Allison Davis Connelly [EEB] is a sixth-year PhD candidate. She studies animal behavior using a clonal fish. Her research focuses on how these fish change their behavior based on their environment and what this tells us about the evolution and maintenance of sexual reproduction. A New Orleanian at heart, Allison spends her free time cooking all things spicy and longing for the swamps. Allison is now a co-president of SUTS.
Emily Javan (“Ja-von”) [EEB] is a fourth-year PhD candidate. She works to help to combat COVID-19 spread through mathematical modeling and data analysis. Currently, she’s interested in understanding COVID-19 patient hospital use and length of stay in Texas. She wants to help hospitals prepare for epidemics and make sure everyone can get the best care year-round. She was a mathematician in CA before coming to UT and loves roller skating with her friends. Emily is a co-president of SUTS.
Tianyi Xu [EEB] is a first-year PhD student. Her research investigates biodiversity changes in Caribbean reptiles in response to global changes. Tianyi spends most of her free time doing landscape and wildlife photography and she loves traveling and visiting national parks. She is also interested in scientific outreach and education, hoping to help establish the bridge between scientists and the public. Tianyi is the webmaster of SUTS; she creates marketing flyers and posts for talks and manages SUTS’ social media platforms and this website. She also helps with designing activities for the natural history table. Learn more about Tianyi here: http://www.tianyixu.com/
Isaac Miller-Crews [EEB] studies the evolution of social behavior. He researches how neural gene networks regulate reproduction. A native Austinite, Isaac enjoys fishing, hiking, and reading SciFi books. Find more here: https://imillercrews.wordpress.com/
Smruti Pimplikar [EEB] is a third-year PhD student studying how cognition informs behavior in bumblebees, with a focus on their foraging behavior. She is currently training to be a treasurer for SUTS.
Xinyi Yan [EEB] is a third-year PhD candidate interested in integrating theory and empirical work to study how plant-soil microbe interactions shape plant community assembly and coexistence. At SUTS talks, Xinyi helps set up and take down the screen, and sometimes leads BFL tours.
Elena Leander [EEB] is a second-year PhD student. She is interested in understanding how plant-soil interactions can inform ecosystem restoration efforts, especially in the context of climate mitigation. Her field sites include local grasslands, where she is examining the effects of plant invasions and disturbance on plant and soil community composition. Elena is the point of contact for engaging SUTS with organizations and events outside of the monthly seminar.
Colin Morrison [EEB] is a sixth-year PhD candidate studying species interactions and community ecology. Most of his work focuses on insects and the plants they eat. Colin leads the BFL tours and is involved in preparing for the natural history table. Learn more about Colin here: http://www.colinrmorrison.com/
Brandi Christiano [EEB] is a third-year PhD candidate. Her research focuses on the diverse facets of bat foraging behavior, including their dietary preferences and diversity, utilization of social information, and communication strategies. She is interested in how female’s nutritional decisions change as they gestate and nurse their offspring. Brandi is currently a kids’ activity coordinator.
Domnique Gallery (they/them/theirs) [EEB] is a third-year PhD candidate whose research focuses on the evolution of cryptic species in coral reefs. They design and organize kids’ activities at SUTS.
Jennie DeVore [EEB] is a first-year PhD student interested in studying bumblebee construction behavior and concept learning. She currently designs kids’ activities at SUTS.
Savvy Cornett (they/them/theirs) [EEB] is a second-year PhD student. They are interested in reproductive physiology in swordtail fish with a side of intersectional biofeminisms. Savvy helps set up and take down the SUTS equipment, and answer questions at the kids’ activity and natural history tables. (Photo Credit: Anwyn Gatesy-Davis)
David Ledesma [EEB] is a fifth-year PhD candidate. He was born and raised in Richmond, TX. As a kid, he would often explore nature while catching ribbon snakes, earth snakes, anoles, geckos, and other herpetofauna. These experiences, along with his visits to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, instilled in him a fascination for reptiles and amphibians as well as the history of life on earth. In his free time, he likes to play soccer and continue to go out into nature to find critters. David currently helps with the natural history table at SUTS. Find more about him here: https://www.davidtledesma.com/
Ally Boville [EEB] is a first-year PhD student and part of the natural history table team. Her research interests are in mammal paleoecology and morphology and understanding the human drivers behind mammal biodiversity loss in the Caribbean. Originally raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she grew up exploring along the California coastline and enjoys hiking, herping, and birding in her free time. She also has a strong love for visiting and working in museums and hopes to continue to incorporate this in her research and spare time.
Luke Larter [EEB] is a third-year PhD student broadly interested in social behavior and sexual selection. His research focuses on investigating how signaling interactions among males influence female choice in frog and katydid choruses. He is currently serving as an advertising coordinator for SUTS.
