Skip to main content

Alumna elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Posted on

KINGSVILLE (April 28, 2021) —Texas A&I University alumna Dr. Nancy Rabalais was recently elected as one of the newest members of the National Academy of Sciences. The academy recognized Rabalais for her distinguished achievements in original research.


Rabalais attended Del Mar College and then transferred to Texas A&I where she studied sea squirts, an invertebrate also called ascidian. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science in biology in 1972 and 1975 respectively. In 2015, the University and the Javelina Alumni Association recognized Rabalais with the Distinguished Alumni Award.


In 1976, Rabalais went to work at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in 1976 where she identified organisms from continental shelf mud samples as part of the South Texas Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment.


She returned to graduate school in 1979 at University of Texas where she received her doctorate in zoology studying fiddler crab adaptations. She began at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in 1983. 


Rabalais went on to identify the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Since the mid-1980s, she has been characterizing the dynamics of the large region in the northern Gulf of Mexico where the oxygen levels in the bottom waters are so low in spring and summer that fish, shrimp and crabs cannot survive.


“My humble research beginnings in 1976 have grown into a ‘village,’ which is an interdisciplinary science approach that is essential to tackle global problems such as improving environmental quality. I share this honor of being elected to the National Academy of Sciences with all of my colleagues,” she said.


Rabalais is among the 59 women who have been elected, the most women elected in a single year to the National Academy of Sciences. “The historic number of women elected this year reflects the critical contributions that they are making in many fields of science, as well as a concerted effort by our Academy to recognize those contributions and the essential value of increasing diversity in our ranks,” said National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. “I am pleased to welcome all of our new members, and I look forward to engaging with them in the work of the National Academies.”



Category: General Univ , Arts/Sciences

Photo of Julie Navejar

Media Contact

News Archives