Dr. Richard C. Harrel

Dr. Richard C. Harrel, a Fellow of the Texas Academy of Science, has been a professor of Biology at Lamar University since 1966. He has studied macroinvertebrates in Texas and Oklahoma streams and rivers for over 40 years.

Locally, Dr. Harrel has designed, completed and published several water quality studies of the lower Neches River. Using a variety of
environmental indicators, he has documented the response of aquatic habitats to changing environmental conditions.

Dr. Harrel's 1971-1972, 1984-1985 and 1999 studies on changes in the numbers and diversity of organisms living on the river bottom showed that the Neches River water quality had improved due, in part, to several local pollution abatement projects. Dr. Harrel has also used the estuarine clam Rangia cuneata to monitor intermittent and low level contaminants that are difficult to detect by standard water quality analyses. Because of their long life spans, need to filter particulates for food, ability to bioaccumulate contaminants and sedentary lifestyle, Rangia have proven to be effective water quality monitoring organisms.