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Field lab

University of Texas at Austin students interact with the Biodiversity Center's collections and field labs in various courses in the biological sciences. Specimens in the collections are used in teaching labs to improve understanding of the natural world. And two field labs located within one hour of the main campus of The University of Texas at Austin provide students with opportunities to get out of the classroom for boots-on-the-ground scientific experience.

The center has a national reputation as a premiere site for research on invasive species, evolution and behavior, biodiversity, climate change, and drought, which also enhances students' academic experiences.

By enabling hands-on, discovery-based learning, center initiatives let students pose their own questions, develop hypotheses and design experiments to address their questions. At the Brackenridge Field Lab, Professor Larry Gilbert says a major breakthrough in research about fire ants began with an undergraduate student's research project: "That student’s research led to just about everything that happened later, quite a few millions in grant money and lots of progress in the science of biological control." 

Biodiversity Center programs include a number of outreach and research opportunities for undergraduates.

Undergraduate Research

We have many opportunities for independent research projects dealing with biology/evolution/ecology of insects, fishes, amphibians and reptiles, plants and more. Learn more about these in EUREKA!

Additionally, contact a scientist, curator or collections manager in the research area that most interests you. You can review these areas and locate contact information on our Volunteer page.

Tthere are many opportunities including taking one of the Biology Field Courses, or courses in any of the natural sciences-oriented Freshman Research Initiative streams (FRI).

The Biodiversity Scholars Program provides a stipend for students who might not otherwise have the resources to attend a field course. Learn more about this program here.


InSTInCT (Inclusive Student Training in Collections and field-based Topics) is an 8-week summer research program that provides undergraduates with an opportunity to conduct cutting-edge scientific research on the diversity of life and organisms in their natural environment. Students are matched with a faculty mentor based on research interests and are given access and exposure to the wealth of resources and facilities that UT Austin has to offer.

Additionally, program participants partake in an inclusive professional development curriculum that highlights careers in the biodiversity sciences, applying to graduate school, and thriving as a scientist. Students from backgrounds underrepresented in the sciences are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more here.