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From the College of Natural Sciences
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.

UT Austin Chemist Livia Eberlin Named a Moore Inventor Fellow

UT Austin Chemist Livia Eberlin Named a Moore Inventor Fellow

Livia Eberlin has been named a Moore Inventor Fellow. Photo courtesy of Moore Foundation.

A foundation that has set a goal this decade of identifying 50 inventors who will shape the next 50 years has added its second University of Texas at Austin faculty member to the list. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced Livia Eberlin, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, is one of this year's five Moore Inventor fellows.

Natural Sciences Alumna Receives Distinguished Texas Exes Award

Natural Sciences Alumna Receives Distinguished Texas Exes Award

Dr. Anitha Mitchell Logan, an alumna of the College of Natural Sciences, is one of six winners of this year's Distinguished Alumnus Awards from the Texas Exes, the alumni association of the University of Texas at Austin. The awards, currently celebrating their 60th anniversary, are given annually to alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the university.

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.

Natural Sciences Students Show Off Communication Skills in Video Competition

Natural Sciences Students Show Off Communication Skills in Video Competition

The Texas Student Research Showdown, a competition open to undergraduate researchers at UT Austin across all disciplines and majors, featured a number of winning entries from College of Natural Sciences and Freshman Research Initiative students this year. For this contest, students submit a two minute YouTube video to effectively communicate their research projects while competing for recognition and cash prizes worth up to $2,500.

Mathematician Receives Max Planck-Humboldt Medal

Mathematician Receives Max Planck-Humboldt Medal

Mathematician Sam Payne has been awarded a Max Planck-Humboldt Medal. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

Sam Payne, professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded one of this year's two Max Planck-Humboldt Medals. The medal is financed by the German government and awarded jointly by the Max Planck Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Giant Flightless Birds Were Nocturnal and Possibly Blind

Giant Flightless Birds Were Nocturnal and Possibly Blind

A new analysis of the skulls of extinct elephant birds show they were nocturnal and possibly blind. Credit: John Maisano/University of Texas at Austin.

If you encountered an elephant bird today, it would be hard to miss. Measuring in at over 10 feet tall, the extinct avian is the largest bird known to science. However, while you looked up in awe, it's likely that the big bird would not be looking back.

Everything’s Bigger in Texas, including the Occasional Spider Web

Everything’s Bigger in Texas, including the Occasional Spider Web

If creepy-crawly, eight-legged types are the stuff of your Halloween fears, you might want to stop reading here.

UT Austin Selected for New Nationwide High-Intensity Laser Network

UT Austin Selected for New Nationwide High-Intensity Laser Network

The Texas Petawatt Laser, among the most powerful in the U.S., will be part of a new national network funded by the Dept. of Energy, named LaserNetUS. Credit: University of Texas at Austin.

The University of Texas at Austin will be a key player in LaserNetUS, a new national network of institutions operating high-intensity, ultrafast lasers. The overall project, funded over two years with $6.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, aims to help boost the country's global competitiveness in high-intensity laser research.

Biologists Receive $2 Million to Classify the Microbial World

Biologists Receive $2 Million to Classify the Microbial World

UT Austin biologists have received funding to classify the world’s microbes based on genetics, function and ecology. This image is a tree of life for one group of microbes called archaea. In this case, they are all found in the guts of great apes. Credit: Howard Ochman/University of Texas at Austin.

The National Science Foundation has awarded a team of four researchers, including University of Texas at Austin biologists Howard Ochman and Mark Kirkpatrick, approximately $2 million over three years to classify the entire microbial world into genetic, ecological and functional units. The researchers also aim to understand how diversity originates and to analyze the genetic basis of functional and ecological differences between emerging species.