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NOTICE: Update on the campus rebuild - The Patton Marine Science Education Center is under construction. We apologize for any inconvenience and we appreciate your understanding and all of your support!



The public lecture series are presentations of research and programs by scientists. All lectures are free and specially prepared for the public and occur January - March. 

All lectures are FREE of charge and will be presented in person.

If you have any questions, please contact Adriana Reza at (361)749-3152 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Lectures at 7:00 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday

Pioneer Beach Resort, 120 Gulfwind Drive, Hwy 361, Port Aransas


January 27      Listen In: Sounds of Estuary

Dr. Chris Biggs, The University of Texas Marine Science Institute

There is a symphony of sounds underwater produced by both marine life and humans, which tells us about the biodiversity and health of the estuary. Sounds are associated with important behaviors such as communication, feeding, and reproduction, but can be affected by human-made noise.


February 3      Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Alicia Walker, Amos Rehabilitation Keep, The University of Texas Marine Science Institute

 An update on the Amos rehabilitation Keep (ARK) and look closely at sea turtle and Brown Pelican tagging data. 


February 10      The fate of microplastics in marine environments

Dr. Zhanfei Liu, The University of Texas Marine Science Institute

As the production of plastics has been accelerating over the past several decades, a major fraction of the plastic products ends up in marine environments as forms of macro- and microplastics This presents concerns to the health of humans and marine organisms. How toxic are the plastics and how long can they last in the ocean? These are the important questions for the scientific community to address. I will talk about what we have learned along these topics in general, while focusing on my recent projects dealing with plastic nurdles along the Texas coast and degradation of plastics in the deep ocean.  


February 17     A Review of the February 2021: Arctic Outbreak

Melissa Huffman, National Weather Service

In February 2021, extreme cold and snow, sleet, and ice combined to produce catastrophic conditions for infrastructure and communities across the state of Texas.  This talk will focus on the unprecedented winter storm that paralyzed Texas in February 2021: the meteorology behind what happened, the impacts observed in South Texas and around the state, and lessons learned for future winter weather events.


February 24      Migratory connections: how an Arctic-breeding shorebird ties together a hemisphere

David Newstead, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program

The Red Knot is an endangered shorebird that is known for epic annual migrations from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, but this species is also known from the western Gulf of Mexico. Prior to 2009, relatively little was known about the species here, but a series of research questions, major advances in technology used for tracking birds, and the hemispheric-scale interest in conserving this bird have resulted in a series of discoveries that have shined a new light on the beaches and bays of Texas and Tamaulipas. This talk will highlight the genesis and the progress of our series of research questions and how they are leading to conservation outcomes both locally and internationally.


March 3     75th Anniversary of The University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Panel discussion of pivotal stories that shaped UTMSI



Laura Randall Schweppe Endowed Lecture Series in Marine Science

Black-SkimmerThrough a generous donation in 1998, Dr. Irving Schweppe, Jr. and his daughters, Anne S. Ashmun and Jane V. S. Scott endowed the Laura Randall Schweppe Endowed Lecture Series in Marine Science at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute. The series honors the memory of a wife and mother who had a lifelong love of the marine environment, especially around Port Aransas. The lecture series brings accomplished scientists to the Marine Science Institute to interact with its faculty, staff, and students and especially to foster new ideas and research collaborations. In addition, these visiting scientists often give a lecture on a topic of interest to the general public.