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From the College of Natural Sciences
Caught in the Act: Population of Butterflies Appears to Be Splitting Into Two Species

Caught in the Act: Population of Butterflies Appears to Be Splitting Into Two Species

Breaking up may actually not be hard to do, say scientists who've found a population of tropical butterflies that may be on its way to a split into two distinct species. The cause of this particular break-up? A shift in wing color and mate preference.

World-Renowned Lizard Expert Eric Pianka To Appear on Nova's "Lizard Kings"

World-Renowned Lizard Expert Eric Pianka To Appear on Nova's "Lizard Kings"

Lizard expert and University of Texas at Austin Professor Eric Pianka will appear on an upcoming Nova documentary called "Lizard Kings."

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Ant Has Given Up Sex Completely

Ant Has Given Up Sex Completely

The complete asexuality of a widespread fungus-gardening ant, the only ant species in the world known to have dispensed with males entirely, has been confirmed by a team of Texas and Brazilian researchers.

New Method for Computing Evolutionary Trees

Detailed, accurate evolutionary trees that reveal the relatedness of living things can now be determined much faster and for thousands of species with a new computing method.

Amazonian Amphibian Diversity Traced to Andes

Amazonian Amphibian Diversity Traced to Andes

AUSTIN, Texas — Colorful poison frogs in the Amazon owe their great diversity to ancestors that leapt into the region from the Andes Mountains several times during the last 10 million years, a new study from The University of Texas at Austin suggests. This is the first study to show that the Andes have been a major source of diversity for the Amaz...
Marine Scientists to Assess Arctic Ocean Environment

Marine Scientists to Assess Arctic Ocean Environment

AUSTIN, Texas — Through a $2.9 million, three-year grant from the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a team led by University of Texas at Austin marine scientists will assess the biological and chemical conditions on the seabed of the Chukchi Sea before the area opens for offshore oil drilling. The contract from the MMS (U.S. Department of the Int...
Why Hybrids Grow Bigger

Why Hybrids Grow Bigger

AUSTIN, Texas—Hybrid plants, like corn, grow bigger and better than their parents because many of their genes for photosynthesis and starch metabolism are more active during the day, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin in a new study published in the journal Nature. Their research has relevance in many areas of agriculture, a...
Discovery of Giant Roaming Deep Sea Protist Provides New Perspective on Animal Evolution

Discovery of Giant Roaming Deep Sea Protist Provides New Perspective on Animal Evolution

AUSTIN, Texas — Groove-like tracks on the ocean floor made by giant deep-sea single-celled organisms could lead to new insights into the evolutionary origin of animals, says biologist Mikhail "Misha" Matz from The University of Texas at Austin. Matz and his colleagues recently discovered the grape-sized protists and their complex tracks on the oce...
Oldest Living Lineage of Ants Discovered in the Amazon

Oldest Living Lineage of Ants Discovered in the Amazon

AUSTIN, Texas—A new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant discovered in the Amazon rainforest by University of Texas at Austin evolutionary biologist Christian Rabeling is likely a descendant of the very first ants to evolve. The new ant is named Martialis heureka, which translates roughly to “ant from Mars,” because the ant has a combinat...

Scientists Find New Clues to Explain Amazonian Biodiversity

AUSTIN, Texas--Ice age climate change and ancient flooding—but not barriers created by rivers—may have promoted the evolution of new insect species in the Amazon region of South America, a new study suggests. The Amazon basin is home to the richest diversity of life on earth, yet the reasons why this came to be are not well understood. A team of ...