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Special event! September 19, Larry Gilbert

The history and role of Brackenridge Field Laboratory at 52 years and counting

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Have you wondered about how and why UT Austin keeps a field lab in the middle of the city? Come on out to this special, one-time event to learn about the history and discoveries made at Brackenridge Field Lab (BFL).

In the 1880’s, leaders of Austin attempted to industrialize with hydroelectric potential of the Colorado River. George Brackenridge provided capital, and land for a dam and a quarry that provided most the dam’s structure. The quarry, abandoned in 1893, and deep silt deposits that followed the dam’s collapse in 1900, were two disturbances that ultimately created a patch of urban nature dedicated as Brackenridge Field Laboratory in 1967. This backdrop explains how BFL, as a keystone resource that fostered UT’s premier graduate program in biology, could be created although never planned for this role by city or university leadership.

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. The talk will be held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Here’s the schedule for this month’s event:

  • 7:00 pm: Snacks, kids activities, and displays of local animals and plants discovered at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available.
  • 7:15 pm-7:45 pm: Guided tour of the field lab (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
  • 8:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!
  • 8:45 pm: Q&A with the speaker.

First time visitor? Please read our pet policy & field station rules here, and find parking info and directions here.

September 12, Megan O’Connell

Bees go grocery shopping

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How to Think, Dance, and Grocery Shop Like a Bee! We humans depend on bees for a lot more than we realize, but the bees need our help! Around the world bees are struggling to survive and now it is up to us to save them. One place to start is to understand which bees live around us (spoiler alert: it’s not just honey bees!), how they think, and what they like to eat. We’ll share all the interesting ways scientists gather this information, what we know so far, and most importantly, what you can do to help!

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. The talk will be held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Here’s the schedule for this month’s event:

  • 7:00 pm: Snacks, kids activities, and displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available.
  • 7:15 pm-7:45 pm: Guided tour of the field lab (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
  • 8:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!
  • 8:45 pm: Q&A with the speaker.

First time visitor? Please read our pet policy & field station rules here, and find parking info and directions here.

More Neighborhood Science!

Science Under the Stars has expanded to include the Austin Public Library! At Neighborhood Science, previous SUTS speakers will present at different library branches around the city a couple times a month.


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Two species of flamingo on a lake in Africa (Torres et al., 2014)

April 9: Chris Torres – Evolution of the flamingo’s smile

Flamingos are some of the most iconic and recognizable animals in the world… but where did they come from and why do they look so funny? After centuries of struggle, biologists are finally beginning to make sense of how the bizarre flamingo lifestyle might have evolved. Come listen to the story of flamingo evolution, as told by one of the guys who helped piece it all together, and learn about how long flamingos have been around, what their relatives are like, and what they looked like before they turned so pink.
  • April 9, 7pm at the Howson Branch Library, 2500 Exposition Blvd, Austin, TX 78703 **This talk will be held outdoors, so bring a chair!

     


 

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Tree frogs do not only live in trees. Photo: D. Correa

May 14: Decio Correa – All about frogs (and toads!)

What is the difference between a frog and a toad? Why do frogs call? Is it true that frogs are disappearing? Are frogs poisonous? What are tadpoles? Get the answers to these and many other frog FAQs while you learn more about one of the most amazing creatures on Earth! You will be guided through the life of frogs (and toads!), from the early larval stages until they metamorphose into jumping animals with all different colors, shapes, sizes, and sounds!
  • May 14, 7pm at the Howson Branch Library, 2500 Exposition Blvd, Austin, TX 78703 **This talk will be held outdoors, so bring a chair!

April 11, Decio Correa

All about frogs (and toads!)

 

 

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What is the difference between a frog and a toad? Why do frogs call? Is it true that frogs are disappearing? Are frogs poisonous? What are tadpoles? Get the answers to these and many other frog FAQs while you learn more about one of the most amazing creatures on Earth! You will be guided through the life of frogs (and toads!), from the early larval stages until they metamorphose into jumping animals with all different colors, shapes, sizes, and sounds!

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. The talk will be held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Here’s the schedule for this month’s event:

  • 7:00 pm: Snacks, kids activities, and displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available.
  • 7:15 pm-7:45 pm: Guided tour of the field lab (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
  • 8:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!
  • 8:45 pm: Q&A with the speaker.

First time visitor? Please read our pet policy & field station rules here, and find parking info and directions here.

Additional Neighborhood Science Talk

 

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Golfo Dulce poison dart frog (Phyllobates vittatus) uses warning colors to advertise its toxicity to predators. Photo: CR Morrison

March 28: Collin Morrison – “Plant and Animal Chemical Interactions” 

If atoms are the alphabet of life, then chemistry is the language that articulates those building blocks and gives them meaning in our lives. Behind every biological interaction—from mating signals to toxicity warnings—chemicals guide and shape possible outcomes.

Biologists study the variation of life using many different lenses. One tool that Colin uses in his research is the study of chemical ecology. Chemical ecology combines the fields of chemistry and biology to understand the causes and consequences of species interactions, distribution, abundance, and diversity. The promise of studying the chemistry of interactions between plants and animals stems from its potential to further our understanding of ecology and allow us to conserve nature in a holistic way. This month, Colin will show that chemistry is not an abstract study confined to research laboratories. Rather, it is a universal way of communicating that is responsible for the quantity and quality of plant and animal life on Earth. Colin Morrison is a PhD student in UT’s Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program. You can read more about his work here: https://www.colinrmorrison.com/

  • March 28, 7pm at the Howson Branch, 2500 Exposition Blvd, Austin, TX 78703. **This talk will be held outdoors, so bring a chair!