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From the College of Natural Sciences
New Coral Research Exposes Genomic Underpinnings of Adaptation

New Coral Research Exposes Genomic Underpinnings of Adaptation

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have observed for the first time that separate populations of the same species — in this case, coral — can diverge in their capacity to regulate genes when adapting to their local environment. The research, published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution, reveals a new way for populations to adapt that may help predict how they will fare under climate change.

A Trio of Flu Studies Point the Way to Better Treatment and Prevention

A Trio of Flu Studies Point the Way to Better Treatment and Prevention

As we head into flu season, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are announcing the results of three flu studies: One suggests a possible new target for drugs to combat the flu; another study forecasts how effective this year's flu vaccine might be; and a third looks at ways to improve the process of identifying flu strains in the wild and thus improve how strains are selected for inclusion in each year's vaccine.

Searching Genomes for New Chemotherapies

Searching Genomes for New Chemotherapies

A new hunting ground for medically important compounds may be the genome of a stressed-out, poisonous evergreen shrub. Rhazya stricta is a relative of a plant currently mined for chemotherapies and holds promise for future cancer therapies, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin, King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Saudi Arabia and two institutions in Canada, University of Ottawa and Université de Montréal.

Bats Use Second Sense to Hunt Prey in Noisy Environments

Bats Use Second Sense to Hunt Prey in Noisy Environments

Like many predators, the fringe-lipped bat primarily uses its hearing to find its prey, but with human-generated noise on the rise, scientists are examining how bats and other animals might adapt to find their next meal. According to a new study, when noise masks the mating calls of the bat's prey, túngara frogs, the bat shifts to another sensory mode—echolocation.

College Welcomes New Faculty for 2016-17 Academic Year

College Welcomes New Faculty for 2016-17 Academic Year

The College of Natural Sciences welcomes several new tenured and tenure-track faculty members this fall. Whether improving the performance and reliability of computers, investigating phases of matter, or revealing the impact of climate change on plant and animal life, these diligent and innovative scientists build on the college's reputation for groundbreaking research and research-based teaching.
Creative Research Collaborations to Start with “Pop-Up Institutes”

Creative Research Collaborations to Start with “Pop-Up Institutes”

Faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences are leading new Pop-Up Institutes as part of a new interdisciplinary research initiative at The University of Texas at Austin. Three Pop-Up Institutes were announced this week, with two originating in Natural Sciences. These research efforts will assemble fresh collaborations to address the influence of individual variation on the health and fitness of populations and the impact of discrimination on health outcomes.

Flies Captured on Video Turning Fire Ants Into Zombies

Flies Captured on Video Turning Fire Ants Into Zombies

​The skillful and ghoulish attack of parasitoid phorid flies on fire ants, filmed at the Brackenridge Field Lab, was recently featured in the PBS nature documentary, Supernature - Wild Flyers.

Some Bacteria Have Lived in the Human Gut Since Before We Were Human

Some Bacteria Have Lived in the Human Gut Since Before We Were Human

Some of the bacteria in our guts were passed down over millions of years, since before we were human, suggesting that evolution plays a larger role than previously known in people's intestinal-microbe makeup, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Two Rare Orchids Discovered at Brackenridge Field Lab

Two Rare Orchids Discovered at Brackenridge Field Lab

Last week Robert Deans, a University of Texas at Austin graduate student in ecology, evolution and behavior, discovered an extremely rare orchid in an unexpected place—at an urban biological field station in the heart of Austin, Texas.

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.