Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Dr. Wes Tunnell

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Dr. Wes Tunnell

Seeking Coastal Treasures
To many, Dr. Wes Tunnell's thirst for discovery and easygoing style is reminiscent of the character Indiana Jones. The marine biologist/ecologist is associate director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) and director of the Center for Coastal Studies. The University's first Fulbright fellow joined the faculty in 1974 and has helped launch the master's and Ph.D. programs in biology. For 30 years he taught Coral Reef Ecology, taking students on two-week learning trips to Veracruz and the Caribbean. He's also known for finding prehistoric mammoth teeth on the Seven and One-Half Fathom Reef. The Taft, Texas, native has received numerous honors. He was named 2006-2007 Outstanding Research Scholar by The Academy Speaks at Texas A&M -Corpus Christi and, in 2007, was awarded membership as a National Fellow in the Explorers Club, which promotes scientific exploration and field research. He is editor of both "GulfBase," an award-winning database developed by HRI researchers, and the HRI's book series through the Texas A&M University Press. Most recently, Tunnell, a Google Ocean advisory committee member played a vital role in creating "Ocean in Google Earth." His most recent book is titled "Coral Reefs of the Southern Gulf of Mexico." He'll publish "Texas Seashells" featuring 900 photos of shells later this year.

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