Tag Archive | biodiversity

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: https://www.colinrmorrison.com/

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.

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.

Taylor Sultan Quedensley

Lichenized-fungi of Texas: Biology, Ecology, and Distribution of a Diverse Group of Understudied Organisms

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Lichens are a diverse group of organisms in Texas, occupying many different types of habitats throughout the state. There are over 500 species reported for the state, and the number is undoubtedly greater considering the relatively low amount of collecting that has been conducted. With a diverse flora and fauna well-reported for Texas, lichens also need to be included in the discussion of the state’s high biodiversity levels, and also towards developing conservation strategies for threatened ecosystems.

Sahotra Sarkar

The Balcones Canyonlands

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We will talk about the Hill County and the remarkable animals and plants that make up its biotic community. How well are we preserving this biodiversity? What is its future? What will climate change do to it?