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October 12, Chi-Chun Andy Fang

A closer look at embryos in the animal kingdom.

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For all animals, life begins as a tiny embryo in a small, enclosed space. However, embryonic development and reproductive patterns vary a lot across the animal kingdom; for example, some animals lay eggs, while others reproduce through live birth. Come to Science Under the Stars this October to learn more about animal development and reproduction, as well as the role of gene regulation in these two processes.

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: Food 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)!
  • 7:30 pm: Kid’s activities start! Meet with our children’s division for fun activities designed for all ages.
  • 8:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!

March 9, Rong Ma

Horns and Thorns: Nature’s Ammunition.

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The natural world is filled with weapons. From horns to boiling acid, pincers to neurotoxins, animals (and plants!) have evolved a multitude of weapons with which to wage war. These weapons come in variety of shapes and sizes, and are used in a multitude of different ways and contexts. Yet, they have evolved for a common purpose: they’re useful for securing food, preventing yourself from being food, and, often, reliable with the ladies. At Science Under the Stars this March, come see some of nature’s most awe-inspiring weaponry and find out why they matter.

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:

  • 6:15pm – Snacks, natural history displays, and activities designed for kids of all ages will be available!
  • 6:30-6:50pm – Guided tours of BFL will be offered, dependent on weather and light conditions (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
  • 7:00pm-7:45pm – Settle in to hear the talk!

Erin Giglio

Epigenetics: Nature and Nurture’s Love Child

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Was Lamarck really right? (And who was Lamarck, anyway?) Why aren’t identical twins always, well, identical? Why does it matter if a mother doesn’t hug her babies enough? Come and find out how the environment influences the genes you’re conceived with!

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. Events start at 8:00pm 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 are available (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!

Becca Tarvin

Poisons, death, and survival in the animal kingdom

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Have you ever wondered why poisonous animals don’t poison themselves? Or what might eat something that seems deadly? Come learn about how animal chemical defenses work, and why they affect some but not all animals. 

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. Events start at 8:00pm 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 are available (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!

Dr. Mark Moffett

Life Among the Ants

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Dr. Mark W. Moffett, research associate at the National Museum of Natural History, author of the book Adventures Among Ants, and protégé of E.O. Wilson, talks about the ways that modern humans are much more like ants than we are like chimpanzees. With our societies of millions, only certain social insects and humans need to deal with issues of roadways and traffic rules, public health and environmental safety, assembly lines and teamwork, market economics and voting, slavery and mass warfare. The talk will be illustrated with a few of the hundreds of images from Mark’s National Geographic Magazine stories, many of subject never seen before. The lecture will transport the audience around the world, to experience the fierce driver ants of the Congo, deadly bulldog ants of Australia, marauder ants of Asia, leafcutter ants of South America, and slavery ants of the USA.

Science Under the Stars is a free, monthly public outreach lecture series founded and organized by graduate students in the Section of Integrative Biology at University of Texas at Austin. Our goals are to host fun, informal science outreach events for Austin citizens of all ages, and give scientists a venue to share their work with the general public.