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From the College of Natural Sciences
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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.

Researchers Discover First Sensor of Earth’s Magnetic Field in an Animal

Researchers Discover First Sensor of Earth’s Magnetic Field in an Animal

A team of scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin has identified the first sensor of the Earth’s magnetic field in an animal, finding in the brain of a tiny worm a big clue to a long-held mystery about how animals’ internal compasses work.

5 Discoveries to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

5 Discoveries to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Were still at the beginning of 2015, but this is when its hardest for a lot of people to stick to to their New Years resolutions. The good news is recent work by UT Austin researchers studying human development, biology, nutrition, and the brain can help you make the scientific case for following through on plans you made to change this year. 

Leaping Lizards: Scientists Catch Evolution in Action

Leaping Lizards: Scientists Catch Evolution in Action

Thanks to an invasive lizard from Cuba, scientists have documented green anoles rapidly evolving better gripping feet. Yoel Stuart was lead author on the study appearing in the journal Science. For more, read our press release or check out these reports in the media from Oct. 23-24:

Staying on the Grid: Placing a Nobel-prize Winning Neuroscience Discovery in a UT Austin Context

Staying on the Grid: Placing a Nobel-prize Winning Neuroscience Discovery in a UT Austin Context

Yesterday, three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of two types of brain cells involved in keeping track of where we are when moving around. Called place cells and grid cells, they may hold the key to understanding aspects of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. Laura Colgin, who did research with two of the prize-winning scientists awarded this year’s Nobel Prize, is now an associate professor of neuroscience in the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences who continues to investigate the role of place cells in spacial memory tasks and more.

Is Corporal Punishment Abuse?

Is Corporal Punishment Abuse?

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was recently indicted on charges of child abuse for hitting his son with a tree branch. Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor of human development and family sciences in the School of Human Ecology who has studied corporal punishment for 15 years, was interviewed -- and her research referenced -- extensively in the media to provide context for the Peterson story from September 16 to 25.

Exposure to Toxins Makes Great Granddaughters More Susceptible to Stress

Exposure to Toxins Makes Great Granddaughters More Susceptible to Stress

b2ap3_thumbnail_sleepypups-ADJUST.jpgScientists have known that toxic effects of substances known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), found in both natural and human-made materials, can pass from one generation to the next, but new research shows that females with ancestral exposure to EDC may show especially adverse reactions to stress.

Brain Scans Show We Take Risks Because We Can't Stop Ourselves

Brain Scans Show We Take Risks Because We Can't Stop Ourselves

brains-control-systems-700x306.jpg

A new study correlating brain activity with how people make decisions suggests that when individuals engage in risky behavior, such as drunk driving or unsafe sex, it's probably not because their brains' desire systems are too active, but because their self-control systems are not active enough.