Wildlife Care, Conservation, and Research Fund

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CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – In 2013, the Texas State Aquarium established the Wildlife Care, Conservation, and Research Fund (WCCR) to further the Aquarium’s mission of inspiring conservation of the Gulf of Mexico. Each year, the Aquarium will award funding to programs that focus on habitat restoration, wildlife management, conservation, and wildlife rehabilitation in the Gulf. Projects must focus on species in the Aquarium’s living collection or habitats that support those species.

Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid says, “We are very excited to continue to offer this program and help further research and conservation projects that can make a difference to the species and ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico. As a not-for-profit entity, we are acutely aware of how important grant funding is to projects, so we are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to others.”


Applications for grants up to $15,000 are being accepted now through 10 August 2015.





2014 WCCR Fund Recipients

Sharks with Spectators II – Real-time, global tracking of Texas’ marine apex predators for science, education, and research

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi – Harte Research Institute / Greg Stunz and Matt Ajemian

This project is awarded $15,000 and will build upon the work Dr. Stunz’s team completed with WCCR funds in 2013.  Project scientists will tag and track large sharks.  Information concerning the animals’ current location and past movements will be sent to the Coastal Bend and global community allowing for outreach and education opportunities and better understanding of declining shark populations.

Citizen Science – Larval blue crab monitoring project

Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve / Ed Buskey and Colleen McCue

This project is awarded $15,000 and will continue the work of an existing collaboration of researchers and citizens with the goal of obtaining long term information about the recruitment of larval blue crabs to the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve. The importance of freshwater inflows and passes between the Gulf of Mexico and coastal estuaries in times of drought to blue crab larval recruitment will be investigated. 

Identifying nesting habitat for Texas diamondback terrapins in the Nueces Estuary with implications for other Texas estuaries

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi – Center for Coastal Studies / Aaron Baxter

This project is awarded is $14,500 and will attempt to identify nest sites for Texas diamondback terrapins in the Nueces Estuary.  Texas diamondback terrapins are a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Texas and it is necessary to identify and preserve functional nesting habitat.

Texas Stream Team monofilament finders

Texas State University – Meadows Center / Meredith Miller

This project is awarded $14,000 and will engage a well-establBiomarkers to assess risks of infectious disease in coralsished statewide citizen science network with partner organizations in monofilament education, collection, and recycling. 


University of Texas at Austin / Mikhail Matz

This project is awarded $11,900 and will develop biological indicators that could be used to evaluate the risk of infectious outbreak at the Flower Garden Banks as well as other Caribbean reefs. 

Validating Atlantic tarpon scale chemistry to track migration in Texas waters

University of Texas Marine Science Institute / Benjamin Walther

This project is awarded $3,000 and will test the use of chemical compositions of Atlantic tarpon scales to reconstruct migration patterns.