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Research


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Our research branches:

Current research on management and utilization of commercial and recreational fishery species and their habitats stresses efforts to maintain and enhance catches of invertebrates and fishes by:

  • Evaluation of fishery management plans for the Texas brown shrimp and Tortugas pink shrimp fisheries, including estuarine and offshore stock assessments, effects of migrations and annual forecasts of future landings, and
  • Establishment of comparative values of estuarine habitats for various species, including factors affecting growth and survival, utilization of natural and artificially-created habitats such as marsh grasses, seagrasses, mangroves or mud flats, for food or refuge, and effects of alterations in freshwater inflow.

Extensive collection and analysis of fishery-dependent and fishery-independent catch statistics complements the ecological analyses.

Current research on protected sea turtle species seeks to enhance and recover their populations by:

  • Protecting nesting beaches, creating new nesting beaches, and rehabilitating sick or injured sea turtles,
  • Reducing take incidental to various commercial fishing activities (e.g. use of Turtle Excluder Devices in shrimp trawls), and due to petroleum platform removal using underwater explosives,
  • Determining movements and migrations and habitat preferences,
  • Assessing status of stocks through analysis and modeling, and
  • Improving understanding of sea turtle biology and habitat requirements through mark-recapture studies, and satellite and radio tagging studies conducted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Galveston Laboratory Research History :

  • 1950   Began at Fort Crockett under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study red tide.
  • 1956   Researchers began new system of keeping shrimp fishery records.
  • 1957   Began Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Laboratory to serve the Gulf of Mexico.
  • 1960's Expanded to studies of shrimp natural history and shrimp aquaculture.
  • 1970   Became part of the National Marine Fisheries Service in the newly established National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • 1970's Embarked on comprehensive oceanographic surveys of the Gulf of Mexico.  Continued to be a world leader in shrimp aquaculture research.
  • 1978   Established new sea turtle research and the Headstart Program to help recover the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle.
  • 1980's Began predictive modeling and ecological analyses of shrimp and fish populations.  Initiated research on essential fish habitat (EFH) in Texas, Louisiana and the nation.
  • 1990's Started tracking of sea turtles with satellites, mapping of EFH using Geographic Information Systems, testing Turtle Excluder Devices and Bycatch Reduction Devices, modeling at ecosystem level, and restoring coastal marshes.
  • Today The Galveston Laboratory continues to be a key federal fisheries research installation in the Gulf of Mexico through the help of its many partners.