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January 21, 2009

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler Biology Professor Awarded Grant to Study Neches River


Dr. Lance Williams, associate professor of biology at The University of Texas at Tyler, was awarded more than $50,000 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to study aspects of the Neches River, Dr. Arlene Horne, associate vice president for research and federal relations, announced.

As leader for the two-year project, Williams will analyze fish, unionid mussels and riparian vegetation populations.

“The overall goal of the project is to evaluate how geomorphology and instream flow affect the diversity and abundance of these communities in the Upper Neches River Watershed,” Williams said. “The specific region of the study will be in the Neches River between Texas Highways 175 and 59, below Lake Palestine.”

UT Tyler faculty Dr. Neil Ford, professor of biology and Dr. Suneeti Jog, assistant professor of biology; and Marsha Williams, part-time grant investigator for the university’s biology department, serve as co-principal investigators for the $51, 561 contract, which was funded by TPWD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service State Wildlife Grant Program.

The team will gather data at 10 sites in the specified area. According to Williams, baseline geomorphic and hydrologic data also will be essential to monitor future changes in land use of the river and surrounding areas.

“By relating geomorphic and hydrologic conditions to fish, mussel and riparian plant assemblages, we can provide models that would predict how changes in flow regime would affect populations of individual species of concern,” he added.                                                 

A faculty member since 2007, Williams holds a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Mississippi State University. He was named Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2002 and 2004 and received a 2008 Outstanding Faculty Award from UT Tyler’s Alpha Chi Honor Society.

TPWD’s mission is to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities.

For more information, visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. Nearly 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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