Mike Smith coordinates Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME) activities for Dr. Paul Montagna and other CCME faculty and also serves as Coordinator for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Wildlife & Fisheries Team. Smith earned a Master's degree in Environmental Science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2008 after a long management career in private business. His graduate research focused on environmental concerns and economic solutions for recycling municipal solid waste. He also supported faculty members in their research on chemosynthetic communities and ecosystem-based management in the Gulf.
For the next seven and a half years, he managed programs and projects for the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, including a long-standing community-based habitat restoration partnership funded by NOAA and EPA and a unique training in Gulf restoration for conservation corps youth. He served as Project Coordinator for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team from 2009 to 2013 and then ascended to the role of Coordinator for the team through the end of 2014. Team projects completed under his term included sea-level rise assessment, regional and international policy analyses, regional sediment management, ecosystem services valuation projections, habitat restoration practitioners forums, GIS data portal, and US-Mexico habitat restoration and conservation collaboration.