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Biodiversity Blog

 
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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)

FEATURED SPECIES: Hogchoker (Trinectes maculatus)

by 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

Going Organic: Making UT the Greenest Landscape in Austin

by 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

Waller Creek Finds a Place in the Sun

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 campus and nearly invisible, as noted in the pr...

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

A Springtime Visit to the Candelaria Ranch

by 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

A Mile-Long Classroom

   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...

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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