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From the College of Natural Sciences
U.S. Commerce Department Invests in Recovery of UT Marine Science Institute

U.S. Commerce Department Invests in Recovery of UT Marine Science Institute

The Economic Development Administration is funding the establishment of a new Center for Coastal Ocean Science at UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo credit: Jace Tunnell

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $5 million grant to The University of Texas at Austin to repair a large laboratory building on the UT Marine Science Institute campus in Port Aransas and help establish a new Center for Coastal Ocean Science.

Decoding a Drop of Water to Understand Life on the Texas Coast

Decoding a Drop of Water to Understand Life on the Texas Coast

Volunteers Melissa and Elsa Temples collect marine samples as participants in 2019 Texas BioBlitz. Credit: Kelley Savage

You can swim, but you can't hide. Even hard to find living things in the bays and estuaries in the Coastal Bend are being identified as researchers from The University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI), Mission-Aransas Reserve, and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) team up with the Smithsonian Institution's Marine GEO (Global Earth Observatory) program for an ambitious project to identify precisely what lives in the near-shore waters.

On Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill, Science Has Insights for the Next Crisis

On Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill, Science Has Insights for the Next Crisis

The 1979 Ixtoc 1 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico led to one of history's worst oil spills, totaling the equivalent of 3 million barrels. Image credit: NOAA

On June 3, 1979, an oil rig called the Ixtoc I exploded off the coast of Campeche, Mexico, triggering what at the time was the worst oil spill in history. Even today, Ixtoc is eclipsed in the Gulf of Mexico only by the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. Ixtoc's damage was observed for decades along the Texas coast, where experts at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute study the impact of the oil spill to this day and explore ways to contain the damage from future disasters.

Turning the Tide: How the Marine Science Institute is Building a Bluer Future

Turning the Tide: How the Marine Science Institute is Building a Bluer Future

Photo by Richard Barnden.

The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute can feel like the edge of the world. It stands on a corner of Mustang Island, surrounded by windswept grassy dunes and a seemingly endless expanse of Gulf water. But this unassuming campus is perfectly positioned to study our planet's largest resource. MSI isn't an edge; it's a forefront.

UT Marine Science Institute Teams with SeaWorld San Antonio

UT Marine Science Institute Teams with SeaWorld San Antonio

This month, when SeaWorld San Antonio unveiled and opened Turtle Reef™, featuring non-releasable sea turtles in a first-of-its-kind biofiltration habitat, part of the focus was on its partnership with The University of Texas at Austin, Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas.

Arctic Rivers Can Help Monitor Greenhouse Gases Released from Thawing Permafrost

Arctic Rivers Can Help Monitor Greenhouse Gases Released from Thawing Permafrost

James McClelland and his colleagues developed a new way to monitor carbon released from thawing permafrost in the Arctic by analyzing water samples from major rivers.

As Earth's climate warms, experts predict the rate of greenhouse gas emissions from thawing Arctic permafrost and peat will rise, which will further boost climate warming. Because the rate of permafrost thaw varies widely across the Arctic and data from remote areas is limited, it's been challenging for scientists to monitor actual changes on the ground.

Ten Students Receive Prestigious Federal Graduate Research Awards

Ten Students Receive Prestigious Federal Graduate Research Awards

Six graduate students and four undergraduates have received prestigious federal graduate research awards. Pictured are Stephanie Valenzuela, Thao Thanh Thi Nguyen, Logan Pearce, Caitlyn McCafferty, Taha Dawoodbhoy, Ian Rambo, Hadiqa Zafar, Zoe Boundy-Singer, Griffin Glenn, and Ariel Barr.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have awarded prestigious graduate research awards to 48 University of Texas at Austin students, including ten from the College of Natural Sciences.

Scientists Discover New Details about Metabolism in Ancestors of All Complex Life

Scientists Discover New Details about Metabolism in Ancestors of All Complex Life

A team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden, The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere, have found new evidence that strengthens the hypothesis that the first complex life forms, called eukaryotes, arose from the merger of two simpler life forms. The same team previously identified living relatives of ancestors of eukaryotes, while this latest study shows how those ancestors might have shared the work of metabolism with bacteria they acted as hosts for.

Newly Discovered Deep-Sea Microbes Gobble Greenhouse Gases and Perhaps Oil Spills, Too

Newly Discovered Deep-Sea Microbes Gobble Greenhouse Gases and Perhaps Oil Spills, Too

Researchers have documented extensive diversity in the microbial communities living in the extremely hot, deep-sea sediments located in the Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California. This view of the Guaymas Basin seafloor was taken through the window of the Alvin submersible by Brett Baker in November 2018.

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute have discovered nearly two dozen new types of microbes, many of which use hydrocarbons such as methane and butane as energy sources to survive and grow—meaning the newly identified bacteria might be helping to limit the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and might one day be useful for cleaning up oil spills.

Undeterred, Gulf Fish Spawn Despite Hurricane

Undeterred, Gulf Fish Spawn Despite Hurricane

Even a Category 4 hurricane doesn't kill the mood for coastal fish – and that's good news for all species, as well as for a multibillion-dollar recreational fishing industry. As extreme weather patterns threaten to bring more and larger storms to the Gulf Coast, new findings from the University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute show some important fish species are able to continue spawning even in a severe storm.