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From the College of Natural Sciences
A More Nuanced Approach is Needed to Manage Coral Reef Ecosystems

A More Nuanced Approach is Needed to Manage Coral Reef Ecosystems

Rangiroa, French Polynesia. Credit: Jordan M. Casey.

For many years, conservationists have tended to focus on one key parameter when assessing coral reef health: the biomass of coral reef fishes. But according to a new study of more than 500 coral reefs around the world, what constitutes healthy or "functional" goes far beyond this single metric. Reporting in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, an international team identified five key functions that fish provide to a reef. Together, they paint a clearer picture of reef health.

UT Austin Offers New Undergraduate Major in Statistics and Data Science

UT Austin Offers New Undergraduate Major in Statistics and Data Science

With statistics and data science among the fastest-growing fields in the United States, The University of Texas at Austin will offer an undergraduate degree in these fields for the first time beginning in the fall of 2022.

Graduate Programs in Science, Math, Computing at UT Austin Highly Ranked by U.S. News

Graduate Programs in Science, Math, Computing at UT Austin Highly Ranked by U.S. News

The University of Texas at Austin continues to be among the public universities with the most top-ranked schools and academic programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report's latest edition of "Best Graduate Schools," released this morning. The university has five specialty programs ranked No. 1 and 55 graduate programs and specialties ranked among the nation's top 10. UT Austin is one of only four public universities with 50 or more specialties ranked so highly.

Invading Hordes of Crazy Ants May Have Finally Met Their Kryptonite

Invading Hordes of Crazy Ants May Have Finally Met Their Kryptonite

Edward LeBrun, a research scientist with the Texas Invasive Species Research Program at The University of Texas at Austin’s Brackenridge Field Laboratory, collects tawny crazy ants at a field site in central Texas. Credit: Thomas Swafford/University of Texas at Austin.

When tawny crazy ants move into a new area, the invasive species is like an ecological wrecking ball — driving out native insects and small animals and causing major headaches for homeowners. But scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have good news, as they have demonstrated how to use a naturally occurring fungus to crush local populations of crazy ants. They describe their work this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New Phononic Crystal Might Enable Better Mobile Communications

New Phononic Crystal Might Enable Better Mobile Communications

Using a microwave microscope, UT Austin researchers visualized elastic waves as they travel right to left, following a Z-shaped boundary in a phononic crystal, without losing energy. The image is approximately 0.1 millimeters high. Credit: Keji Lai/University of Texas at Austin.

Experts have taken a step towards the use of special materials called phononic crystals in cell phones and other mobile devices, an advance that is important to make more devices compatible with emerging 5G communications and other new technologies.

Computer Science Researcher Aims to Automate Software Development

Computer Science Researcher Aims to Automate Software Development

Isil Dillig is an associate professor of computer science who works to improve the security and reliability of software systems and automatically generate programs from high-level specifications. She received a Sloan Research Fellowship and an NSF CAREER award.

The Importance of Ethics in Computer Science

The Importance of Ethics in Computer Science

As society's reliance on technology increases, computer scientists are now placed at the forefront of new and unique ethical decisions. However, most computer science curricula don't require a substantial education in ethics, despite that an educational discussion on ethical issues can lead scientists to have greater awareness of the consequences and repercussions of their creations.

Astronomer Stella Offner Receives Delta Young Astronomer Lectureship Award

Astronomer Stella Offner Receives Delta Young Astronomer Lectureship Award

Astronomer Stella Offner of The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded the NCU-Delta Young Astronomer Lectureship Award by Taiwan's National Central University and the Delta Electronics Foundation.

New Vaccine Advances Could Help Against More Viral Illnesses

New Vaccine Advances Could Help Against More Viral Illnesses

Ching-Lin Hsieh and Jason McLellan are among the UT Austin scientists who have engineered a protein of the human metapneumovirus for use in vaccines. Credit: Vivian Abagiu

Some of the same researchers at The University of Texas at Austin who created a key to all coronavirus vaccines used in the U.S. have made a similar advance against the human metapneumovirus (hMPV), one of a handful of remaining respiratory viruses for which there is currently no vaccine.

State of the College Address

State of the College Address

On March 3, 2022, Dean David Vanden Bout presented to members of the college community his vision and reflections on core college values and the strategic impact the College of Natural Sciences can make.