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Biodiversity Blog

 
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Featured Species: Nolina nelsonii

Nolina nelsonii habit web   Nolina nelsonii growing at the corner of Inner Campus Dr. and Whitis Ave., the University of Texas at Austin by Dr. José Panero, Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center The gardens surrounding the BIO Building and the Teaching Greenhouse have several interesting plants donated in y...

Featured Species: Fishes of Waller Creek and the Invasive Variable Platyfish (Xiphophorus variatus)

IMG 7504by Adam Cohen (Ichthyology Collection Manager) and Dean Hendrickson (Curator of Ichthyology)   For the last 25 years, the Hendrickson Lab has been monitoring the fishes of Waller Creek, on the UT campus as well as the surrounding vicinity. Their specimen collections have usually included UT students, the public, or local schools, illustr...

Field Herpetology Class Meets the Spot-tailed Earless Lizard

DSC 9732 edit webby Dr. Travis LaDuc, Curator of Herpetology, Department of Integrative Biology    (Photo: Ian Wright) The Spot-tailed Earless Lizard (Holbrookia lacerata) is a small (70 mm snout-vent length), enigmatic lizard historically found across much of the Edwards Plateau, parts of the Permian Basin in west Texas, and parts of the south Te...

Biodiversity Center Sponsors Freshman Research Initiative Course

IMG 3677   Biodiversity Discovery FRI Students Christiana Peek, Evan Samsky, Hannah Gilbreath, Thomas Johnston and Ari Nehrbass prepare to sample vegetation at BFL (Photo: Alejandro Santillana) By Nicole Elmer and Dr. Susan Devitt The Freshman Research Initiative is a pioneering program allowing first-year students chances for hands-on resea...
Fire Ants and their Phorid Fly Foes: Brackenridge Field Lab and Biodiversity Collections Engage Visitors at UT Explore 2018

Fire Ants and their Phorid Fly Foes: Brackenridge Field Lab and Biodiversity Collections Engage Visitors at UT Explore 2018

UT Explore was held on Saturday March 3rd, drawing a large crowd of families, students, and teachers. The annual event seeks to encourage community interest in research and higher education, and the important impact UT has on Austin and the world at large.

Featured Species: Redfin Pickerel (Esox americanus)

Featured Species: Redfin Pickerel (Esox americanus)

by Dr. F. Douglas Martin The Grass or Redfin Pickerel, often referred to by fishermen as “jacks” or “jackfish,” has a wide distribution occurring from southern Quebec to Florida and from the East Coast to the Brazos River drainage in Texas and the Missouri River in Nebraska.  While smaller than its cousins, the Northern Pike and Muskellun...

Social Media Leads Researchers to New Eel Discoveries in Texas

DSCN0161   American eels This was written by Nicole Elmer, Melissa Casarez, and Dean Hendrickson Citizen-science and social networking outreach efforts often yield benefits for researchers. This is no more evident than here in the University of Texas’ Hendrickson Lab (home of the Fishes of Texas project) with a recent surprising discovery of...
The Value of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center (PRC) for Teaching Plant Systematics

The Value of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center (PRC) for Teaching Plant Systematics

Every fall semester the PRC Director, Dr. Robert K. Jansen, teaches an undergraduate course in Plant Systematics.  The course includes lectures, labs, field trips and student access to the dried plant specimens in the PRC.  The main focus of the labs/field trips is to introduce students to angiosperm families with an emphasis on those tha...
Towards a periodic table of niches or exploring the lizard niche hypervolume

Towards a periodic table of niches or exploring the lizard niche hypervolume

Authors: Eric R. Pianka, Laurie J. Vitt, Nicolás Pelegrin, Daniel B. Fitzgerald, and Kirk O. Winemiller Ecologists begin to construct a Periodic Table of Niches    Redsands study area in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia – 55 species of lizards, including the thorny devil Moloch horridus, occur in sympatry here.(Cre...
Students of Texas Lutheran University visit the Plant Resources Center

