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Speed, Endurance and Performance Factor into Fish Olympics

Speed, Endurance and Performance Factor into Fish Olympics

Researchers conduct "races" to test the swimming speed of red drum. Photo credit: Andrew Esbaugh.

The Winter Olympics — a fantastic competition that tests the limits of human performance in a variety of sports — bears a close resemblance to some events underway on the Texas Gulf Coast where, at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, researchers are testing the limits of fish. They may not win a gold medal, but the scores in these games can reveal which fish are most likely to succeed in the game of life.

World-renowned UT Animal Behaviorist Publishes New Book

World-renowned UT Animal Behaviorist Publishes New Book

Mike Ryan knows a lot about how circumstances can lead to a change of perspective. Take, for example, the tiny túngara frog, which lives in the jungles of Panama. He may not seem like much, with his mottled brown skin covered in bumps and whiney song. But put this little amphibian at the center of decades of research, and it turns out he can open up a world of discovery, both for Ryan and for dozens of scientists he's helped to train over the years, with new insights into how animals become beautiful – at least to each other. These lessons may also help humans better understand how our own ideas of beauty correspond with those in the animal kingdom.

Gut Microbiome Influenced Heavily by Social Circles in Lemurs, UT Study Says

Gut Microbiome Influenced Heavily by Social Circles in Lemurs, UT Study Says

Social group membership is the most important factor influencing the composition of a lemur's gut microbiome, according to research at The University of Texas at Austin.

Victimization of Transgender Youths Linked to Suicidal Thoughts, Substance Abuse

Victimization of Transgender Youths Linked to Suicidal Thoughts, Substance Abuse

In two peer-reviewed papers, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that transgender adolescents are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts as the general population, and they are up to four times as likely to engage in substance use. Depression and school-based victimization factored heavily into the disparities in both cases.

Creative Research Collaborations to Start with “Pop-Up Institutes”

Creative Research Collaborations to Start with “Pop-Up Institutes”

Faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences are leading new Pop-Up Institutes as part of a new interdisciplinary research initiative at The University of Texas at Austin. Three Pop-Up Institutes were announced this week, with two originating in Natural Sciences. These research efforts will assemble fresh collaborations to address the influence of individual variation on the health and fitness of populations and the impact of discrimination on health outcomes.

A New Norm: Marriages Can Thrive with a Full Nest

A New Norm: Marriages Can Thrive with a Full Nest

There's a silver lining to the Great Recession: new research published in the Journal of Gerontology Psychological Sciences shows that the addition of an adult child to your home may no longer spell trouble for your marriage. The study compared marriage quality from 2013 to that from 2008, before the financial collapse.

Mr. Sandman: Alum Dan Goldman Snakes Across Dunes of Research

Mr. Sandman: Alum Dan Goldman Snakes Across Dunes of Research

Dan Goldman (Ph.D. Physics '02), a physicist at Georgia Tech, is exploring how animals move on tricky surfaces like sand, bark, leaves and grass. The New York Times produced two videos on his research, which revealed how sidewinder snakes climb up sand dunes and how the sandfish lizard "swims" through sand. Tomorrow, he's delivering a talk to undergraduates at UT Austin titled "Robophysics: Physics Meets Robotics." We recently chatted about his work.

Fish Spawning and Illusions of Plenty

Fish Spawning and Illusions of Plenty

Overfishing causes serious damage in marine ecosystems, but few people understand the natural phenomenon that precedes humans removing too many fish from the oceans. Brad Erisman, an assistant professor in the Marine Science Department, is helping to put a spotlight on the science.

Froggy Went a Courtin'

Froggy Went a Courtin'

Two male túngara frogs make mating calls to attract females. Image by Amanda Lea.

Marketers and used car salesmen have long exploited a vulnerability in the way we make decisions, called the decoy effect, to get us to buy a certain product, even if our gut instinct is to buy another. Now a graduate student and her advisor in the Department of Integrative Biology have discovered that female frogs are prone to this same kind of irrational behavior when it comes to choosing a mate.

Medication May Help Stop Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Medication May Help Stop Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have successfully stopped cocaine and alcohol addiction in experiments using a drug already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat high blood pressure. If the treatment is proven effective in humans, it would be the first of its kind — one that could help prevent relapses by erasing the unconscious memories that underlie addiction.