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Texas A&M University at Galveston is home to the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research (GCSTR), an important hub for sea turtle research and conservation activities. The Center was created to address a lack of data and research concerning sea turtle populations along the Texas coast and the western Gulf area, and now provides vital leadership in sea turtle preservation efforts across the region.

Five of the world’s seven species of sea turtle can be found in the Gulf of Mexico and all are threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The western Gulf coast is the primary nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, the smallest and most endangered sea turtle in the world.

A variety of innovative programs are used at the GCSTR to study, protect, and recover these remarkable sea creatures. Among them is the Sea Aggie Sea Turtle Patrol, a nesting and monitoring program focused on protecting the Kemp’s ridley as well as other sea turtle species. The Center also operates a small, temporary sea turtle hospital facility for rescue and rehabilitation of turtles found nesting and stranded along the Gulf Coast and is in the process of planning and fundraising for a permanent facility. Since it was established in 2019, the GCSTR has been able to rescue, rehabilitate, and release hundreds of endangered sea turtles.

Facilitating relationships between the science community and industry partners is another mission of the Center. The GCSTR uses a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to understanding sea turtle biology, producing research findings that inform decisions on marine habitat protection policies.

During a recent visit to the Center, Peter ONeill, Chief Innovation Officer for Texas A&M Innovation, participated in the release of a rehabilitated Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, described by ONeill as a special honor.

Going beyond the typical focus of commercializing intellectual property, Texas A&M Innovation is providing business development support to the GCSTR to assist in meeting their goals to generate revenue that will sustain their operations for years to come. Texas A&M Innovation welcomes partnering with research centers and institutes throughout The Texas A&M University System to advance the scientific expertise and discoveries that will make the world a better place for all of us.

Learn more about the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research.

Read a related article from Texas A&M Today on a special turtle release and future plans to expand the Center.

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