Button to scroll to the top of the page.

Updates

Campus health and safety are our top priorities. Get the latest from UT on COVID-19.

Get help with Zoom and more.

Biodiversity Blog

 

Insects Unlocked Video Wins an Emmy

ThreeAlexesA promotional video the College of Natural Science completed about the Insects Unlocked project recently won a Lone Star emmy. The Lone Star EMMY Chapter is chartered by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and recognizes excellence in the television broadcasting industry. Insects Unlocked is a public domain project from the Biod...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Oak Gall Wasps

Oak Gall  You might have seen them. Pink or dry grey spheres hanging on a branch of a live oak tree. Curious, you might have picked at the thing, thought it was just some strange tree growth, then tossed it aside. But this little sphere is the larval stage home to an insect that has an amazing and complex life cycle: the Oak Gall Wasp, or Disholcas...

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...

Fall for Falcons

TowerGirlPeregrine Falcons are one of the most widely-distributed species in the world, found on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. With autumn in swing, some Peregrine Falcons are migrating to their wintering areas. There are three subspecies of Peregrine Falcons within North America. Found in the Arctic tundra is Falco peregrinus tundrius. ...

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 ...

New Grant Funding for the UT Herbaria

Sarracenia alata web  Herbarium specimen of Sarracenia alata, a species of pitcher plant also known as yellow trumpets.  This unusual species grows in nutrient poor, acidic wetlands from eastern Texas through the Gulf Coastal Plain to westernmost Florida. Natural history museums and other biodiversity collections hold millions of historically and scie...

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 ...
Tower Girl Gets Her Portrait Done

Tower Girl Gets Her Portrait Done

   "Tower Girl: Peregrine Falcon, 2018" watercolor on paper, 42" x 38" UT’s resident Peregrine Falcon, Tower Girl, has many fans and admirers. Amongst them are painter and writer, Carol Dawson, who has painted a large watercolor piece featuring the falcon. This piece is now on display at the Wally Workman Gallery as part of Dawson’s ...
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...
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...

Down and Dirty at Stengl Lost Pines: post-doc Tim Gallagher gets into soil to find answers about carbonate formation

Tim pits 2   Tim Gallagher stands amongst his completed pits at Stengl. In a clearing on the north side of Stengl Lost Pines Biological Field Station lie twelve wood frames. At first glance, these seem to be small garden plots where plugs of the Texas State Grass, sideoats gramma, are prospering. But beneath these frames are pits that form an ...

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...
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...

The History of UT's Herbaria

SpecimenThis article first appeared in the History Project for the Department of Integrative Biology on March 13, 2017    Lundell Herbarium 1964 specimen of Hibiscus lasiocarpus Cav. Few landmarks on the UT campus are as iconic as the Tower, visible to thousands daily as part of the Austin skyscape. Yet, not many people realize that eight...

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...