Button to scroll to the top of the page.

Biodiversity Blog

 
Staff Writer has not set their biography yet

Through the Herbarium Cabinet: a Student View of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center

Sarah 2 webby Sarah Hunter This summer, through the ongoing haze of the COVID-19 global pandemic, I had the unique opportunity to explore the inner workings of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center at UT. The Herbarium Curation Summer Graduate Fellowship program allowed me three months of hands-on training in the varied aspects of herbarium curat...
Mowing with Purpose: Managing Invasive Grasses at BFL

Mowing with Purpose: Managing Invasive Grasses at BFL

by Jason Lawson, Field Station Research Engineering/Scientist Associate Susie’s Meadow: a favorite landmark at BFL and one of the areas currently undergoing treatment for invasive grasses. The bucolic image of undulating grass fields in a summer breeze looks and feels uniquely Texan. It seems almost unbelievable that so many grasses t...
Featured Species: Slenderhead Darter (Percina phoxocephala)

Featured Species: Slenderhead Darter (Percina phoxocephala)

by Melissa Casarez and Adam Cohen (Ichthyology Collection)   Illustration: Joseph Tomelleri   The Slenderhead Darter occurs throughout the Mississippi River basin, and only exists in Texas in tributaries of the Red River.  It was first documented in TX in 1994 by UT biologists Laurie Dries and David Hillis in Sanders Creek, a...
Saving Water Damaged Species

Saving Water Damaged Species

by Viv Shu (undergraduate Museum Studies Certificate student and Sustainability major) Living plants need water to survive, but dried museum specimens of plants are exactly the opposite! The Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center houses more than 1,000,000 such herbarium specimens in the Main Building. This 85+ year-old landmark, also known as the...
Linda Escobar 2021 Award Recipients Announced

Linda Escobar 2021 Award Recipients Announced

The Linda Escobar Award was established by family and friends to honor the memory of the late Linda Katherine Albert de Escobar (1940–1993), a botanist, educator, and alumna of the UT Plant Biology program whose research centered on the systematics of the genus Passiflora, the widespread and taxonomically diverse plant genus that includes the culti...
From the FRI Field: Deciphering Differences for Biodiversity

From the FRI Field: Deciphering Differences for Biodiversity

 Eleutherodactylus dilatus (Photo: Tom Devitt) The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) at UT gives first-year students the opportunity to initiate and engage in real-world research experience with faculty and graduate students. Several students in the Biodiversity Discovery program this past fall semester have shared their research experienc...

Discovering New Groundwater Invertebrates in Central Texas

Stygobromus sp. Eliza Spg webby Freshman Research Initiative students: Nicholas Hartman, Faith Miles, Antonio Rodriguez  amphipod, Stygobromus sp. (Photo: Tom Devitt) New species of animals evolve through speciation, a process whereby a lineage diverges into a new species. When these new species are first discovered, they are undescribed, meaning they have not be...
Nest building isn't just for the birds

Nest building isn't just for the birds

by Laurel Treviño, Outreach Coordinator for the Jha lab Have you ever wondered what insect carves out the leaf edges on your garden plants? If the leaves look like this cut-leaf daisy, American beautyberry, or rock rose, you may have leafcutter bees in your garden. Several native bees have made nests in my native pollinator garden this May; I spott...

PART 2: Life in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean

pic6By Ryan Rash    Rainbow after a light rain with great frigatebirds and boobies flying overhead. In my previous post, I compared our life in quarantine now to what I experienced on Johnston Atoll, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where I worked on an invasive species control project through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ...

PART 1: Reflections on Isolation from the Middle of the Pacific Ocean

pic2by Ryan Rash   View of Johnston as we were first arriving.  I was a volunteer and then research assistant at the Biodiversity Center’s Ichthyology Collection for a couple years, but moved to the Central Pacific to work and live for 6 months on Johnston Atoll, a one-square-mile island National Wildlife Refuge with a total human pop...

