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Spring 2021 Virtual Schedule

It’s that time of the year, mark your calendars! We have four wonderful speakers scheduled for the semester of virtual talks, on the second Thursday of every month:

  • February 11: Emily Javan: COVID update
  • March 11: Thom Marshall: Snakes of Central Texas (part of the 2021 Texas Science Festival!)
  • April 8: Lydia Tressel: Cool plants
  • May 13: Briana Betke: Urban mammals

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. Traditionally, events are held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Due to the pandemic we have gone virtual! See specific event pages for more information.

Note: We will post the precise schedules and links for each event in a separate, event-specific post. Follow this blog, our YouTube channel, or our Facebook page to get event notifications.

March SUTS Canceled

Dear all,

Due to the emerging COVID-19 epidemic, we are sorry to announce that we are canceling this month’s Science Under the Stars lecture which was scheduled for this Thursday, March 12th.

We weighed many factors known about the virus and its transmission in making this decision, and decided that it is not worth the (however small) risk it could pose on the community, especially given that our events often have dozens of attendees across a wide age range. Safety is our number one priority, and so we are doing this out of an abundance of caution.

We are hoping to have our regularly scheduled April SUTS talk, but will reevaluate over the next month as the outbreak progresses. Please stay tuned for those announcements.

Thanks very much for your understanding.


Science Under the Stars organizers

Parking at Brackenridge Field Laboratory

An update on parking at BFL: new signs have been placed in the parking lot that state that parking is only allowed for UT permit-holders. Please disregard these signs; you are allowed to park at BFL for SUTS!

Have a great summer!

Thanks for coming out to our talks this semester, we all had a blast! See you again in September 🙂

November 8, Colin Morrison

Plant and Animal Chemical Interactions

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If atoms are the alphabet of life, then chemistry is the language that articulates those building blocks and gives them meaning in our lives. Behind every biological interaction—from mating signals to toxicity warnings—chemicals guide and shape possible outcomes.

Biologists study the variation of life using many different lenses. One tool that Colin uses in his research is the study of chemical ecology. Chemical ecology combines the fields of chemistry and biology to understand the causes and consequences of species interactions, distribution, abundance, and diversity. The promise of studying the chemistry of interactions between plants and animals stems from its potential to further our understanding of ecology and allow us to conserve nature in a holistic way. This month, Colin will show that chemistry is not an abstract study confined to research laboratories. Rather, it is a universal way of communicating that is responsible for the quantity and quality of plant and animal life on Earth. Colin Morrison is a PhD student in UT’s Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program. You can read more about his work here:

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 and displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available.
  • 6:30 pm: Kids 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!
  • 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.