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From the College of Natural Sciences
Announcing the 2021 Stengl-Wyer Scholars, Fellows and Grant Awardees

Announcing the 2021 Stengl-Wyer Scholars, Fellows and Grant Awardees

Funded by the Stengl-Wyer Endowment, the Stengl Wyer Postdoctoral Scholars Program provides up to three years of independent support for talented postdoctoral researchers in the broad area of the diversity of life and/or organisms in their natural environments. The endowment also supports year-long fellowships for doctoral candidates pursuing dissertation research in the same area.

Technological Leaps Help Biologists Study Quickly Changing Landscapes

Technological Leaps Help Biologists Study Quickly Changing Landscapes

Biologists, naturalists and ecologists are typically known for conducting boots-on-the-ground field research, whether it is hiking through the jungles of Costa Rica to study rare frogs, paddling along Arctic coastlines to study sources of carbon or studying endangered birds in South Texas. But increasingly, technology is expanding the work these scientists can do beyond where their feet alone can take them.

Key Switchgrass Genes Identified, Which Could Mean Better Biofuels Ahead

Key Switchgrass Genes Identified, Which Could Mean Better Biofuels Ahead

Biologists believe they are one step closer to a long-held goal of making a cheap, widely available plant a source for energy and fuel, meaning one of the next big weapons in the battle against climate change may be able to trace its roots to the side of a Texas highway.

Arming Texas for War on Crazy Ants

Arming Texas for War on Crazy Ants

UT scientists are all in for the fight against crazy ants. Image: Crazy Ant (Nylanderia fulva), Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In 2014, the staff at Estero Llano Grande State Park, on the Rio Grande outside Weslaco, began seeing large colonies of ants they did not recognize around the buildings and in the restrooms. Then staffers began noticing the ants driving birds out of their nests — a particularly bad thing at a park that is part of the Rio Grande Valley's World Birding Center.

Leafcutter Ants' Success Due to More Than Crop Selection

Leafcutter Ants' Success Due to More Than Crop Selection

A rare peak inside the garden of a leafcutter ant colony reveals the queen (center-left), brood, and an extensive matrix of fungal hyphae that form both the nest structure and the insects' exclusive diet. Public domain image by Alex Wild, for the University of Texas at Austin's "Insects Unlocked" project.

A complex genetic analysis has biologists re-evaluating some long-held beliefs about the way societies evolved following the invention of agriculture—by six-legged farmers.