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From the College of Natural Sciences
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 ...
Global Warming Experts Recommend Drastic Measures to Save Species

Global Warming Experts Recommend Drastic Measures to Save Species

AUSTIN, Texas—An international team of conservation scientists from Australia, the United Kingdom and United States, including University of Texas at Austin Professor Camille Parmesan, calls for new conservation tactics, such as assisted migration, in the face of the growing threat of climate change. They report their policy ideas in a paper publi...
Giant Cane and the Little Wasp That Could

Giant Cane and the Little Wasp That Could

AUSTIN, Texas—Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) to investigate biological control for an invasive cane grass that is choking waterways across North America. The introduced European cane, Arundo donax, grows in dense stands in wetlands and rip...
Coral Health And Bacterial Communities

Coral Health And Bacterial Communities

PORT ARANSAS, Texas—Bacterial communities endemic to healthy corals could change depending on the amount and type of natural and man-made dissolved organic matter in seawater, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. Healthy corals naturally exude a surround...
Monitoring Texas Bays For Dangerous Algal Blooms

Monitoring Texas Bays For Dangerous Algal Blooms

PORT ARANSAS, Texas—A new electronic sentinel is on the lookout for dangerous algal blooms in Texas bays. The new instrument, called the Imaging FlowCytobot, automatically takes images of and classifies species of phytoplankton in real-time. It heralds the development of a warning system for the presence of harmful algae, like those that cause red...
Tree of Life Revealed for Flowering Plants

Tree of Life Revealed for Flowering Plants

AUSTIN, Texas—The evolutionary Tree of Life for flowering plants has been revealed using the largest collection of genomic data of these plants to date, report scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and University of Florida. The scientists, publishing two papers in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week online, found...