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From the College of Natural Sciences
Oil Impairs Ability of Coral Reef Fish to Find Homes and Evade Predators

Oil Impairs Ability of Coral Reef Fish to Find Homes and Evade Predators

Damselfish, Chromis species. Photo credit: Jacob Johansen.

Just as one too many cocktails can lead a person to make bad choices, a few drops of oil can cause coral reef fish to make poor decisions, according to a paper published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution. A team of fisheries biologists led by Jacob Johansen and Andrew Esbaugh of The University of Texas Marine Science Institute have discovered that oil impacts the higher-order thinking of coral reef fish in a way that could prove dangerous for them—and for the coral reefs where they make their home.

New Material Could Save Time and Money in Medical Imaging and Environmental Remediation

New Material Could Save Time and Money in Medical Imaging and Environmental Remediation

Chemists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a material that holds the key to cheap, fast and portable new sensors for a wide range of chemicals that right now cost government and industries large sums to detect. The innovation could lead to major public health gains, as it holds the potential to drastically reduce the costs associated with cleaning-up accidental chemical spills, remediating old industrial sites, detecting radioactive contamination in drinking water, and operating medical and research imaging devices.

Chemistry Professor Wins NSF CAREER Award

Chemistry Professor Wins NSF CAREER Award

Sean Roberts, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, has received the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation to pursue his research on the electrical properties of the surfaces of thin materials, which has long-range potential to inspire more energy efficient solar cells, lighting and electronic displays. The award will also support an outreach program designed to give community college students hands-on experience with research.

Physics, Fracking, Fuel and the Future

Physics, Fracking, Fuel and the Future

​Physicists have a vital role to play in shaping the future of energy production and consumption, says Michael Marder, professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin, in the cover story of Physics Today​.

Rare, Blind Catfish Never Before Found in U.S. Discovered in Texas

Rare, Blind Catfish Never Before Found in U.S. Discovered in Texas

An extremely rare eyeless catfish species previously known to exist only in Mexico has been discovered in a National Recreation Area in Texas.

New Catalyst Enables Cheaper Production of Hydrogen Fuel

New Catalyst Enables Cheaper Production of Hydrogen Fuel

Imagine a world where cars run on fuel derived from water instead of gasoline. Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere are developing methods for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen that could someday power hydrogen fuel cells. One key challenge has been the high cost of catalysts, chemicals that shepherd the electrolytic reaction.

Why a Simple Law Governs Tropical Rainforest Trees

Why a Simple Law Governs Tropical Rainforest Trees

Tropical rainforests play a vital role in the well-being of our planet, soaking up carbon dioxide and helping stabilize the global climate. Around the world, tropical rainforests vary widely in climate and species composition, but when scientists plot out the numbers of trees by size, a puzzling consistency emerges: each rainforest follows the same pattern in the distribution of trees of different heights.

Texas Marine Scientist Studies Oil Spill Effects on Oxygen Levels in the Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’

Texas Marine Scientist Studies Oil Spill Effects on Oxygen Levels in the Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’

Marine scientist Zhanfei Liu is studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on oxygen levels in the northern Gulf of Mexico in part through a recently received National Science Foundation grant for Rapid Response Research (RAPID).