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Dr. Mark Moffett

Life Among the Ants


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.

Victoria Huang

Sex in the Animal Kingdom

This Valentine’s Day, learn about how other animals find their mates.

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You may know about the birds and the bees, but do you know about the
snails and the sea horses? Courtship and mating behaviors are as
diverse as  the species in our world. Learn about how the environment
influences an animal’s reproduction, and how it finds The One (or One

Victoria is a graduate student in the Section of Integrative Biology
at the University of Texas at Austin.

Genevieve Smith

Conflict Avoidance:

How NOT Competing Can Be The Ticket to Success.

With over 8 million species and counting on the planet, fighting for survival can be a challenge. But often, being able to avoid competition is as important as facing up to it. Finding new ways to make a living, new places to colonize, and new things to eat allows species to coexist in our crowded world and results in the astonishing variety of life that surrounds us.

Genevieve studies avoidance of competition in amphipods – tiny crustaceans that live in lakes and ponds.

Chad Smith

Race To Egg: How Sperm Competition Drives the Evolution of the Sexes.

Why do males produce so many sperm? While Charles Darwin is famous for explaining how male competition for females could lead to the evolution of male ornaments and weapons, he did not foresee that competition could continue after mating is over. In this talk we’ll explore how competition between sperm from more than one male for the fertilization of the eggs can have widespread effects on male behavior, anatomy, and of course the characteristics of the sperm itself. In addition, we now recognize females can play an important role in determining the outcome of sperm competition, and as a consequence we’ll talk about female role in this process.


Click here to download the poster from Chad’s SUTS Event!

Barrett Klein

SLEEP and the Plight of a Weary Honey Bee

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Sleep is something we can all relate to, but are hard pressed to define. We spend a third of our lives asleep and we have little understanding why. Why do you sleep? Is it for the same reason an insect sleeps? Join me for a foray into the realm of dreams, of different electrophysiological states, and of sleeping insect societies. (some of my work with honey bee and paper wasp sleep: