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From the College of Natural Sciences
Oh Bee-have! UT Scientist’s Book for Children Highlights the Many Facets of Bees

Oh Bee-have! UT Scientist’s Book for Children Highlights the Many Facets of Bees

Felicity Muth

Felicity Muth, a UT Austin assistant professor of integrative biology whose work focuses on cognition, didn't always know what animal she would ultimately work with to better understand the living world.

Ten Faculty Members Honored With College Teaching Excellence Award

Ten Faculty Members Honored With College Teaching Excellence Award

​The Teaching Excellence Award in the College of Natural Sciences seeks to promote and recognize outstanding teaching in the college by honoring faculty members who have had a positive influence on the educational experience of our students. 

NSF Award Paves Way for UT Center for Pandemic Decision Science

NSF Award Paves Way for UT Center for Pandemic Decision Science

Preparing the world to combat pandemic threats involves the use of sophisticated forecasting tools and detection of novel threats before they spread.

The National Science Foundation has selected The University of Texas at Austin for a pilot grant to establish the UT Center for Pandemic Decision Science (CPDS). The new interdisciplinary center will bring together scientists, engineers, clinicians and policymakers to tackle the grand challenge of preparing the world to combat future pandemic threats.

After Fire Damages Stengl Lost Pines, Scientists Say Discovery Will Rise from the Ashes

After Fire Damages Stengl Lost Pines, Scientists Say Discovery Will Rise from the Ashes

College of Natural Sciences staff research scientist and resident manager and volunteer firefighter Steven Gibson coordinates with firefighters at Stengl Lost Pines BIological Stations during the response effort to the Pine Pond Fire. Credit: Larry Gilbert.

​ SMITHVILLE, Texas – At a site where scientists have been conducting research for decades, the recent Pine Pond Fire in Bastrop County damaged outdoor habitats within The University of Texas at Austin's Stengl Lost Pines Biological Station (SLP). No one was hurt and no buildings burned in the fire.

Delays in Contact Tracing Impeded Early COVID-19 Containment, Researchers Find

Delays in Contact Tracing Impeded Early COVID-19 Containment, Researchers Find

Contact tracing programs were deployed around the globe to slow the spread of COVID-19, but these programs could not prevent the multiple waves of transmission and loss of life that have occurred since March 2020. In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin found that a five-day delay between identifying a case and isolating contacts was the Achilles' heel of a contact tracing program in a large U.S. city.

Neutralizing Crazy Ants

Neutralizing Crazy Ants

Over the past 15 years or so, tawny crazy ants from South America have been popping up across the southeastern U.S. like paratroopers dropping in from an invading army. Where they take hold, they're like an ecological wrecking ball and they cause headaches for homeowners. Podcast host Marc Airhart joined biologist Edward LeBrun in the Texas Hill Country to test a new weapon in the battle against the destructive tawny crazy ant.

Virus Discovery Offers Clues About Origins of Complex Life

Virus Discovery Offers Clues About Origins of Complex Life

Eukaryotic cells. Credit: iStock.

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin report in Nature Microbiology the first discovery of viruses infecting a group of microbes that may include the ancestors of all complex life. The discovery offers tantalizing clues about the origins of complex life and suggests new directions for exploring the hypothesis that viruses were essential to the evolution of humans and other complex life forms.

Holy Bat Memory! Frog-Eating Bats Remember Ringtones Years Later

Holy Bat Memory! Frog-Eating Bats Remember Ringtones Years Later

Frog-eating bat (Trachops cirrhosus). Credit: Marcos Guerra.

Frog-eating bats trained by researchers to associate a phone ringtone with a tasty treat were able to remember what they learned for up to four years in the wild, according to a new study published in Current Biology.

Legacy of Colonialism Influences Science in the Caribbean

Legacy of Colonialism Influences Science in the Caribbean

Map of the Caribbean region. Generated using ArcGIS Pro online.

With the retreat of sprawling empires after the Second World War, one might think the colonial mindset of taking from smaller countries to support large nations would likewise be relegated to the past. But a new paper in The American Naturalist by an international collaboration of researchers shows how the legacy of colonialism remains deeply entrenched within scientific practice across the Caribbean archipelago.

How Electric Fish Were Able to Evolve Electric Organs

How Electric Fish Were Able to Evolve Electric Organs

UT Austin researchers confirmed that the genetic control region they discovered only controls the expression of a sodium channel gene in muscle and no other tissues. In this image, a green fluorescent protein lights up only in trunk muscle in a developing zebrafish embryo. Image credit: Mary Swartz/Johann Eberhart/University of Texas at Austin.

Electric organs help electric fish, such as the electric eel, do all sorts of amazing things: They send and receive signals that are akin to bird songs, helping them to recognize other electric fish by species, sex and even individual. A new study in Science Advances explains how small genetic changes enabled electric fish to evolve electric organs. The finding might also help scientists pinpoint the genetic mutations behind some human diseases.