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December 14, Andrius Dagilis

Ligers and Tigons and Pizzly Bears, Oh My!

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Hybrids between different species are more common than you may believe. Blending two species can create some really amazing animals and plants, but it also has consequences to their evolutionary fitness. Come out to Science Under the Stars this December to learn more about why hybrids are important to both biology and society!

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: Food and displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available.
  • 6:30 pm: Kid’s activities start! Meet with our children’s division for fun activities designed for all ages.
  • 7:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!

May 11, Scott Solomon

Human Evolution in the 21st Century and Beyond

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What is the future of human evolution? Once considered the exclusive domain of science fiction, recent scientific advances now make it possible to combine knowledge of our past with recent trends to make meaningful predictions about our evolutionary future. Evolutionary biologist Scott Solomon draws on the explosion of discoveries in recent years to examine how modernization—including longer lifespans, changing diets, global travel, and widespread use of medicine and contraceptives— is affecting our ongoing evolution. Surprising insights, on topics ranging from the rise of online dating and Cesarean sections to the spread of diseases such as Ebola and Zika, suggest that we are entering a new phase in human evolutionary history—one that makes the future less predictable and more interesting than ever before.

Bio: Scott Solomon is the author of the new book, Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution (Yale University Press, 2016).  He earned his Ph.D. from UT-Austin in 2007 and is now a Professor in the Department of BioSciences at Rice University in Houston, where he lives with his wife and three children.

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.

Note (5/11/17): There will be a talk tonight, rain or shine! If necessary, we will move inside the field station.

Here’s the schedule for this month’s event:

  • 7:15pm – Snacks, natural history displays, and activities designed for kids of all ages will be available!
  • 7:30-7:50pm – Guided tours of BFL may be offered, dependent on weather and light conditions (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
  • 8:00pm-8:45pm – Settle in to hear the talk!

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)!

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)!

Ben Liebeskind

Electrical Life

It has been known for centuries that animal tissues can generate electricity.  This fact has fed some of the more outlandish pseudo-scientific theories, such as animal magnetism.  But every organism on the planet, right down to bacteria, uses electricity in one way or another.  Join UT graduate student Ben Liebeskind as he explores some of the lesser known uses of electricity in strange and wonderful organisms, and talks about how evolution has favored the rise of complex electrical signaling in animal brains.

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