What We Do

The mission of the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center is to support conservation efforts through applied research on species that are endangered, threatened, and at risk. The center is a refugium – or safe harbor – for endangered species. Major consideration is placed on assessment of biological issues related to the springs of the Edwards Aquifer and other west Texas spring systems.

Management and Conservation

Our activities include 

  1. collection, maintenance, and propagation of rare, threatened, or endangered fishes, amphibians, plants, and invertebrates;   2.
  2. research on life history, ecological requirements, genetics, and culture of Edwards Aquifer organisms;  
  3. research on restoration of refugium species;  
  4. collection of biological information on the region’s aquatic biological resources;  5.
  5. research related to invasive species invasive species
    An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

    Learn more about invasive species
    in aquatic ecosystems, especially involving listed species;  
  6. critical habitat restoration;  
  7. research on life history and culture of listed aquatic west Texas species;  8.
  8. troubleshooting problems at other hatcheries; and 
  9. training hatchery personnel. 

Our Projects and Research

We use science and innovative technology to drive our management and conservation of aquatic resources. And we work collaboratively with partners to effectively meet today’s complex conservation challenges 

Our Aquatic Ecology and Conservation Program studies multiple species that are not the primary focus of traditional fisheries programs, including insects, crustaceans, mollusks, salamanders, and toads.  

Our Edwards Aquifer Species Conservation program supports species endemic to the Edwards Aquifer and associated springs, providing populations supported in captivity as insurance against catastrophic events. 

Our Plant Ecology and Restoration Program conducts research on Texas wild rice to improve its management in the wild and its captive propagation. We also assist with habitat restoration within and along the San Marcos River.