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From the College of Natural Sciences
Spring Insects to Spot on Neighborhood Walks

Spring Insects to Spot on Neighborhood Walks

A green sweat bee on a spiderwort flower. Photo by: Alex Wild, used with permission.

With much of the world practicing social distancing, walks and other opportunities to get outdoors are the highlight of many people's days right now. That includes scientists, some of whom say, with the spring season upon us, the outdoors just got a lot more interesting.

Texas-Led Team Finds Earth-Sized, Habitable Zone Planet Hidden in Early NASA Kepler Data

Texas-Led Team Finds Earth-Sized, Habitable Zone Planet Hidden in Early NASA Kepler Data

A team of transatlantic scientists led by The University of Texas at Austin's Andrew Vanderburg has used reanalyzed data from NASA's Kepler space telescope to discover an Earth-size exoplanet orbiting in its star's habitable zone, the area around a star where a rocky planet could support liquid water.

Model Predicts Which Coral Reefs Will Better Adapt to Global Warming

Model Predicts Which Coral Reefs Will Better Adapt to Global Warming

Various staghorn corals in the Great Barrier Reef. Image credit: The Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey.

​Climate change is causing coral reefs around the world to decline. According to a new study in the journal Global Change Biology, reefs that receive more heat-tolerant coral larvae from warmer ocean regions will be more likely to adapt and survive than those that receive less. The discovery was made using a computer model created by University of Texas at Austin evolutionary biologist Mikhail Matz.

Marine Scientist Brett Baker Receives Simons Award

Marine Scientist Brett Baker Receives Simons Award

Brett Baker received a 2020 Simons Early Career Investigator Award.

​When you can change the tree of life with a click of a button, people notice. Brett Baker, microbiologist and assistant professor at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, has attracted the attention of the Simons Foundation. The foundation selected Baker as a 2020 Simons Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. The award recognizes Baker's work in microbial diversity, ecology and evolution.

14 Natural Sciences Students Receive Prestigious NSF Fellowships

14 Natural Sciences Students Receive Prestigious NSF Fellowships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that 43 University of Texas at Austin students, including 14 in the College of Natural Sciences, will receive prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships.

Long-Living Tropical Trees Play Outsized Role in Carbon Storage

Long-Living Tropical Trees Play Outsized Role in Carbon Storage

Irene del Carmen Torres Dominguez measures the diameter of a tree on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Since 1982, more than 200,000 trees are measured every five years. (Photo by Christian Ziegler)

A group of trees that grow fast, live long lives and reproduce slowly account for the bulk of the biomass—and carbon storage—in some tropical rainforests, a team of scientists says in a paper published this week in the journal Science. The finding that these trees, called long-lived pioneers, play a much larger role in carbon storage than previously thought may have implications in efforts to preserve forests as a strategy to fight climate change.

Social Support Aids Recovery from Drug Addiction, Study Suggests

Social Support Aids Recovery from Drug Addiction, Study Suggests

Having an option to receive social support rather than use drugs is better at reducing relapse than cutting out drugs completely, and this behavior has its own control circuit in the brain, according to research co-authored by University of Texas neuroscientist Robert Messing. The research, done in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides evidence supporting existing recovery offerings and has implications for developing new drug-addiction treatments.

Pair of Natural Sciences Undergraduates Selected for Goldwater Scholarships

Pair of Natural Sciences Undergraduates Selected for Goldwater Scholarships

Two University of Texas at Austin seniors, Zoe de Beurs and Cole Maguire, have received Goldwater Scholarships, one of the most prestigious awards for STEM undergraduates.

Researchers Create Largest Ever Map of Plant Proteins and Their Assemblies

Researchers Create Largest Ever Map of Plant Proteins and Their Assemblies

In a new paper in Cell, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin offer the largest survey to date of proteins in plants, examining 13 different species across 1.1 billion years of plant evolution. Their findings could have practical applications such as increasing crop yields, understanding disease and stress resistance in plants and informing biofuel production.

Pandemic Model Shows Importance of Social Distancing in 22 Texas Cities

Pandemic Model Shows Importance of Social Distancing in 22 Texas Cities

Researchers have examined how COVID-19 would impact 22 metro areas in Texas under scenarios where levels of social distancing differ.

A new pandemic model of COVID-19 shows the positive role social distancing can play in preventing the spread of the illness in areas across the state. The report by researchers in The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences projects significantly higher numbers of cases of infection, hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths in 22 Texas communities under scenarios in which social distancing measures are moderate.