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Neighborhood Science at Twin Oaks Branch Library

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. Below are the dates and descriptions for this fall at the Twin Oaks Branch Library, 1800 S 5th St, Austin, TX 78704. All talks begin at 7pm.


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A Sweat Bee native to Texas covered in pollen. credit: Alejandro Santillana, Insects Unlocked

Thursday, October 3, 7pm: Megan O’Connell – “Bees go grocery shopping” 

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!

 

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Leafcutter ants defending their nest against an army ant. Credit: Alex Wild Photography

Thursday, November 7, 7pmTristan Kubik – “Clash of the Myrmidons” 

The Amazon rainforest is home to two unexpected titans. Leafcutter ants are peaceful, sedentary farmers responsible for processing huge volumes of tropical vegetation. They use their foraging material to cultivate obligate, fungal nurseries that cradle precious brood deep within their subterranean fortresses. Few organisms are courageous or capable enough to threaten mature leafcutter colonies, but the tank army ant is one of them. Tank army ants are nomadic, subterranean ant-killing machines. Their colonies can reach as many as several million and their hunger for leafcutters is insatiable. They flush out and overwhelm kilograms of prey every day with their numbers, mandibles, and venomous stings. And yet, leafcutter nests are not without defenses. Leafcutter colonies rapidly mount impressive responses to the alarming presence of tank army ant scouts including specialized soldiers, construction of barricades, and air-tight linear battlefronts. These two large, complex, derived societies clash in epic battles akin to the wars waged long ago by the Greeks and Romans with heroes just as notable as Hercules and Achilles. Such examples of social conflict are of great interest to systems science and parallels can be drawn to instances of immune systems vs disease, competing economies, and even human warfare. Join me for a night of bravery, sacrifice, and storytelling as I share my passion and knowledge about this riveting rivalry!


 

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Amazon molly (Poecilia formosa), an all-female clonal fish

Thursday, December 5, 7pm: Allison Davis – “How to get a date: story of a clone” 

What do people, peacocks, and Poeciliids have in common? This Valentine’s day, they are all looking for dates! While tasty treats and fancy feathers may work for many animals, clones need some special dating advice. Join us this month to discover how an all-female clonal fish joins the dating scene!

Neighborhood Science Talks

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. Stay tuned for more updates!


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March 28: Emily Rees – “The Science of Superheroes” 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Would you choose super-strength? The ability to leap over tall buildings in a single bound? Invisibility? Mind-control? These ‘superpowers’ that we see in movies and comic books actually occur in a variety of different animals! Come out to Neighborhood Science to learn about the invisible lurker of the ocean, the fastest punch among animals, and the heavy lifters of the animal kingdom.
  • March 28, 7pm at the Twin Oaks Branch, 1800 S 5th St, Austin, TX 78704


 

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A singing mouse trills in the cloud forest, declaring its presence. credit Bret Pasch

April 25: Tracy Burkhard – “As quiet as a mouse? (Not singing mice!)”

“As quiet as a mouse” refers to people who don’t make a peep–but contrary to the popular saying, many mice want to be heard, and some are actually quite loud! Mice–and mammals in general–use all kinds of vocal sounds to communicate with each other in a variety of contexts. How do mammals make vocalizations? What are mice are saying to each other? And can mice really sing? Come to this lecture to find out answers to these questions and more!
  • April 25, 7pm at the Twin Oaks Branch, 1800 S 5th St, Austin, TX 78704

 

Feb 14, Allison Davis

How to get a date: story of a clone

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What do people, peacocks, and Poeciliids have in common? This Valentine’s day, they are all looking for dates! While tasty treats and fancy feathers may work for many animals, clones need some special dating advice. Join us this month to discover how an all-female clonal fish joins the dating scene!

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:

  • 6:00 pm: Snacks, kids activities, and displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available.
  • 6:15 pm-6:45 pm: Guided tour of the field lab (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
  • 7:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!
  • 7:45 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.

Sept 13, Kelly Wallace

Fish are smarter than we think!

 

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Have you ever heard that fish only have a three-second memory? Well that might not be giving fish enough credit. Fish are smarter than we think! They can learn from other fish, solve mazes, and even learn to hit a moving target despite never practicing! Join us for the first Science Under the Stars of the fall semester on September 13 with EEB candidate Kelly Wallace who will talk on some of the cool studies that scientists have conducted to show that fish have some pretty awesome cognitive abilities, as well as go over some of her own PhD work at UT looking at how fish solve problems.

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.

Kelsey Jiang

On Choosing A Home: Lake or Stream?

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How do animals choose their habitat? Threespine stickleback is a small fish common in the Northern Hemisphere. Some of these fish live in lakes and others in adjoining streams in Canada. Come learn how they choose a habitat and why it matters in the evolution of new fish species.

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. Events start at 7:30pm outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Arrive early for refreshments and fun activities for kids of all ages! Guided tours of the field lab start at 7pm (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!