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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.

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
Hundred).

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