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Biodiversity Blog

 
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What's In a Name? Tummy Toads, Gastrophryne olivacea

Gastrophryne olivacea02   Photo: Stanley Trauth 2007 (wikipedia) A few years ago, I built several ponds near my house at the Double Helix Ranch, hoping that frogs would colonize them and I could enjoy the sound of frog calls outside my window. Several different species have come and bred there including Strecker's Chorus frogs (Pseudacris streckeri), Grey ...

Flight of the Cockroach

Attaphila   The Atta roach in a fungus garden. (Photo: Alex Wild) A moonless springtime night at Brackenridge Field Lab. The sun will rise shortly. The Texas leaf-cutter ants (Atta texana) have started their nuptial flights as the winged virgin females and much smaller males fly about. Some of the queens are not alone in their journeys howeve...

Center Hosts Nature Photography Workshop

IMG 4124 2On May 18th and 19th, the Biodiversity Center hosted the Nature Photograhy Workshop at Stengl Lost Pines Biological Station. The workshop focused on everything from photography basics, to composition, lighting, and processing. About 40 miles outside of Austin, the location of Stengl was an ideal for photographers of nature as the field station comp...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Awesome Opossums

1100px Opossum 3   Virginia Opossum (Photo by Cody Pope) At night, the UT campus slows but never quite stops. Those out and about in the dark hours might witness some of the nocturnal creatures on campus, one being the only marsupial native to North America: the opossum. The opossum is of the order Didelphimorphia and is endemic to the Americas, the...

Biodiversity Day 2019

IMG 1838 George Yatskievych, Curator of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resource Center, speaks with a student Despite the smattering of rain and wind, campus and off-campus organizations partook in the annual Biodiversity Day near Gregory Gym on Wednesday, April 17th. This event was to spread awareness about sustainability, biodiversity, wellness, cli...

ULM fish specimens come to Biodiversity Collections

TulaneBy Adam Cohen, Melissa Casarez and Dean Hendrickson (Ichthyology Collection) Some of ULM's Texas holdings that are now at UT's Biodiversity Collections. Photo taken at Tulane prior to packing In spring of 2017, administrators at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM, historically NLU – Northeastern Louisiana University) made the dec...

Explore UT 2019

IMG 7412     Photos: Alex Wild   Explore UT is an annual event that encourages students to become excited about higher education and the research opportunities at The University of Texas. And what better way to elicit curiosity than with rows of animal skulls and live snakes, spiders, and cockroaches? The UT Entomology Colle...

To Egg or Not to Egg: That is the Evolutionary Question

oviparity P.p.2   A young lizard crawls over the eggs of its brethren. (Photo: Yin Qi) The old riddle “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is not much of a riddle to biologists. The shelled amniote egg, which is familiar to many of us as chicken eggs, evolved about 325 million years ago. The wild ancestors of chickens, in contrast, only appe...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Cedar Waxwings, the Beautiful Visitors.

cedarbird   photo by Jacob McGinnis Our campus is home to lots of different birds that are impossible to miss: an inky black grackle flying dangerously close overhead, a chubby pigeon picking at a crust of pizza. But with winter upon UT, we also have another visitor: the Cedar Waxwings. These are strikingly beautiful birds that are less obvi...

Playing With Fire: Ant-Agonists

ants  CLICK ON IMAGE TO PLAY VIDEO. Biodiversity Collections, specifically the Entomology Collection team, are collaborating with researchers from UT's Brackenridge Field Laboratory, University of Georgia, and more to produce a series of SciComm videos that aim to expose people to the decades of research that have gone into what we know abo...

Announcing the annual Focus on Biology science imaging contest

Focust 2019 banner    The Biodiversity Center and the Department of Integrative Biology is pleased to announce the annual Focus on Biology science imaging contest! Focus on Biology celebrates visual explorations of our research in the form of photographs, micrographs, figures, and illustrations. Contest winners and honorable mentions will be printed ...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Western Mosquitofish

Illustration-female     Gambusia affinis, female. (Illustrations by Joseph Tomelleri)  Male.   If you visit the turtle pond on campus, you might notice the turtles have quite a few tiny fish neighbors. Some of these are silvery-grey fish called by their common name of “Western Mosquitofish” or just “mosquitofish.” This is the species Ga...

New Tree Frog Named After Biodiversity Center Professor

hillisi torrent frog pose 1024   Photo by Gustavo Pazmiño with BIOWEB Ecuador   Meet Hyloscirtus hillisi, a newly discovered species of Andean tree frog, named after our own Director of the Biodiversity Center: Dr. David Hillis. This frog was discovered by a team of researchers from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, led by biologist and UT doctora...

Fall Colors at the Brackenridge Field Lab

BFL Flame Sumac Rhus lanceolata webFall is here in Central Texas, announcing its arrival through color. This time of seasonal change is a particularly vibrant time at Brackenridge Field Lab. Splashes of vivid yellow and red appear when Flame Sumac, Spanish Oak and Cedar Elm trees prepare to shed their leaves. But why do trees do this?  These new hues arise as trees begin breaki...

Fish Collection Finishes Survey of the Little River

mapby Adam Cohen, Melissa Casarez, and Ryan Rash Figure adapted from Dennis Rose's thesis showing the major streams in the Little River Basin. Staff from the Biodiversity Center’s fish collection (home of the Fishes of Texas Project) recently teamed up with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s River Studies Program (TPWD) &n...

Playing With Fire

Ants Click on image to play video. Biodiversity Collections, specifically the Entomology Collection team, are collaborating with researchers from UT's Brackenridge Field Laboratory, University of Georgia, and more to produce a series of SciComm videos that aim to expose people to the decades of research that have gone into what we know about o...

The Robb Butterfly Collection

R11 web  Stacks of thin wood display cases fill an overflow room in the Biodiversity Center’s Entomology Collection. The cases contain 10,000 specimens of butterflies gathered from all over the world, starting in the 1970s. They are the Robb butterfly collection UT acquired in the winter of 2017, now being reorganized and queued for incorporation ...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Fox Squirrels

Squirrel vs mesquite web   Fox squirrel vs. mesquite: this one is girdling a mesquite for lunch. (Photo: Dr. Larry Gilbert) The fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) has made quite a comfortable existence for itself on the UT Austin campus. In trees, bushes, trashcans, or coming to beg for a bite of your lunch, it’s hard to miss these furry little mammals. Commonly ...
CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Mesquite

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Mesquite

   An old mesquite on east side of MAI, near WCH If you were a student at UT when the university was founded in 1883, you might have ridden a horse-drawn carriage by quite a few mesquite to get to class. Gradually with campus expansion, mesquite became fewer in number. Now only a few remain on campus. One of the oldest Prosopis indiv...

American Eels in the Fish Collection

Adam eel copy (CLICK ON PHOTO FOR VIDEO) Pulling eels out of a bucket of ice water demonstrates how difficult eels are to hold and not to mention their ability to produce copious slime. The Biodiversity Center’s Ichthyology Collection is working with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to document and study American Eels in Texas with the primary aim be...