Marine Science Institute
The Marine Science Institute (UTMSI), located in Port Aransas, Texas, is home to the Department of Marine Science in the College of Natural Sciences. The institute is dedicated to advancing and sharing knowledge of estuaries, coastal, and blue-water oceans through research, education, and outreach programs. Marine science faculty, students, and professional staff conduct basic and applied research with global reach, from the Gulf of Mexico waters to the polar oceans. The department is well known for its masters and doctoral degree programs in marine science. A Bachelor of Science in Biology: Option III: Marine and Freshwater Science undergraduate degree is available through the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.
Founded in 1941, the seventy-two-acre UTMSI main campus, and ten-acre Port Street campus are strategically located on the north shore of Mustang Island, which offers unparalleled access to open Gulf waters and the pristine bays and estuaries of Texas. These natural habitats include: fresh to hypersaline waters; sea grass and mud flats; shell reef; sand beaches; dune areas; the open Gulf; and estuarine nurseries. Core research areas include marine ecosystem structure and function, fisheries biology, organismal biology, fish physiology, and marine biogeochemistry. The Fisheries and Mariculture Laboratory on Port Street conducts research in captive spawning, larval development, nutrition, and physiology of recreationally and commercially important fishes.
The Marine Science Institute facilities include approximately 200,000 square feet of research and teaching laboratories, digital classrooms, study areas, library, pier laboratory, visitor center, auditorium, meeting rooms, and offices. Dormitories, apartment housing, visitor housing, cafeteria, and fitness facilities support resident student and visiting scholar needs. The institute's boat basin harbors watercraft ranging from shallow water skiffs to the R/V Katy, a 57-foot trawler.
The Marine Science Institute is home to the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) headquarters. The NERR is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration program managed by UTMSI. The Mission-Aransas NERR spans 185,708 acres and is the third largest of only twenty-nine estuarine research reserves in the United States. The mission of the NERR program focuses on research, education, and stewardship. The NERR outreach facilities include the Estuary Explorium, the Wetlands Education Center, and the Bay Education Center, which is located in Rockport, Texas, and home to Science On a Sphere®, one of only three in Texas.
Faculty, graduate, undergraduate students, and professional research staff at UTMSI have achieved landmark discoveries in marine science spanning decades of local and global interests. The record of excellence in research, teaching, and mentorship provide an outstanding opportunity for new students interested in marine science career paths.