Students of Texas Lutheran University visit the Plant Resources Center

  We at the Plant Resources Center had the pleasure of receiving Dr. Alan Lievens' class from Texas Lutheran University to talk to them about The Plant Resources Center and the importance of Natural History collections. Students were very enthusiastic and learned about historical and ecological importance of specimens, and the history of the P...
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BFL is proud to host Science Under the Stars

BFL is proud to host Science Under the Stars

Starlight twinkles through the trees and crickets serenade in the distance as families, students and others with a thirst for knowledge gather outside at The University of Texas at Austin's Brackenridge Field Laboratory (BFL) for another evening of Science Under the Stars. The free, monthly public lecture series was founded and is run completely by...
Wildflowers of Texas: The pink evening primrose - Oenothera speciosa

Wildflowers of Texas: The pink evening primrose - Oenothera speciosa

The pink evening primrose is a native Texas favorite that is sown by the highway department in most parts of the state; either scattered or in great masses, it is an integral part of the spring roadside floral displays. A fairly small, generally sprawling plant, it is also quite happy in diverse other open habitats, including lawns. The flowers, wh...
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The Daily Species: Bumble Bee Fly (Laphria macquarti)

The Daily Species: Bumble Bee Fly (Laphria macquarti)

On the left is a bumble bee. On the right is... not a bumble bee. Laphria macquarti is one of the larger and more spectacular mimics of common bumble bees in the southeastern United States. These agile predatory insects are in the robber fly family Asilidae, and like most robber flies, they catch prey in mid-air. Their beelike appearance likely det...
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The Rough-stem Rosinweed - Silphium integrifolium var. asperrimum

The Rough-stem Rosinweed - Silphium integrifolium var. asperrimum

This rather tall sunflower is found primarily along streams on the Edwards Plateau and in north-central Texas. Although the leaves are sandpapery to the touch, they are relished by deer and other browsing wildlife. Flowering months: July and August. Photo: Dexter image collection, Plant Resources Center.Wildflowers of Texas project: http://www...
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Wildflowers of Texas: The angel trumpet, Datura Wrightii

Wildflowers of Texas: The angel trumpet, Datura Wrightii

A large white flower with a long tube is usually the telltale sign of a flower that blooms at night, since it is often adapted to pollination by long-tongued hawkmoths that only fly in the near-dark. Such is the case of the impressive (to about eight inches long) and beautiful flower of this species of jimsonweed. The fruit it produces is like a sp...
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Wildflowers of Texas: The prairie nymph, Herbertia lahue

Wildflowers of Texas: The prairie nymph, Herbertia lahue

This gorgeous flower makes a brief springtime appearance in Texas coastal prairies. It varies on color from blue to lavender. Flowering months: March, April, May. Photo: Dexter image collection, Plant Resources Center.Wildflowers of Texas project: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/exhibits/wildflowers/index.html
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A new microsporidian is the first described pathogen of tawny crazy ants

A new microsporidian is the first described pathogen of tawny crazy ants

A new study describing the first pathogen to be found in tawny crazy ants has been published by the Invasive Species Research group at BFL and is co-authored by USDA scientists. This is an important discovery given the national prominence and attention of these invasive ants. The pathogen is a new genus of microsporidian parasites that infects the ...
National Report Highlights Brackenridge Field Lab

National Report Highlights Brackenridge Field Lab

Brackenridge Field Lab’s national reputation—as a premiere site for research on invasive species, evolution and behavior, biodiversity, climate change and drought, as well as for education and outreach—was underscored with the lab’s inclusion in a report by the National Academy of Sciences on the critical role of field stations.   Th...
Regents approve plan to expand Stengl Lost Pines Biological Station

Regents approve plan to expand Stengl Lost Pines Biological Station

The UT Board of Regents approved a plan to expand the 208-acre Stengl Lost Pines Biological Station. Read more at My Statesman >>