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Biodiversity Blog

 
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CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Blue Jays

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Blue Jays

   Photo: Darren Swim Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) on campus are hard to miss. With their striking colors and shrill calls, in addition to their assertive behavior, they are one of the more attention-getting birds at UT. The genus name Cyanocitta derives from the Greek words 'kyaneos,' 'kitta,' and 'kissa'. ‘Kyaneos’ mean blue, a...

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...

How Birds like Tower Girl Keep Cool in the Hot Summers

falcon gutteral fluttering   Tower Girl cools down using "gular fluttering."   As Central Texas moves deeper into the summer months, we Austinites like to find relief from the oppressive heat by wearing shorts and t-shirts, consuming cool drinks, and ducking inside air-conditioned spaces. If you have been watching our resident Peregrine falcon, Tower Gir...
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...

Focus on Biology - 2018 Integrative Biology Image Contest

Frog leggedBeetle webThe Department of Integrative Biology held its third annual science image contest, open to all members of the department. The categories included: Science Subjects - images (photographs or illustrations) of natural history, field sites, behavior, miscroscopy People of Science - images of researchers at work Science Figures - figures, model outputs...

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...

Texas Biodiversity Day

TexasBiodiversityDay Apr2018 5  If you happened to be strolling down the East Mall on the warm afternoon of April 23rd, you might have noticed some tables holding cases of pinned insects, or perhaps some skulls and specimen jars. The event you passed was for Texas Biodiversity Day, and the Biodiversity Center participated to promote outreach and awareness, and to assist...

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...

Odd and Wonderful Nature

Bdallophytum americanum IMG 1574   Bdallophytum americanum. Every once in a while, we botanists discover things out in nature that, at first glance, appear to defy classification. The present photograph is a case in point. While botanizing in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, I stumbled upon weird little stout spikes up to four inches tall poking out of the ground. What wer...

Featured Species: Hypoponera inexorata

opacior7 X2This rare, mostly underground ant species was not known from UT’s Brackenridge Field Lab until this year, when Curator of Entomology Alex Wild found one by chance under a stone. He snapped this photograph, possibly the first photograph taken of H. inexorata in the field. Colonies are small and subterranean, often near other species of ants. The wor...

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...
Fishes of Texas project works with Smithsonian Museum

Fishes of Texas project works with Smithsonian Museum

The shovelnose sturgeon currently ranges throughout much of the Mississippi drainage, including the Red River in Texas. A disjunct population once existed in the Rio Grande River of Texas and New Mexico. This is known primarily from archeological material and historic accounts, but the specimen record is limited for this population. Nearly a centur...
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...
Focus on Biology - Science Imaging Contest 2018 - -

Focus on Biology - Science Imaging Contest 2018 - -

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 and displayed during a Department of Integrative...
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...