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From the College of Natural Sciences
You Probably Ate Fungus Today

You Probably Ate Fungus Today

That salad you had for lunch. Yeah, it had fungi in it.

That celery stick you barely nibbled that came with your basket of wings last night. It had fungi in it too.

Variety in Diet Can Hamper Microbial Diversity in the Gut

Variety in Diet Can Hamper Microbial Diversity in the Gut

Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and five other institutions have discovered that the more diverse the diet of a fish, the less diverse are the microbes living in its gut. If the effect is confirmed in humans, it could mean that the combinations of foods people eat can influence the diversity of their gut microbes.

Head Room: The UT Austin Greenhouses

Head Room: The UT Austin Greenhouses

Take a glimpse into two of UT's biggest and brightest (literally!) greenhouses. The BOT greenhouse holds a number of exotic plants for taxonomic study, while the Welch greenhouse hosts a variety of rich and important agricultural projects. As these horticulturalists make clear, no two greenhouses are ever the same!

How do you move 100,000 bees from Connecticut to Texas in August?

How do you move 100,000 bees from Connecticut to Texas in August?

Nancy Moran and her students moved 100,000 bees from Connecticut to Texas in a minivan ... in August. To keep the bees from overheating, they kept the AC cranked to the max during the day and left the windows down at night. "It seemed unlikely that anyone would try to steal something from a van full of bees," says Moran. As part of the Behind the ...
Shade Grown Coffee Shrinking as a Proportion of Global Coffee Production

Shade Grown Coffee Shrinking as a Proportion of Global Coffee Production

Coffee Management Map

The proportion of land used to cultivate shade grown coffee, relative to the total land area of coffee cultivation, has fallen by nearly 20 percent globally since 1996, according to a new study by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and five other institutions.

Crazy Ants Dominate Fire Ants by Neutralizing Their Venom

Crazy Ants Dominate Fire Ants by Neutralizing Their Venom

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Invasive “crazy ants” are rapidly displacing fire ants in areas across the southeastern U.S. by secreting a compound that neutralizes fire ant venom, according to a University of Texas at Austin study published this week in the journal Science Express. It’s the first known example of an insect with the ability to detoxify another insect’s venom.

Bats Use Water Ripples to Hunt Frogs

Bats Use Water Ripples to Hunt Frogs

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As the male túngara frog serenades female frogs from a pond, he creates watery ripples that make him easier to target by rivals and predators such as bats, according to researchers from The University of Texas at Austin, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Leiden University and Salisbury University.

Symbiotic Fungi Inhabiting Plant Roots Have Major Impact on Atmospheric Carbon

Symbiotic Fungi Inhabiting Plant Roots Have Major Impact on Atmospheric Carbon

Microscopic fungi that live in plants' roots play a major role in the storage and release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere, according to a University of Texas at Austin researcher and his colleagues at Boston University and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The role of these fungi is currently unaccounted for in global climate models.

An Amanita mushroom from a field site in Harvard Forest. This particular mushroom is the fruiting body of an ectomycorrhizal fungus associated with the roots of a Hemlock tree. Photo by Colin Averill.

Every Fish Wants to Be a Macho Fish

Every Fish Wants to Be a Macho Fish

For the male African cichlid fish, everyday can be a battle to gain rights to prime real estate and girls. Though the aquariums in Hans Hofmann’s lab in Patterson Hall are not like the fight-to-the-death arena of “The Hunger Games,” they are still the scenes of epic competition and showmanship.

Six Top Stories that Captured Imaginations Far and Wide

Six Top Stories that Captured Imaginations Far and Wide

It was a big year for science in the College of Natural Sciences. "Aren't they all?" you might be asking yourself. Point taken. Of course our faculty, postdocs, staff and students are at the forefront of discovery.

Though not all of the amazing work happening in the labs around this campus spread across the Interwebs like crazy ants (ahem), here we present the top six stories of 2013 that did. These are the stories that went particularly viral, catching the eyes and minds of many. Hook 'em!