The Texas State Aquarium is investing in fisheries research at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) to help understand the fish use of shipping channels and passes. The Texas State Aquarium is collaborating with researchers to understand how, when, and why fish use shipping channels and passes. Strong currents in these dynamic habitats create productive environments that support large volumes of small fishes and invertebrates, which then support large populations of the most important sportfishes. Red and black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, and flounder all gather and migrate through these channels in massive numbers during certain periods to spawn, feed, or both. Likewise, these areas serve as vital pathways for larvae to be carried towards their inshore nurseries grounds and for juveniles to migrate out to join adult populations.
Fisheries ecologist, Dr. Brad Erisman will lead the UTMSI research team to monitor how the abundance, distribution, spawning, feeding and other activities of fishes in the Aransas Ship Channel vary in relation to environmental conditions (e.g. cold snaps, storm events, seasons). This project will shed light on fisheries in the Coastal Bend and pave the way to understanding how fish move throughout our systems and how external forces impact their populations.