A&M-Corpus Christi Scientists Receive Grants for Research Equipment lost During Hurricane Harvey

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Hurricane Harvey impacted many communities in the Gulf Coast, leaving behind devastation and substantial loss. While the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus emerged from the storm unscathed, some of the University’s sophisticated research equipment did not. During the storm, researchers at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi who study ecosystems, fisheries or geospatial modeling in the Gulf Coast region lost data and equipment imperative to their research. Realizing the impact and importance of this type of research, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine awarded $117,725 in grant funding to four Island University researchers through the Gulf Research Program (GRP) Scientific Research Disaster Recovery Grants.

“Following last fall’s devastating hurricanes, the GRP examined what it could do to assist with recovery efforts that would align with its mission and allowable uses of its funding,” said Maggie Walser, GRP director of education and capacity building. “The result was these grant opportunities to help scientists whose research was impacted by Harvey and Irma recover from their losses and carry on with work that could eventually strengthen the Gulf region’s resiliency to hurricanes and other adverse events in the future.”

The Island University GRP awardees include:

  • Judson Curtis, assistant research scientist at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, received $49,657 to recover and replace equipment and data used in fisheries research;
  • Xinping Hu, assistant professor in the College of Science and Engineering, received $9,814 to repair and replace sensors used in ocean acidification research;
  • Brandi Kiel Reese, assistant professor of microbial ecology in the College of Science and Engineering, received $17,170 to replace sensors used in a Texas wetland study; and
  • Michael Starek, assistant professor of geospatial systems engineering at the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science, received $41,084 to re-establish and install equipment for research sites used in Gulf of Mexico geospatial modeling research.

The National Academies’ GRP is an independent, science-based program founded in 2013 as part of legal settlements with the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It seeks to enhance offshore energy system safety and protect human health and the environment by catalyzing advances in science, practice and capacity to generate long-term benefits for the Gulf of Mexico region and the nation. The program has $500 million for use over 30 years to fund grants, fellowships and other activities in the areas of research, development, education, training, monitoring and synthesis.