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The following lists the field courses offered throughout the school year. To check on registration and availability of a course, please visit the registrar's website hereWe also offer the Biodiversity Scholars Program to assist students-in-need with taking a field course.

collecting inverts
BIO 208L Field Biology

An introductory biology course with a writing component. Labs meet primarily at Brackenridge Field Laboratory. Some labs meet on-campus and then we travel off-campus to nearby parks. Through in-lab and weekend field trips, students learn common plants and invertebrates and use ecological research protocols to answer questions about our environment. Several labs are devoted to independent research projects. Major writing assignments include a field journal and a research paper on the independent projects. A highlight of the course is a weekend field trip spent conducting vegetation surveys at Bracken Cave, the world’s largest bat colony. One lecture hour and four laboratory/field trip hours per week. Offered every semester.

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BIO 340L Biology of Birds

An advanced biology course for undergraduate students, it has a strong emphasis on identification of Texas birds. Lecture content focuses on evolutionary ecology. Lab activities include examination of preserved specimens, dissection, data analysis and field trips. Optional ½-day field trips are offered each week, as well as two full-weekend trips, one to the Lower Rio Grande Valley region and another to High Island, TX for spring migration. Offered every spring semester.

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BIO 369F Field Herpetology

Identification of Texas reptile and amphibian species by sight and sound, along with a practical introduction to survey and research techniques. Single block of five hours each week spent in laboratory or in field. First half of course focused in lab on specimen identifications, second half of course spent solely in field. Up to three weekend trips (two required) to conduct fieldwork and surveys in different habitats across state. Offered spring semester in even years.

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BIO 453L Entomology

Introduction to the biology of arthropods and their relevance to human affairs. The lecture is divided into three broad sections dealing respectively with 1. Morphology and physiology, 2. Life histories, and 3. Medical, cultural, historical, and economic importance of arthropods. The lab focuses on collection, curation, and identification. Optional field trips in central Texas are offered weekends and/or evenings. Offered every fall semester.

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BIO 455L Vertebrate Natural History

Introduction to phylogeny and taxonomy of vertebrates, with an emphasis on the life histories and distributions of Texas vertebrates. Single block of five hours each week spent in laboratory or in field. Weeks with lectures and specimen identification in lab will be augmented by as many as seven in-class field trips. Up to three weekend trips (two required) to conduct fieldwork and surveys in different habitats across state. Offered spring semester in odd years.
plant ID

BIO 463L Plant Systematics

Principles of plant classification, phylogeny  and diversity as exemplified by families and species of  flowering plants found seasonally in Texas with an emphasis on the local flora. Two lecture hours and three laboratory/field trip hours a week.  Includes 4 field trips to Austin Parks, collection and identification of plants from central Texas, overview of flowering plant diversity, evolutionary relationships and classification and access to UT-Austin’s plant collections in the Plant Resources Center.  Offered every fall semester.



BIO373L Field Ecology

Field Ecology is an advanced undergraduate lab course focused in field ecology techniques and independent study. Students enter the course with a background in ecology and statistics and are expected to perform data collection in small groups with minimal supervision. Weekly labs are accompanied by a write-up assignment in which students synthesize information from previous studies and their own observations in the style of a peer-reviewed article. At the beginning of the course, each student is assigned an acre of land to study independently throughout the semester by mapping the landscape and documenting the species they encounter. Reports of student acre observations are kept as records in the lab that provide focused, primary accounts of the natural communities across the Brackenridge Field Laboratory (BFL) over time. The course ends with four weeks of independent study, where students use the skills they gained in the course to design and execute their own research project. This course is an excellent preparation for 3rd and 4th year students planning to study or work in ecology and would not be possible without the resources provided by BFL and Stengl Lost Pines.