Research Interests

Dr. Hicks is the Chair and Associate Professor of Marine & Estuarine Ecology of the Department of Biological Sciences at UTB.  He received his Ph.D. in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas – Arlington in 1999.  His research focuses on capacity adaptations (e.g., physiological adjustments) in marine invertebrates (particularly molluscs) in response to environmental gradients (natural and anthropogenic). Dr. Hicks is actively engaged in research projects ranging from the restoration of Bahia Grande here in the lower Rio Grande Valley, to monitoring invertebrate and fish community use of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.


16. Hicks, D.W. and R.F. McMahon. 2005. Effects of temperature on tolerance of chronic hypoxia in the nonindigenous brown mussel, Perna perna(Bivalvia: Mytilidae) from the Texas Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Molluscan Studies 71(4): 401-408.

15. Bates, T.W. and D.W. Hicks. 2005. Locomotory Behavior and Habitat Selection in Littoral Gastropods on Caribbean Limestone Shores.  Journal of Shellfish Research 24(1): 75-84.

14. Amoako-Atta, S. and D.W. Hicks. 2004. GIS decision support system for prevention of ballast water-borne species introductions. Proceedings, 24th Annual ESRI International User Conference, August 9-13, 2004, San Diego, California (download reprint), 12 pp.

13. Hicks, D.W. and R.F. McMahon. 2003. Temperature and relative humidity effects on water loss and emersion tolerance of Perna perna (L.) (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) from the Gulf of Mexico. Bulletin of Marine Science 72(1): 135-150.

12. Hicks, D.W. and R.F. McMahon. 2002. Respiratory responses to temperature and hypoxia in the nonindigenous brown mussel, Perna perna(Bivalvia: Mytilidae), from the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 277(1): 61-78.

11. Hicks, D.W. and R.F. McMahon. 2002. Temperature acclimation of upper and lower thermal limits and freeze resistance in the nonindigenous brown mussel, Perna perna (L.), from the Gulf of Mexico. Marine Biology 140(6): 1167-1179.

10. Hicks, D.W., N.C. Barrera, and J.W. Tunnell, Jr. 2001. Ecological distribution of shallow-water mollusks of Alacrán reef, Campeche Bank, Yucatan, Mexico. Texas Conchologist 38: 7-30.

9. Ingrao, D.A., P.M. Mikkelsen, and D.W. Hicks. 2001. Another introduced marine mollusk in the Gulf of Mexico: The Indo-Pacific green mussel,Perna viridis (Linnaeus, 1758), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Journal of Shellfish Research 20: 13-19.

8. Hicks, D.W., J.W. Tunnell, Jr. and R.F. McMahon. 2001. Population dynamics of the nonindigenous brown mussel, Perna perna (Linnaeus, 1758), in the Gulf of Mexico compared to other world-wide populations. Marine Ecology - Progress Series 211: 181-192.

7. Hicks, D.W., D.L. Hawkins and R.F. McMahon 2000. Salinity tolerance of brown mussel Perna perna (L.) from the Gulf of Mexico: an extension of life table analysis to estimate median survival time in the presence of regressor variables. Journal of Shellfish Research 19(1): 203-212.

6. Holland, B.S., D.S. Gallagher, D.W. Hicks, and S.K. Davis. 1999. Cytotaxonomic confirmation of an exotic marine mussel in the Gulf of Mexico. The Veliger 42: 280-282.

5. Hicks, D.W., C.P. Onuf, and J.W. Tunnell, Jr. 1998. Response of shoal grass, Halodule Wrightii, to extreme winter conditions in the lower Laguna Madre, Texas. Aquatic Botany 62:107-114.

4. Hardegree, B., D.W. Hicks, and J.W. Tunnell, Jr. 1996. Evaluation of burning as an oil spill cleanup technique in a high marsh community along the south Texas coast. Pages 195-211 in, Proffitt, C.E. and P.F. Roscigno (eds.), Proceedings: Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Oil Spills in Coastal Ecosystems: Assessing Effects, Natural Recovery, and Progress in Remediation Research, OCS Study/MMS 95-0063. U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans LA. 245 pp.

3. Hicks, D.W. and J.W. Tunnell, Jr. 1995. Ecological notes and patterns of dispersal in the recently introduced mussel, Perna perna (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Gulf of Mexico. American Malacological Bulletin 11(2):203-206.

2. Tunnell, J.W. B. Hardegree, and D.W. Hicks. 1995. Environmental impact and recovery of a high marsh pipeline oil spill and burn site, upper Copano Bay, Texas. Proceedings of the 1995 Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, DC, 133-138.

1. Hicks, D.W. and J.W. Tunnell. 1993. Invasion of the south Texas coast by the edible brown mussel Perna perna (Linnaeus, 1758). The Veliger 36(1): 92-94.


Coastal Ecology (BIOL 4127/4327 & 5127/5327): This course examines the major near shore habitats and communities of the western Gulf of Mexico including: beaches, sand dunes, estuaries, salt marshes, mud flats, sea grass meadows, and rocky shores. Emphasis is placed on directed, field-oriented, group and/or individual research projects.

Invertebrate Zoology (BIOL 3114/3314): This is a course that covers the comparative morphology, evolution, systematic, and natural history of the invertebrates.

Marine Zoology (BIOL 4102/4302): This course is a study of the common marine animals, especially invertebrates in coastal waters, particular attention is given to structural and physiological relationships.

Bioenergetics (BIOL 5350): The use of quantitative analysis of energy resource partitioning to study the evolution of adaptational strategy at the biochemical, cellular, individual, population and ecosystem levels, including quantitative analysis of physiological processes and life history adaptations in terms of energetic efficiency.

Biostatistics (BIOL 5455): The application, interpretation, and critique of statistical methods in relation to the design and analysis of biological experiments. Topics include analysis of variance, linear regression, correlation, and selected advanced topics. This course will emphasize the use of statistical software packages and reporting of results.

Statistical Applications in Ecology: The application, interpretation, and critique of statistical methods for analyzing arrays of species-by-samples data as arise in biological monitoring of environmental impacts and fundamental studies of community ecology. Topics include standard diversity indices; hierarchical clustering; multidimensional scaling (MDS); principal components analyses (PCA); Analysis of similarities (ANOSIM); relating community structure to physiochemical parameters; and selected advanced topics. This course will emphasize the use of statistical software packages and reporting of results.

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Dr. David W. Hicks of University of Texas at Brownsville (956)-882-5055