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From the College of Natural Sciences
Bay Education Center is Fully Repaired and Reopened after Hurricane Harvey Damage

Bay Education Center is Fully Repaired and Reopened after Hurricane Harvey Damage

Opening May 8 is the Bay Education Center in Rockport,Texas. Credit: Eddie Seal

This May 8, 2021 the Bay Education Center, which is operated by the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, a program of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, will reopen and showcase its new exhibits. Like many museums and nature centers on the Texas coast, the Bay Education Center was struck a double blow with Hurricane Harvey and then the pandemic. 

Climate-friendly Microbes Chomp Dead Plants Without Releasing Heat-trapping Methane

Climate-friendly Microbes Chomp Dead Plants Without Releasing Heat-trapping Methane

Tengchong Yunnan hot springs in China, where some of the newly described Brockarchaeota were collected. Photo credit: Jian-Yu Jiao from Sun Yat-Sen University.

The tree of life just got a little bigger: A team of scientists from the U.S. and China has identified an entirely new group of microbes quietly living in hot springs, geothermal systems and hydrothermal sediments around the world. The microbes appear to be playing an important role in the global carbon cycle by helping break down decaying plants without producing the greenhouse gas methane.

Record Number of Turtles Rescued at University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Record Number of Turtles Rescued at University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Winter Storm Uri caused damage and hardship across the state of Texas, and at the Port Aransas campus of the University of Texas at Austin, the work to recover from it included rehabilitating a record number of sea turtles threatened by the cold weather.

Jessica O’Connell Connects Ecology Research with Local Conservation Efforts

Jessica O’Connell Connects Ecology Research with Local Conservation Efforts

Photo courtesy of Jessica O'Connell.

Jessica O'Connell, an ecologist, remote-sensing specialist and data scientist, recently joined the Department of Marine Science as an assistant professor. O'Connell worked in wetlands across North America before making her way to the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, where she works to uncover what causes change in wetland systems while being responsive to local conservation and management issues. Part of that work looks at how climate change and sea level rise may impact coastal marshes.

Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Jess Hay Fellowship

Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Jess Hay Fellowship

Derek Bolser, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute was recently awarded a prestigious Jess Hay Chancellor’s Graduate Student Research Fellowship award from The University of Texas System for 2020-2021.

A prestigious Jess Hay Chancellor's Graduate Student Research Fellowship award from The University of Texas System will be given this year to Derek Bolser, a fifth-year doctoral student studying marine science at The University of Texas at Austin.

7 Emerging Scientific Leaders Among Recipients of Stengl-Wyer Research Support

7 Emerging Scientific Leaders Among Recipients of Stengl-Wyer Research Support

The College of Natural Sciences has recently recruited and supported top leaders among a new generation of scientists through the Stengl-Wyer Endowment – the largest endowment in the college's history. These postdoctoral scholars and graduate students are working on research projects that will promote a deeper understanding of climate change, protect natural habitats and maintain biodiversity in Texas and beyond.

New Initiative Aims to Reveal the Origins of Complex Life

New Initiative Aims to Reveal the Origins of Complex Life

A new research initiative will shed light on how the origin of complex life evolved through symbiosis. The project will be the latest from the Brett Baker laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute, which made recent discoveries of new organisms called Asgard archaea, named after Norse gods, and their metabolisms.

Marine Scientist Brett Baker Receives Simons Award

Marine Scientist Brett Baker Receives Simons Award

Brett Baker received a 2020 Simons Early Career Investigator Award.

​When you can change the tree of life with a click of a button, people notice. Brett Baker, microbiologist and assistant professor at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, has attracted the attention of the Simons Foundation. The foundation selected Baker as a 2020 Simons Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. The award recognizes Baker's work in microbial diversity, ecology and evolution.

14 Natural Sciences Students Receive Prestigious NSF Fellowships

14 Natural Sciences Students Receive Prestigious NSF Fellowships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that 43 University of Texas at Austin students, including 14 in the College of Natural Sciences, will receive prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships.

Hidden Source of Carbon Found at the Arctic Coast

Hidden Source of Carbon Found at the Arctic Coast

Dr. Craig Connolly takes a groundwater sample to measure the concentration and age of organic carbon and nitrogen in groundwater flowing beneath the beach. Credit: Jim McClelland.

A previously unknown significant source of carbon just discovered in the Arctic has scientists marveling at a once overlooked contributor to local coastal ecosystems – and concerned about what it may mean in an era of climate change.

The Nurdle Patrol Wages War on Plastic Pellets, With Boost from Lawsuit Settlement

The Nurdle Patrol Wages War on Plastic Pellets, With Boost from Lawsuit Settlement

Plastic pollution has contaminated every continent on Earth. It kills wildlife from whales to sea turtles. Some of the smallest plastic particles, called nurdles, are among the most insidious. It's difficult to even catalog the scope of the problem. But one group of citizen scientists is going to try. And a recent lawsuit against a plastics manufacturer is about to give them a major boost.

NOAA Helps UT Marine Science Institute Rebound from Hurricane Harvey

NOAA Helps UT Marine Science Institute Rebound from Hurricane Harvey

Construction workers rebuilding the UT Marine Science Institute in May 2019.

PORT ARANSAS, Texas – After more than two years of roof repairs, window installations and building reinforcements, the scientists, staff members and students at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) have an end in sight for their ongoing effort to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, thanks to help from the U.S. Congress.

5 Ways UT Science is Fighting Back on Microplastics

5 Ways UT Science is Fighting Back on Microplastics

On a clear day on the beach in Port Aransas, Jace Tunnell noticed clear and multi-colored pellets collecting on the sand at the high tide line. On closer inspection, he discovered the pellets were tiny, round bits of plastic. And there looked to be millions of them.

U.S. Commerce Department Invests in Recovery of UT Marine Science Institute

U.S. Commerce Department Invests in Recovery of UT Marine Science Institute

The Economic Development Administration is funding the establishment of a new Center for Coastal Ocean Science at UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo credit: Jace Tunnell

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $5 million grant to The University of Texas at Austin to repair a large laboratory building on the UT Marine Science Institute campus in Port Aransas and help establish a new Center for Coastal Ocean Science.

Decoding a Drop of Water to Understand Life on the Texas Coast

Decoding a Drop of Water to Understand Life on the Texas Coast

Volunteers Melissa and Elsa Temples collect marine samples as participants in 2019 Texas BioBlitz. Credit: Kelley Savage

You can swim, but you can't hide. Even hard to find living things in the bays and estuaries in the Coastal Bend are being identified as researchers from The University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI), Mission-Aransas Reserve, and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) team up with the Smithsonian Institution's Marine GEO (Global Earth Observatory) program for an ambitious project to identify precisely what lives in the near-shore waters.