Texas A&M-Galveston, Mexican Universities Team Up On Shark And Hurricane Research

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Two Texas A&M University at Galveston researchers have been awarded grants to conduct work on marine science and marine biology projects. The grants are from CONACYT (the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia), a research partnership between Texas A&M and several institutions in Mexico.

David Wells, assistant professor of marine biology, will work with his postdoctoral research associate John Mohan to learn more about shark movements in the Pacific Ocean as part of a project titled “Connectivity of Large Apex Predators in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem using Natural Tracers.”

“We will examine the vertebrate of four shark species – Great White, Shortfin Mako, Blue and Common Thresher – and from the chemical signatures preserved in their bones, attempt to reconstruct their movement patterns as these species exhibit transboundary migrations between U.S. and Mexican waters,” Wells says.

For more about his work, go to http://www.wellsfisherieslab.com/

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Pete van Hengstum’s research uses the sediment that is archived in sinkholes, blueholes and underwater caves to examine climate and sea-level change.  Van Hengstum, assistant professor of marine science, along with Professor Luis Mejia-Ortiz (Mexico) and their students, will work on their project titled, “Did the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) Modulate Late Holocene Hurricane Strikes on the Yucatan Peninsula.”

“We will develop a high-resolution record of intense hurricane strikes on the Yucatan Peninsula going back hundreds to thousands of years from a site we have found that contains this information,” van Hengstum explains.

“The goal is to better understand how the ocean and climate system control the development of these dangerous storms over long timescales to better inform local and regional coastal populations of future hurricane risks.”

The Texas A&M University-CONACYT: Collaborative Research Grant Program marks a significant place in the strong history between a Texas university with a commitment to others and a Mexican government body with much of the same goals — improve lives, ensure economic stability and make a difference for the future. CONACYT is Mexico’s foremost agency for the support of research, both in Mexico and abroad.

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Texas A&M University at Galveston is a special-purpose campus of Texas A&M University offering undergraduate and graduate programs under the name and authority of Texas A&M University. With a distinct identity in marine themes, Texas A&M Galveston is intimately connected to the land grant mission of Texas A&M University and, as such, its academic programs and research initiatives are linked to finding basic and applied solutions in maritime affairs, science and technology, and ocean studies. The institution is under the management and control of the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System. For more information, visit www.tamug.edu.

Contacts:  David Wells  at  wellsr@tamug.edu, or (409) 740-4989 or Pete J. van Hengstum at vanhenp@tamug.edu or (409) 740-4919 or Bob Wright, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Texas A&M University at Galveston. Office: 409-740-4840, Cell: 713-586-9870 Email: WrightB@TAMUG.edu, or Keith Randall, News & Information, (979) 845-4644 or keith-randall@tamu.edu

For more news about Texas A&M University, see http://today.tamu.edu/.

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