Britt White [EEB] is a fifth-year PhD candidate. She uses the genetics and appearances of lizards to study the evolution of within species variation. She is interested in understanding how the climate and environment of the past led to this variation and how it may help predict future survival. As a Native New Mexican, Britt loves green and red chile and searching for Southwestern amphibians and reptiles. She is the creator of all the fun slides before each talk. Find more about her here: https://brittawhite.wordpress.com
Christina Balentine [EEB] is a seventh-year PhD candidate. She studies human anthropological genetics and is interested in learning how humans survive and thrive in extreme environments (like the cold climates of the Arctic and sub-Antarctic) by studying the DNA and culture/archaeology of ancient and present-day peoples. Christina is a former website and Facebook manager, and she is currently in an advisory role for SUTS. Find more about Christina here: https://cmbalentine.wordpress.com
Erik Iverson [EEB] is a fourth-year PhD candidate. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Erik went to school in New Orleans and began to work on ecology and conservation, studying the relationship between birds and their environment in Ecuador and Australia. After graduating, Erik worked on natural resources management for a variety of agencies including the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management, before managing an avian neuroscience lab at Emory University. His work now focuses on understanding how mitochondrial and nuclear genes work together to enable adaptation, and he studies freshwater fish in Mexico and birds in Peru to see how related species have adapted to the challenges of living in different climates. Erik also works locally in conservation, serving as the Vice President of the nonprofit Pines and Prairies Land Trust, which protects approximately 2500 acres of land in Central Texas. At SUTS, Erik helps prepare and set up the talks.
Some of the graduate students that run SUTS (Spring 2016). Photo by Ian Wright.
Julia York [EEB] studies how polar animals sense temperature and how they might respond to climate change. She is originally from Alaska and hopes to work in Antarctica some day.
Kyle Wilhite [EEB] is interested in signal evolution and animal communication. He mostly studies sexual selection in a variety of frog species, focusing on body condition and signal integration across multiple signaling modalities.
Jeff Coleman [EEB] is broadly interested in evolutionary genetics and genomics. He is currently trying to understand the genetic mechanisms that cause brightly colored and chemically defended poison frogs in the group Epipedobates to take up toxins from their diets into their skin. More about Jeff here: http://cannatellalab.org/authors/jeffrey-coleman/.
Caitlin Friesen [EEB] is interested in social behavior, neuroendocrinology, and environmental physiology. Her research examines the effect of the social and physical environment on physiological and behavioral patterns that govern how individuals interact. You can read more about her work here: https://caitlinfriesen.wordpress.com/
Anne Chambers [EEB] studies the evolutionary history of reptiles and amphibians. She is interested in what genetics can tell us about the evolutionary processes that form species. Anne spends her free time hiking in southern Utah. Find more here: http://www.eannechambers.wordpress.com.
Kelly Wallace [EEB] studies cognitive ecology and how behavior influences cognition. She is researching the question “What are the behavioral tendencies of a good learner?” by putting fish through math tests, mazes, and personality tests.
Emily Rees [PB] studies plant ecology & plant-animal coevolution. She loves being outdoors, whether that is doing field research or riding her bicycle around Austin. Emily also spends some of her free-time baking, reading sci-fi, and cuddling her two kitties.
Emma Dietrich [EEB] is interested in social evolution, microbiology, and behavioral ecology. Emma studies the microbiome and natural history of a social spider in Texas. She also loves baking french macarons. Website: http://arachnidlady.wordpress.com/
Rebecca Tarvin [EEB] studies evolutionary biology. She researches how poison frogs avoid poisoning themselves. In general she is interested in how animals adapt to their environments. Website: http://www.rebeccatarvin.com/
Decio Correa [EEB] is interested in ecology and herpetology. He studies the bacteria that live in association with frogs and tadpoles. You can read more about his work here: https://www.deciocorrea.com/
Andrius Dagilis [EEB] researches the evolution of gene order, chromosomes, and speciation.
Nathan LeClear [PB] is interested in botany, systematics, & biogeography. He loves the diversity of plants, and studies the relationships of the genus Jatropha and the evolution of plant diversity in the seasonally dry tropical forests of Mexico.
Nichole Bennett is a graduate student in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
Andria Salas [EEB].
Ashley Green [PB].
Olivia Schmidt [EEB].
Rong Ma [EEB] studies chemical ecology, behavior, genomics, and social evolution. He is fascinated by the complex system of chemical communication in honey bees, especially in the ways that pheromones influence behavior. Rong enjoys rock climbing, archery, and calligraphy.
Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. Events are held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Arrive early for refreshments and fun activities for kids of all ages!
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Welcome to 2023 and we hope you are ready for some fantastic talks this spring! Please mark your calendars for our four splendid speakers presenting cool biology on the second Thursday of every month: Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. Events are held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, […]
Don’t know if you’re aware, but several of the links under “More Science” are dead. The meetup I sponsor Nature Nerds is active and you’re more than welcome to list it if you think it suitable. Best wishes.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention! We have updated the links and added Nature Nerds.