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Brackenridge Field Laboratory Website

bfl-butterflybfl-Fish-TanksBrackenridge Field Laboratory is an 82-acre biological research site that is part of an almost 400-acre tract of land originally donated to the university in 1910 by George W. Brackenridge, a former University of Texas regent.

The Brackenridge Field Laboratory property is comprised of areas of rich natural vegetation which include a native bluestem prairie, old pasture land, former quarry, Firefly Meadow, Pecan Bottoms, Colorado River and juniper woodlands. This diversity has produced records of thousands of species including at least 163 species of birds, 20 mammals, 373 species of plants, 68 species of ants, and 1200 species of moths and butterflies, and 200 species of native bees. In the 1980's a mountain lion was even spotted at BFL. Additionally, several species new to science have been discovered here and were named from specimens first collected on the site.

bfl-map1The Brackenridge Field Lab is home to the University of Texas entomology collection, which holds over 500,000 insects from all over the globe as well as one of the most complete collections of dragonflies and damselflies to be found. Evidence exists that biologists have used the area for teaching and research since the 1920's. Officially established in 1967, this unique urban field lab is now considered the primary reason that the university’s ecology, evolution and behavior graduate program is ranked eighth in the nation. BFL is one of the few research stations to be located within an urban area and so close to the main university campus. Because of this unusual proximity, professors at the University of Texas are able to conduct classes at BFL within the scope of a regular academic day. The field lab plays a strong role in UT undergraduate teaching in the life sciences and is a valuable magnet for attracting top faculty and graduate students to UT Austin. Research is facilitated through the use of six greenhouses and an 18,000 square foot state of the art lab space.

Natural areas like BFL are akin to a library of species and the information that they contain. Over 40 years of historical baseline data taken on the biota of BFL represent important benchmarks with which to measure the impacts of environmental change. For example, it was data from research projects on ants at BFL in the 1970s and early 1980s that provided the only before and after documentation of the ecological impact of invading fire ants. Many of the major names in phorid research across the county were trained at BFL and this lab is one of only two in the country where basic research is being done on new phorid species that may someday be useful in the fight against the Red Imported Fire Ant.

By the Numbers

  • 8th best Ecology, Evolution and Behavior graduate program in the nation
  • 40 years of long-term data collection in an urban ecosystem
  • 82 acres of prairies, pecan bottoms, juniper woods and lakeshore
  • 3 miles from campus
  • 500 or more students take courses at BFL every year
  • 1200 species of butterflies and moths
  • 180 species of birds370 species of plants
  • 200 species of native bees
  • 18,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art lab space
  • 500,000 specimens in the entomology collections
  • 6 greenhouses
  • 15-20 faculty conducting research and teaching
  • $4 million generated in grants and endowments annually

Director: Larry Gilbert
lgilbert@austin.utexas.edu
512-471-4705

Cameron Devitt, Susan E
Susan E Cameron
Assistant Professor of Practice
Research Educator for Biodiversity Stream, Freshman Research Initiative
512-471-5504
PAT 121C
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CUMMINGS, MOLLY E
Molly E Cummings
Professor
Evolution of Conspicuous Signals. Mechanisms of Crypsis. Neural Mechanisms of Mate Choice.
512-232-6243
PAT 502
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GILBERT, LAWRENCE E
512-471-2825
PAT 440
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Hawkes, Christine V
Christine V Hawkes
Adjunct Professor
Plant-microbe interactions, community ecology, ecosystem ecology
HILLIS, DAVID M
David M Hillis
Professor
Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professorship in Natural Sciences

Molecular evolution, phylogenetics, and systematics
512-471-5661
PAT 132
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Holley, Jo-anne
Jo Anne C Holley
Assistant Professor of Practice
JANSEN, ROBERT
Robert K Jansen
Professor, Director (Academic)
Sidney F. and Doris Blake Centennial Professorship in Systematic Botany and the Blake Collection

Plant molecular evolution, comparative genomics, plant systematics
512-471-8827
BIO 212
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JHA, SHALENE
Shalene Jha
Associate Professor
Jean Andrews Centennial Faculty Fellowship in Tropical and Economic Botany | The William H. and Gladys G. Reeder Fellowship in Ecology

JONES, NATHAN T
Nathan T Jones
Research Associate
512-471-2825
PAT
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JUENGER, THOMAS E
Thomas E Juenger
Professor
C. L. Lundell Chair of Systematic Botany

512-232-5751
PAT
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KEITT, TIMOTHY H
Timothy H Keitt
Professor
Theoretical and computational ecology, landscapes and conservation
512-471-5004
BIO 223B
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LaDuc, Travis J
Travis J Laduc
Curator, Herpetology, Assistant Professor of Instruction
512-475-6339
PAT
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LeBrun, Ed
Edward G Lebrun
Research Scientist
LINDER, CRAIG R
Craig R Linder
Associate Professor
512-471-7825
BIO 110A
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MAUSETH, JAMES D
James D Mauseth
Professor Emeritus
Moran, Nancy
Nancy A Moran
Professor
Warren J. and Viola Mae Raymer Chair

Insect and bacterial genomics and evolution, Symbiosis
512-232-5701
NMS 4.232A
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MUELLER, ULRICH G
Ulrich G Mueller
Professor
William Morton Wheeler-Lost Pines Professorship

Ochman, Howard
Howard Ochman
Professor
Joseph J. & Jeanne M. Lagowski Regents Professorship in Molecular Bioscience

512-232-5666
NMS 4.110
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PHELPS, STEVEN M
Steven M Phelps
Associate Professor
512-475-6304
PAT 22
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Plowes, Rob
Robert Plowes
Research Scientist
Host-parasite-microbe interactions, invasive species
512-471-2825
PAT
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Razzaque, Samsad
Samsad Razzaque
Graduate Research Assistant
RYAN, MICHAEL J
Michael J Ryan
Professor
Clark Hubbs Regents Professorship in Zoology

512-554-2433
PAT 107
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