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Biodiversity Blog

 
Two Georges and a Field Lab That Almost Wasn't

Two Georges and a Field Lab That Almost Wasn't

The Brackenridge Field Lab is one of the most coveted resources of the life sciences at UT. Only three miles from campus, BFL is an 82-acre biological research site that is part of a nearly 400-acre land tract. With a rich array of plant, insect, and animal diversity so close to campus, BFL is both an invaluable teaching and research tool. However,...

Fishes of Texas and Natural Resource Conservation

image3by Gary P. Garrett, Dean A. Hendrickson, Adam E. Cohen (Ichthyology Collection)    illustrations by Joseph Tomelleri The University of Texas Biodiversity Center Fish Collection holds over 73,000 jars with more than 1.7 million specimens of 1,785 species. Most (>75%) are from Texas freshwaters, representing 216 counties. However...

Fish Collection Expands with TPWD

shelvesA quick overview of 15 years of UT Fish Collection growth and collaborations with Texas Parks and Wildlife by Dean A. Hendrickson, Adam E. Cohen, Gary P. Garrett   As stated in the Biodiversity Center’s Collections webpage, the challenges for our collections are to: 1) “document biodiversity,” 2) “understand how biological processes...
Moth Threatens Prickly Pear Cactus

Moth Threatens Prickly Pear Cactus

   Moth damage to Prickly Pear (Photo: Larry Gilbert) Despite its iconic association with the Southwest, many people may not love Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia). However, various species of Opuntia are extremely important plants to most ecosystems in Texas and Mexico. They produce a huge quantity of fruits that are a critica...
Understanding Invasive Fire Ant Biology

Understanding Invasive Fire Ant Biology

    Click on image to play video.   Watch how UT researchers test fire ants to predict how pesty a population is likely to become. Learn more by watching this video.  
The Trees of BFL: Pecans (Carya illinoiensis)

The Trees of BFL: Pecans (Carya illinoiensis)

   One of the burried pecans.  Pecan trees (Carya illinoiensis) generally live along river bottom forest, or in places with irrigation systems. You may even have one or two growing in your yard. At Brackenridge Field Lab, the pecans here have a unique relationship with the history of the field lab. In this article “The Dam that ...
One Plant of Thousands

One Plant of Thousands

 The Darwin specimen. (Click on image for larger view) International Darwin Day is observed on February 12, the day Charles Darwin was born. Darwin Day asks people to “reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin.” In 1831, when he was...
Mis-Stocking Mayhem: The Hunt for Invasive Gobies in the Colorado River Basin

Mis-Stocking Mayhem: The Hunt for Invasive Gobies in the Colorado River Basin

By: Adam Zambie (undergraduate student; College of Natural Sciences; Environmental Science Major and Marine Science Certificate)   Naked Goby (Gobiosoma bosc), source: FoTX Project Website, credit: Joseph R. Tomelleri Texas has a long history of non-native fish introductions into its rivers, streams, and lakes. Many are improbable st...

The Dam that Broke: Some Prehistory that Helps Explains How BFL Came to Exist

PowerHouseAndDamVia a talk given by Dr. Larry Gilbert at BFL, September 2019 Brackenridge Field Laboratory is an 82 acre biological research site that is part of a nearly 400 acre land tract. It’s a site of rich biodiversity and an excellent area of research and outreach. Before it became the BFL, however, it was once something quite different with a very differen...

The Texas Eight: Love ‘Em, Hate ‘Em, or Drink ‘Em

Juniperus deppeana alligator juniperwebTexas has eight species of juniper native to the state. Some prevent slope erosion, some play havoc with allergies, and some go into a gin made by Integrative Biology professor, Dr. Molly Cummings. Dr. Cummings uses berries from two Texas junipers for two different gins made by WildGins Co., a gin company headquartered in Austin and run by Cummings...

Space Limitations in UT’s Fluid-preserved Fish Collection – An Opportunistic Test of a Space-efficient Shelving Strategy

Esox headBy: Adam Cohen, Dean Hendrickson and Melissa Casarez Specimens are, in many ways, like books written in languages we are still learning. New technologies like DNA analyses, high-resolution CT scanning, and modern chemistry are providing ways to “read” the complex information stored in specimens. They tell us more about their evolutionary relationsh...

Texas Alligator Lizard

Tx infernalis cropped     Photo: Dr. Eric Pianka   The Texas Alligator Lizard (Gerrhonotus infernalis) is the largest lizard with limbs in Texas, exceeded in length only by Slender Glass Lizards, which are legless. It is also one of the largest alligator lizards in the world. Adults are about 16”-18” in length and endemic to the central...

Trees of BFL: Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)

BaldCypressby Nicole Elmer and George Yatskievych (Botanist, Curator: Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center) Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is a deciduous conifer (cone bearing) in the family Cupressaceae. The genus consists of very distinctive trees. They can get very tall, growing up to 120 feet, with massive, lobed ...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Pigeons

19786421550 79acb30c66 b   Photo by Jaime Silva (via Flickr) Pigeons are so ubiquitous, searching our sidewalks and streets for anything edible, perched overhead on powerlines and building ledges, we don’t really give them much thought. In fact, pigeons get a pretty bad rap sometimes, are written off as nothing more than “rats with wings.” However, they are...

FEATURED SPECIES: Rio Grande Cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus)

image5By Melissa Casarez and Adam Cohen  (Ichthyology Collection)    Rio Grande Cichlid (Illustration by Joseph Tomelleri)   The Rio Grande Cichlid, sometimes called the Texas Cichlid, is the only member of the Cichlid family native to Texas, and the United States. Their native range includes most of the Rio Grande draina...

New wasp species named after UT Entomologist

alexwildiGlyptapanteles alexwildi is one of 136 new tropical wasp species that have been recently discovered. This species is named after Entomologist Alex Wild, curator of Entomology in the Biodiversity Center. Glyptapanteles is a genus of small, often inconspicuous parasitoid wasps containing hundreds of species found worldwide. The genus is&nbs...

Invasives make a splash at the Creek Show

creekby Joe Matza, Texas Applied Arts Creek Monster Habitat student Well, Halloween is officially over, and with that comes the official start of the holiday season. While the holidays ramp up, and the weather cools down, there are some yearly occurrences happening throughout Austin that are not to be missed. One such event is the Waterloo Greenways Cre...

The Trees of BFL: Chinaberry (Melia azedarach)

Screen Shot 2019 09 04 at 08.59.00  The Chinaberry tree actually has many common names, some being bead-tree, Persian lilac, and Pride of India. This is a fast-growing deciduous tree that is part of the mahogany family and native to Southeastern China. It reaches 30 to 50 feet in height. The flowers are fragrant, small, and pink to light purple in color. The fruit is about ...

River Monsters, a Texas Edition

HoldingAsnapBy Adam Cohen, Collection Manager and Melissa Casarez, Assistant Collection Manager (Ichthyology Collection) We, in the fish collection, often find ourselves wading in deep, murky waters when out collecting around the state in creeks and rivers with steep banks and little chance for a quick escape, if necessary. During these times, we find it ...

Creatures of Halloween: Widemouth Blindcat (Satan eurystomus)

WidemouthBlindcatBy Dean Hendrickson (Curator, Ichthyology Collection) and Nicole Elmer    Satan eurystomus (Photo: Garold Sneegas) In our last Halloween posting, the scorpionfly donned orange, black, and yellow. The species in this blog’s focus is pale and pink. This is Satan eurystomus, also known as the Widemouth Blindcat, a cave catfish, known...