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Biodiversity Blog

 
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...
Explorer and Botanist: Mary Sophie Young

Explorer and Botanist: Mary Sophie Young

This article first appeared on January 2, 2017 in the Department of Integrative Biology History Project. In 1912, Mary Sophie Young became the first official curator of the relatively new herbarium at UT, when the university was only 29 years old. In the short amount of time Young worked at UT before succumbing to cancer in 1919, she increased the ...

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...
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...
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...
Exalton Delco: UT's First African American Ph.D. in Zoology

Exalton Delco: UT's First African American Ph.D. in Zoology

This article first appeared February 2, 2017 in the Integrative Biology History Project. This is a reposting. Photo: Delco at home during an interview with the author Exalton Alfonso Delco Jr. began his Ph.D. work in the Department of Zoology at UT in 1957. Although UT was deemed “desegregated,” the campus and surrounding businesses at the time sti...
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...
Featured Species - Pecos Pupfish (Cyprinodon pecosensis)

Featured Species - Pecos Pupfish (Cyprinodon pecosensis)

This species was once one of the most abundant fishes in the Pecos River, but is now restricted to Salt Creek in Texas and just a few locations in New Mexico due to hybridization with Sheepshead Minnow (C. variegatus) and groundwater pumping. As a result, it is classified as Threatened in Texas. It has a wide tolerance for physiochemical factors su...