Button to scroll to the top of the page.


From the College of Natural Sciences
Font size: +

Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Jess Hay Fellowship

Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Jess Hay Fellowship
Derek Bolser, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute was recently awarded a prestigious Jess Hay Chancellor’s Graduate Student Research Fellowship award from The University of Texas System for 2020-2021.

A prestigious Jess Hay Chancellor's Graduate Student Research Fellowship award from The University of Texas System will be given this year to Derek Bolser, a fifth-year doctoral student studying marine science at The University of Texas at Austin.

The fellowship was established by former University of Texas System Regent Jess Hay, a visionary leader and proponent of supporting research opportunities for graduate students whose work benefits the state of Texas.

Bolser's fisheries research focuses on the unexpected and unique role of industrial structures for fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Fishing is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is also home to multi-billion-dollar petroleum and shipping industries, which have necessitated the construction of many hard-walled ship channels and oil rigs throughout the region. Many areas where economically important fish species are found are also important for these other industries.

Bolser uses technologies like sonar and specialized underwater cameras to characterize fish communities around structures like oil rigs and ship channels, and understand what might happen to fish if conditions around these structures change. 

"Given how common these structures are, this knowledge is essential to sustaining fisheries over the long-term and fostering healthy coexistence between industries and fish populations," said Bolser.

His research suggests that many structures in the Gulf of Mexico that are essential to the petroleum and shipping industries also play a vital role for fish. Development and industrialization are realities for the Gulf of Mexico and the resilient fish of the region have been able to adapt to these changes so far. This knowledge is useful to better understand the impacts of development and change to environmental conditions, giving managers information they need to ensure fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico are sustainable for years to come.

Bolser is also a Donald D. Harrington Dissertation Fellow and is based at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. He conducts much of his research aboard vessels in ship channels and around oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Originally from Gainesville, Florida, he earned a B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Florida in 2016. Prior to attending The University of Texas at Austin, he worked in the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology and Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program at the University of Florida, and as a middle and high school cross country and track coach in Gainesville, Florida.

"I'm thrilled to be awarded the prestigious Jess Hay Fellowship," he said. "It is an honor to serve the state of Texas and produce research to benefit the state and help fulfill Hay's vision."

Planning for Spring
Department of Energy Invests in High-power Laser N...


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 30 January 2023

Captcha Image