Austin’s Other Orange Butterfly: the Gulf Fritillary

adult1by Dr. Alex Wild (Curator of Entomology, Biodiversity Collections) and Nicole Elmer (Biodiversity Center)    Adult Gulf Fritillary (Photo: Alex Wild) Austin is a butterfly town. About 150 kinds are known to occur in our area, a mix of temperate and tropical, desert and deciduous forest species. Although many people know the famous...

Fishes of Texas and Natural Resource Conservation

image3by Gary P. Garrett, Dean A. Hendrickson, Adam E. Cohen (Ichthyology Collection)    illustrations by Joseph Tomelleri The University of Texas Biodiversity Center Fish Collection holds over 73,000 jars with more than 1.7 million specimens of 1,785 species. Most (>75%) are from Texas freshwaters, representing 216 counties. However...
Mis-Stocking Mayhem: The Hunt for Invasive Gobies in the Colorado River Basin

Mis-Stocking Mayhem: The Hunt for Invasive Gobies in the Colorado River Basin

By: Adam Zambie (undergraduate student; College of Natural Sciences; Environmental Science Major and Marine Science Certificate)   Naked Goby (Gobiosoma bosc), source: FoTX Project Website, credit: Joseph R. Tomelleri Texas has a long history of non-native fish introductions into its rivers, streams, and lakes. Many are improbable st...

Trees of BFL: Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)

BaldCypressby Nicole Elmer and George Yatskievych (Botanist, Curator: Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center) Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is a deciduous conifer (cone bearing) in the family Cupressaceae. The genus consists of very distinctive trees. They can get very tall, growing up to 120 feet, with massive, lobed ...

FEATURED SPECIES: Rio Grande Cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus)

image5By Melissa Casarez and Adam Cohen  (Ichthyology Collection)    Rio Grande Cichlid (Illustration by Joseph Tomelleri)   The Rio Grande Cichlid, sometimes called the Texas Cichlid, is the only member of the Cichlid family native to Texas, and the United States. Their native range includes most of the Rio Grande draina...

Invasives make a splash at the Creek Show

creekby Joe Matza, Texas Applied Arts Creek Monster Habitat student Well, Halloween is officially over, and with that comes the official start of the holiday season. While the holidays ramp up, and the weather cools down, there are some yearly occurrences happening throughout Austin that are not to be missed. One such event is the Waterloo Greenways Cre...

River Monsters, a Texas Edition

HoldingAsnapBy Adam Cohen, Collection Manager and Melissa Casarez, Assistant Collection Manager (Ichthyology Collection) We, in the fish collection, often find ourselves wading in deep, murky waters when out collecting around the state in creeks and rivers with steep banks and little chance for a quick escape, if necessary. During these times, we find it ...

Creatures of Halloween: Widemouth Blindcat (Satan eurystomus)

WidemouthBlindcatBy Dean Hendrickson (Curator, Ichthyology Collection) and Nicole Elmer    Satan eurystomus (Photo: Garold Sneegas) In our last Halloween posting, the scorpionfly donned orange, black, and yellow. The species in this blog’s focus is pale and pink. This is Satan eurystomus, also known as the Widemouth Blindcat, a cave catfish, known...

Native Fish Conservation and the Fishes of Texas Project

Picture1By Gary Garrett (Ichthyology Collection)  Native fish conservation areas of Texas. Freshwater fishes and the ecosystems they depend upon are experiencing massive degradation on a global scale. The American Fisheries Society estimates that around 40% of the freshwater fishes in North America are imperiled. Our studies show that in Texa...

A Rodeo of Insects

Rodeo 1By Jen Schlauch, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Senior    Freshman Research Initiative students A large steel barn lay hidden from the February cold, framed in a banner of painted bluebonnets and the words, “Texas Wildlife Expo.” Within, javelinas, porcupines, and longhorn cattle shuffled in front of curious children and their ...