Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Philip Torres

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Philip Torres

Gulf Groundwork
Philip Torres knew that the Island University was the best place in Texas for him to study the marine environment. The San Antonio, Texas, native, who began classes here in fall 2007, was in middle school when he took a summer course in estuarine and marine science at Duke University Marine Lab. That experience led Torres, who is majoring in environmental science with an emphasis on coastal and marine resources, where he is today. In November, he won an award for best student oral presentation at the Gulf Estuarine Research Society Meeting, which spotlights research from students working at universities across the Gulf of Mexico. His presentation, which analyzed how snail growth is affected by the presence of crabs, was titled “Morphology of Nucella Lapillus in the Presence of Carcinus Maenas.” Torres is a BUENO student, currently in the Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology (UMEB) program. He also works under Dr. Lee Smee conducting research on how the company of crabs affects the growth of oysters. He has discovered that predators can affect the behavior of their prey through non-consumptive means. Predators release chemicals that the prey can sense prompting their defense mechanisms which can include oysters growing more shell mass to fend themselves from crabs. Through the BUENO program, Torres did research this past summer at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine, and in 2009, he attended a recruitment event for the National Park Service in Acadia National Park. In addition, Torres has presented research at the 2010 Benthics Ecology Meeting in Wilmington, N.C., the Gulf of Mexico Youth Leadership and Stewardship Conference and for the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society Conference on the University campus. He is impressed with the opportunities afforded to him through the University. His future plans are to attend graduate school and become a college professor. Torres is chair of BMX for Corpus Christi, a non-profit organization which he co-founded. Plans are in the works to raise funds to build a local BMX skate park.

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