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From the College of Natural Sciences

Captured in a Flash: The Insect Photos of John Abbott

  Dr. John Abbott uses high speed flash photography to capture insects, bats and other animals in motion around Texas. The technique gives him (and you) the ability to see these creatures in a way that is impossible with the naked eye. Some of his subjects, like the phorid fly attacking the fire ants, are no larger than a pinhead. But with ...

Stormwater Capacity of Vegetated Roofs Studied

The Austin City Council approved $10,000 to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to study how much rainwater manufactured green roof products can capture.

Seductive Frogs and Sexual Selection

In this video, we take a brief look at one of the ways that Darwin's theory of sexual selection plays out. Male túngara frogs, as biologist Mike Ryan has shown in pathbreaking experiments, can make themselves more attractive to females by making more complex calls. They also, as the video demonstrates, make themselves more vulnerable to the predati...

On the Perilous Serenades of Túngara Frogs

Biologist Mike Ryan is being honored this month by the American Society of Naturalists with the E.O. Wilson Naturalist Award for his work in animal behavior.

Biologist Searches for the Genetic Building Blocks of Social Behavior Across Species

For Hans Hofmann, the quest for the genetic building blocks of human behavior begins with a small fish.

Catching Evolution in Action

Natural fluorescence of Acropora millepora, viewed under a dissecting microscope. Photo: M. Matz and J. Wiedenmann. Our oceans are getting warmer and more acidic every year, and as a result, coral reefs are rapidly dying. Biologist Mikhail Matz has been carefully monitoring this decline, awaiting evolutionary developments that may signal bette...Natural fluorescence of Acropora millepora, viewed under a dissecting microscope. Photo: M. Matz and J. Wiedenmann.

Ants Hibernating in a Coat of Fungus

In this week’s installment of Raw Science, we link to recent papers in the fields of biochemistry, epigenetics, integrative biology, and human ecology. Ants Hibernating in a Coat of Fungus Biologists describe describe the peculiar fungus-coating behavior of the attine ant Mycetosoritis clorindae, where hibernating workers become enveloped in a l...

Darwin Stands Tall in Texas!

David Hillis and two other Texans were named 2010 "Friends of Darwin" by the National Center for Science Education for their decades of defending and promoting evolution. Read the full article.vvvvvvv

Coastal Birds Decline on Mustang Island

Tony Amos’s almost daily bird counts over the years have revealed a troubling decline in 10 of the 28 most common species of Mustang Island’s coastal birds.

Essay: Where the wild things were

We’re entering an age of vanishing wilderness, when the wild places were. To have any hope of preserving our biodiversity in the face of climate change, we need to be futurists, pragmatic but farsighted. It is time for radical notions. One such notion is to transplant species that otherwise have no hope.

Office Hours: George Pollak's Big Idea

For more than 35 years, neurobiologist George Pollak has been using echolocating bats to study the mammalian auditory system, trying to understand how the auditory system processes communication signals and how animals are able to associate a sound with its location in space. He’s done groundbreaking work in, among other areas, decoding the meaning...
Scientists Identify Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park As One of Most Biodiverse Places on Earth

Scientists Identify Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park As One of Most Biodiverse Places on Earth

 A team of scientists has documented that Yasuní National Park, in the core of the Ecuadorian Amazon, shatters world records for a wide array of plant and animal groups.

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Aerial Acrobats

This slide show features some of the 223 species of dragonflies you might encounter in the Lone Star State. You can discover more species in John Abbott’s book, “Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States.” Abbott is curator of entomology at the Texas Natural Science Center. All photographs © John C. Abbott Nature Pho...

Pathogens, Parasitic Flies the Subjects of New Research for Fire Ant Control

Funding from Kleberg and Bass Foundations will help biologists look for more methods of fire ant control.

Globetrotting: Gathering Plankton in the Shadow of the Sydney Skyline

Erin Elbel, an honors biology major in the college, sends us a postcard from Sydney, Australia, where she's spending a semester abroad.