Research at the Coastal Studies Laboratory focuses on the coastal ecosystems of southern Texas and northern Mexico. Current emphasis is on the Laguna Madre and South Padre Island.
Faculty research interests include:
- Role of disturbance in determining community structure and development of vegetation of barrier islands.
- Sea grass surveys with species Thalassia testudinum.
- Algae growth with species Gracillaria.
- Sediment sampling of the Laguna Madre.
- Hyperspectral imaging of the Laguna Madre.
- Red tide monitoring station.
- Texas Beach Watch Program through the Texas General Land Office.
- Sea turtle rescue.
- Marine mammal rescue.
The laboratory includes 7,700 sq. ft. of enclosed space and 3,300 sq. ft. of semi-enclosed research space. The enclosed space contains a classroom, two teaching laboratories, five research labs, a shop, two offices, a garage, and a public display area. The semi-enclosed space houses storage tanks for a seawater system and rearing tanks for marine organisms. Library holdings at the laboratory are in excess of 300 volumes and 30 journal subscriptions. Faculty and students also have access to the library at the main campus at Edinburg, Texas, and at The University of Texas at Brownsville. Support facilities and equipment include a walk-in environmental chamber, four-wheel drive pickup, two Honda 250 “Fourtrax” ATVs, and various outboard motorboats.