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Biodiversity Blog

 
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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 ...

FEATURED SPECIES: Hogchoker (Trinectes maculatus)

hogchokerby Dr. F. Douglas Martin The Hogchoker is a small flatfish found in bays and estuaries but often spends extended time in rivers feeding on worms and insect larvae in soft mud bottoms.  They get their common name because East Coast fishermen would feed these so-called "trash" fish to their hogs, after which the fish would bow its body into a su...

Going Organic: Making UT the Greenest Landscape in Austin

Tower with organic landscapeby Kristin Phillips, Sustainability Communications and Events Coordinator Assistant Manager   The University of Texas at Austin’s main campus grounds are now nearly 100% organic. This makes the 431 acres the largest organic landscaping in the Texas capitol, providing visible ecosystem benefits and saving money. “Well-built soil also hold...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: the Horse Apple Tree, or Maculra pomifera

HorseApple tree ver02  Maculra pomifera (Photo: Larry Gilbert) by Dr. Larry Gilbert, (Professor, Department of Integrative Biology) One of the few trees of the original forest on UT’s main campus is a huge Maclura pomifera, also known as “Osage orange” or “horse apple.” A male tree of this species grows in front of Welch Hall. Other members of the family ...

Waller Creek Finds a Place in the Sun

Screen Shot 2018 06 13 at 11.11.38 AM   photo by Kristin Phillips article by Kristin Phillips, Sustainability Communications and Events Coordinator, Assistant Manager Waller Creek — the corridor that enlivens The University of Texas at Austin just east of the original Forty Acres — is gaining center stage. Until recently, the creek had been simultaneously central to cam...

Featured Species: Chihuahua Catfish (Ictalurus sp. Chihuahua Catfish)

ChihuahuaCatby Dr. Dean Hendrickson (Curator of Ichthyology)   The very rare and still scientifically undescribed Chihuahua Catfish, "Ictalurus sp." is known only from streams of the Río Grande basin. It looks superficially a lot like the common Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), and hybridizes with that species. Non-hybrids, however, are identi...

A Springtime Visit to the Candelaria Ranch

Setting up a seine on a channel of Capote Creek RGby Dr. George Yatskievych (Botanist and Curator, Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center) and Dr. Dean Hendrickson (Curator of Ichthyology) The road to Candelaria, Texas is long and dusty, but well worth the drive. Candelaria is located on the Rio Grande in Presidio County. Rancho Pensado, headquartered in this tiny community, is noted for its swe...

A Mile-Long Classroom

P5030150   Marie Lorenz captured the work of freshman design Paige Giordano by Kristin Phillips, Communications & Events Coordinator in the Office of Sustainability A physics professor looks for elusive wood ducks on daily walks to the gym; an engineering class collects vials of water to determine alkalinity; a theater group—barefoot and...