Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology News

Annual Honors Banquet Recognizes LGBT Advocate, Notable UT Woman

Riechert

At the campus’s annual Honors Banquet last week, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek celebrated faculty, staff, and students for their accomplishments throughout the past academic year. Joseph Miles, an assistant professor of counseling psychology, received the LGBT Advocate Award. Susan Riechert, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, was named this year’s Notable UT Woman.

Study Finds Crocodiles Climb Trees

An American alligator perches on a tree branch in Pearl River Delta, Mississippi. Photo credit: Kristine Gingras with permission.

When most people envision crocodiles, they think of them waddling on the ground or wading in water—not climbing trees. However, a UT study has found that the reptiles can climb trees as far as the crowns. Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is the first to thoroughly study the tree-climbing and -basking behavior.

UT Study Finds Market Forces Influence the Value of Bat-Provided Services

Bats returning to Frio Cave near Conan, Texas, in the early morning. Photo Credit: Amy Russell of Grand Valley State University.

Services provided by Mother Nature, such as pest control from insect-eating bats, are affected by market forces like most anything else in the economy, a UT study finds. Researchers from UT and the University of Arizona, Tucson, studied how forces such as volatile market conditions and technological substitutes affect the value of pest control services provided by Mexican free-tailed bats on cotton production in the United States.

Study Offers Clues to How Plants Evolved to Cope with Cold

Researchers at UT have found new clues to how plants evolved to withstand wintry weather. The study suggests that many plants acquired characteristics that helped them thrive in colder climates—such as dying back to the roots in winter—long before they first encountered freezing.