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From the College of Natural Sciences
Supercomputing the Evolution of a Model Flower

Supercomputing the Evolution of a Model Flower

Following is an except from an article that originally appeared on the website of the Texas Advanced Computing Center on January 28, 2015:

Always and Forever: A Microscopic Love Story

Always and Forever: A Microscopic Love Story

In the world of living things, surely one of the oddest relationships is the one between certain insects and the bacteria they can't seem to live without. Such bacteria, called obligate symbionts live inside the host's cells. They're distinct organisms -- they have their own DNA separate from that of the host. And yet, if you try to remove the bacteria, the host dies. And vice versa.

Graduate Student Leads Field Trip into the Infamous Darien Gap

Graduate Student Leads Field Trip into the Infamous Darien Gap

Kidnappings. Guerillas. Impenetrable jungle. The Darien Gap is famous for many things. This 60-mile-wide swath of rainforest straddling the Panama-Colombia border has long been the stomping ground of drug traffickers and guerillas, most notably the left-wing FARC, who until 10 years ago were still conducting high-profile kidnappings of foreign travellers seeking to tackle this notoriously dangerous part of the world. Flash forward a decade and scientists working just outside the gap discovered that, while there were still occasional reports of violence, things were now relatively peaceful in the gap.

Consortium Awarded $9.2 Million for Gulf Oil Spill Research

Consortium Awarded $9.2 Million for Gulf Oil Spill Research

A University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI)-led consortium of seven institutions was awarded $9.2 million to continue research on the impact of oil spills and dispersants on the Gulf of Mexico and public health.  

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:

Florida Lizards Evolve Rapidly, Within 15 Years and 20 Generations

Florida Lizards Evolve Rapidly, Within 15 Years and 20 Generations

Acarolinensis LeftFoot Stuart G063 sm-300x275Scientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species — in as little as 15 years — as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species, introduced from Cuba.

How 'Green' is Your Coffee?

How 'Green' is Your Coffee?

With more and more eco-friendly coffee on grocery store shelves in the U.S. and with major outlets like Starbucks and McDonald's getting into the act in recent years, you might think the coffee industry is becoming greener. But think again. 

Plants: The Future of Energy?

Plants: The Future of Energy?

Can we use plants for energy instead of oil? That's the question one group of intrepid students is trying to answer as part of an innovative program that plugs first year students into real-world research projects with top notch faculty and research scientists.

Fish Eggs Turn Conventional View of Ocean Food Webs Upside Down

Fish Eggs Turn Conventional View of Ocean Food Webs Upside Down

Do you remember in fifth grade science class learning about food webs? Plants absorb energy from the sun, plants are eaten by animals, and smaller animals are eaten by bigger animals. Generally speaking, the flow is from smaller to larger organisms. An analysis by researchers at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute reveals how the flow of nutrients in the ocean can also go in reverse, from larger animals to smaller ones. This new understanding has implications for conservation and fisheries management.

Changes in Coastal Upwelling Linked to Variability in Marine Ecosystem Off California

Changes in Coastal Upwelling Linked to Variability in Marine Ecosystem Off California

In findings of relevance to conservationists and the fishing industry, new research links short-term reductions in growth and reproduction of marine animals off the California coast to increasing variability in the strength of coastal upwelling currents — currents that supply nutrients to the region's diverse ecosystem.