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Did you know....

a new lecture series is drawing large crowds to the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas, an extension of The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences?

Thanks to the Laura Randall Schweppe Endowed Lecture Series in Marine Science, this new lecture series at the Marine Science Institute is intended to increase public awareness of the marine sciences while raising the profile of the Institute. H. Irving Schweppe, M.D., with his daughters, Anne Schweppe Ashmun and Jane Schweppe, funded the series in honor of his late wife. Lecture series presenters have included "the Shark Lady," Dr. Eugenie Clark, a world-renowned authority on sharks, and Dr. Les Watling, whose work on habitat destruction caused by commercial fishing activities was featured in the movie The Perfect Storm. Dr. Schweppe hopes that the attraction of star researchers will raise the Institute's scientific profile by fostering a high-powered academic environment for faculty development. At the same time, the visiting scholars can contribute to the center's academic mission by spending several days in workshops with students and staff.

The Marine Science Institute is the oldest marine laboratory on the Texas Gulf coast and began in 1946 as a series of modest wooden structures. The University of Texas at Austin has since invested steadily in the facility, including major modern steel and concrete laboratory expansions in 1961, 1973, and 1974. The latest building complex was completed in 1983 and includes an auditorium, library, and visitor's center. Permanent University Fund bonds provided approximately $3.8 million for these structures.

The Institute's annual research support is $4.4 million per year. Through the PUF academic excellence program, the Institute receives approximately $500,000 per year for research support. In addition to PUF support, the Institute receives funding of approximately $325,000 per year from fourteen endowments invested in The University of Texas System Long Term Fund. These endowments have a combined value of $7.7 million as of August 31, 2001. The Marine Science Institute is also funded through general budget funding, sponsored-project funding, and state-appropriated funds.

Since 1946, this institute has trained students and top-flight researchers in marine biology. Every year, thousands of people visit the center's 72-acre beachfront complex to explore the abundance of Texas marine life through their aquariums, displays, and field excursions. As the premier research center for Gulf Coast marine sciences, the Marine Science Institute has a strong impact on Texas. In addition to education, it contributes to the fishing and tourism industries, works on environmental problems, and conducts a wide range of marine research that benefits the citizens of Texas and the nation. The Marine Science Institute is truly a Texas treasure.