle Patrol Expands into Mexico

Nurdle Patrol Expands into Mexico

Recent funding support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program will allow for expansion of Nurdle Patrol into Mexico and increased data and surveys of nurdle pollution. Map show survey locations and number of nurdles collected, as of September 2021. The basemap was created using ArcGIS® software by Esri.

PORT ARANSAS, Texas – Plastic pollution in marine environments has no border. The waters of the United States and Mexico are inextricably linked through currents of the Gulf of Mexico and with them flow marine debris. One source of marine debris of concern are plastic pellets, or nurdles. Now with new support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust, the Nurdle Patrol citizen science program is expanding across the United States and into Mexico.

Finding the Goldilocks Zone for Fish at Oil Platforms

Finding the Goldilocks Zone for Fish at Oil Platforms

Researchers used a submersible-rotating drop-camera to capture fish images, such as vermilion and red snapper, and identify fish distribution and abundance patterns. They conducted 114 surveys at 54 platforms throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: Derek Bolser.

If you are an angler looking for the best place to fish in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil platforms offshore of Louisiana's Atchafalaya River are your best bet. The most comprehensive study of fish assemblages near oil platforms, released today in the journal Fisheries, identified the area as a hotspot.

Bay Education Center is Fully Repaired and Reopened after Hurricane Harvey Damage

Bay Education Center is Fully Repaired and Reopened after Hurricane Harvey Damage

Opening May 8 is the Bay Education Center in Rockport,Texas. Credit: Eddie Seal

This May 8, 2021 the Bay Education Center, which is operated by the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, a program of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, will reopen and showcase its new exhibits. Like many museums and nature centers on the Texas coast, the Bay Education Center was struck a double blow with Hurricane Harvey and then the pandemic. 

Record Number of Turtles Rescued at University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Record Number of Turtles Rescued at University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Winter Storm Uri caused damage and hardship across the state of Texas, and at the Port Aransas campus of the University of Texas at Austin, the work to recover from it included rehabilitating a record number of sea turtles threatened by the cold weather.

Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Jess Hay Fellowship

Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Jess Hay Fellowship

Derek Bolser, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute was recently awarded a prestigious Jess Hay Chancellor’s Graduate Student Research Fellowship award from The University of Texas System for 2020-2021.

A prestigious Jess Hay Chancellor's Graduate Student Research Fellowship award from The University of Texas System will be given this year to Derek Bolser, a fifth-year doctoral student studying marine science at The University of Texas at Austin.

New Initiative Aims to Reveal the Origins of Complex Life

New Initiative Aims to Reveal the Origins of Complex Life

A new research initiative will shed light on how the origin of complex life evolved through symbiosis. The project will be the latest from the Brett Baker laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute, which made recent discoveries of new organisms called Asgard archaea, named after Norse gods, and their metabolisms.

Marine Scientist Brett Baker Receives Simons Award

Marine Scientist Brett Baker Receives Simons Award

Brett Baker received a 2020 Simons Early Career Investigator Award.

​When you can change the tree of life with a click of a button, people notice. Brett Baker, microbiologist and assistant professor at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, has attracted the attention of the Simons Foundation. The foundation selected Baker as a 2020 Simons Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. The award recognizes Baker's work in microbial diversity, ecology and evolution.

Hidden Source of Carbon Found at the Arctic Coast

Hidden Source of Carbon Found at the Arctic Coast

Dr. Craig Connolly takes a groundwater sample to measure the concentration and age of organic carbon and nitrogen in groundwater flowing beneath the beach. Credit: Jim McClelland.

A previously unknown significant source of carbon just discovered in the Arctic has scientists marveling at a once overlooked contributor to local coastal ecosystems – and concerned about what it may mean in an era of climate change.

NOAA Helps UT Marine Science Institute Rebound from Hurricane Harvey

NOAA Helps UT Marine Science Institute Rebound from Hurricane Harvey

Construction workers rebuilding the UT Marine Science Institute in May 2019.

PORT ARANSAS, Texas – After more than two years of roof repairs, window installations and building reinforcements, the scientists, staff members and students at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) have an end in sight for their ongoing effort to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, thanks to help from the U.S. Congress.