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From the College of Natural Sciences
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.

On Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill, Science Has Insights for the Next Crisis

On Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill, Science Has Insights for the Next Crisis

The 1979 Ixtoc 1 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico led to one of history's worst oil spills, totaling the equivalent of 3 million barrels. Image credit: NOAA

On June 3, 1979, an oil rig called the Ixtoc I exploded off the coast of Campeche, Mexico, triggering what at the time was the worst oil spill in history. Even today, Ixtoc is eclipsed in the Gulf of Mexico only by the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. Ixtoc's damage was observed for decades along the Texas coast, where experts at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute study the impact of the oil spill to this day and explore ways to contain the damage from future disasters.

Turning the Tide: How the Marine Science Institute is Building a Bluer Future

Turning the Tide: How the Marine Science Institute is Building a Bluer Future

Photo by Richard Barnden.

The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute can feel like the edge of the world. It stands on a corner of Mustang Island, surrounded by windswept grassy dunes and a seemingly endless expanse of Gulf water. But this unassuming campus is perfectly positioned to study our planet's largest resource. MSI isn't an edge; it's a forefront.

Arctic Rivers Can Help Monitor Greenhouse Gases Released from Thawing Permafrost

Arctic Rivers Can Help Monitor Greenhouse Gases Released from Thawing Permafrost

James McClelland and his colleagues developed a new way to monitor carbon released from thawing permafrost in the Arctic by analyzing water samples from major rivers.

As Earth's climate warms, experts predict the rate of greenhouse gas emissions from thawing Arctic permafrost and peat will rise, which will further boost climate warming. Because the rate of permafrost thaw varies widely across the Arctic and data from remote areas is limited, it's been challenging for scientists to monitor actual changes on the ground.

Scientists Discover New Details about Metabolism in Ancestors of All Complex Life

Scientists Discover New Details about Metabolism in Ancestors of All Complex Life

A team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden, The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere, have found new evidence that strengthens the hypothesis that the first complex life forms, called eukaryotes, arose from the merger of two simpler life forms. The same team previously identified living relatives of ancestors of eukaryotes, while this latest study shows how those ancestors might have shared the work of metabolism with bacteria they acted as hosts for.