HRI Fisheries Chair Dr. Greg Stunz Receives Texas A&M Regents Professor Award

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — To many, Dr. Greg Stunz is the shark guy — he’s become well-known for his work tagging, tracking, and educating the public on these toothy predators in the Gulf of Mexico. Stunz has filmed five specials for Discovery Channel’s popular “Shark Week” and appeared as a featured scientific expert in many other media, always happy to lend the perspective that sharks should be, rather than feared, considered an important part of a healthy marine ecosystem.

But Stunz is a pioneer beyond his work with the charismatic shark, and has conducted groundbreaking science at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi supporting healthy fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico; forged unique partnerships with anglers, conservation groups, and private industry to support good science in the recreational fishing industry; and educated a new generation of Gulf scientists.

For his accomplishments in research and conservation, and his dedicated service to the university, Stunz received the Texas A&M University System 2019-2020 Regents Professor Award – the highest honor bestowed upon faculty by the Texas A&M University System. 

“I am thrilled the Board of Regents are recognizing me for this prestigious award,” Stunz said. “It is truly an honor to be included in the company of distinguished Regents Professors that have made such exemplary accomplishments on behalf of the Texas A&M System.”    

Stunz is a Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Professor of Marine Biology and HRI’s Endowed Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health. He also serves as Director of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at HRI, which was forged in 2012 in a unique partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association. The Sportfish Center is the first research center in the western Gulf of Mexico dedicated to providing science-based information that supports sustainable management of the multibillion-dollar Gulf of Mexico recreational fishery.

Stunz joined the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus in 2002, after previously serving in positions at Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University at Galveston, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He was brought into HRI in 2007 as one of its founding chairs and has led the institute’s fisheries research efforts.

Among other accomplishments, Stunz is the lead investigator on the Great Red Snapper Count, an unprecedented $12 million research project leading a coalition of scientists in estimating the number of red snapper in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico. He also led efforts to study artificial reefing practices in the Gulf, which boasts one of the largest complexes of man-made reefs in the world, to determine whether the structures benefited fisheries populations and, if so, how to best create them.

The Sportfish Center, under Stunz, leads the largest shark tagging program in the western Gulf of Mexico, bolstered by a unique citizen science program that engages shark fishmen across the Gulf in tagging sharks, giving them a stake in conservation.

Stunz was instrumental in creating the Texas A&M System’s Marine Biology Interdisciplinary Program, which linked together schools across the System to provide a unique graduate program to students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in marine biology.

Stunz is engaged with numerous boards, panels, and scientific advisory committees from the local to national levels, including serving as a sitting councilperson on the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, the governing body that oversees fisheries management in the Gulf.

“Greg has taken it to heart to make sure his science and mentorship make a difference in the Gulf of Mexico,” said HRI Senior Executive Director Dr. David Yoskowitz. “From the field studies to developing solutions and then implementing them, he has experienced the full spectrum of what it means to be an impactful scientist.”

About the Regents Awards

The selection process for the awards begins with a call for nominations from the chancellor. Final nominations are put forth to the chief executive officer of each respective entity. They are then subject to a System-level review consisting of academic vice chancellors and past recipients of the awards. Finally, nominations are forwarded to the chancellor and the board for final approval.

To date, 268 A&M system faculty members have been recognized with the Regents Professor Award and 157 agency professionals have received the Regents Fellow Service Award. 

About the Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.