Home to one of the largest and most diverse systematics collections in the country with over 9 million specimens and to world-class field stations, the Biodiversity Center provides scientists with opportunities to interact with and learn from millions of preserved specimens, living organisms and ecosystems. Within the Center, you’ll find:
Biodiversity Collections featuring large and diverse groups of organisms from Texas and around the world:
The collections include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, insects, and a variety of arthropods and other invertebrates;
They include an herbarium with more than a million specimens of plants—collected from around the world, including the largest such collection of Texas plants anywhere and specimens dating back to the 1760s.
- Also included are specimens in the genetic resources collection, which houses samples and extracted DNA from specimens elsewhere in the collections.
UT Austin Field Stations featuring rich opportunities for students and scientists at the:
Brackenridge Field Laboratory consists of areas of rich natural vegetation which include a native bluestem prairie, old pasture land, former quarry, Firefly Meadow, Pecan Bottoms, and
Stengl Lost Pines Biological Station has pine oak woodlands and savanna and is located outside of Austin in a classic rural field station setting.
The Brackenridge Field Laboratory is an 82-acre biological research site that is part of an almost 400-acre tract of land originally donated to the university in 1910 by George W. Brackenridge, a former University of Texas regent.
The Brackenridge Field Laboratory property is comprised of areas of rich natural vegetation which include a native bluestem prairie, old pasture land, former quarry, Firefly Meadow, Pecan Bottoms, Colorado River and juniper woodlands. This diversity has produced records of thousands of species including at least 163 species of birds, 20 mammals, 373 species of plants, 68 species of ants, and 1200 species of moths and butterflies, and 200 species of native bees. In the 1980's a mountain lion was even spotted at BFL. Additionally, several species new to science have been discovered here and were named from specimens first collected on the site.
The Stengl “Lost Pines” Biological Station (SLP) at the University of Texas at Austin is hundreds of acres of research and teaching space, akin to having a piece of the “Piney Woods” of east Texas less than 50 miles from Austin. Characterized as Post Oak Savannah, the community is remarkably similar to the Black Oak Savannas of more northern States and southern Canada. Elements of both the Blackland Prairie (the property is only a few miles from the Fayette Plains) and the East Texas Piney Woods, however, increase the potential biodiversity of the site.
The Biodiversity Collections represent large and diverse groups of organisms, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, insects, a variety of arthropods and other invertebrates. The focus of the collections is Texas, but research by UT students and faculty over the decades has assembled important material from Mexico, Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
A recent and significant addition is the Genetic Resources Collection, which houses samples and extracted DNA from specimens in the collections. This resource is crucial to expanding research that merges molecular biology with discovery the natural world.
The collections have a long history with the University of Texas, most having been established in the 1930s in association with the Department of Zoology. Eventually these coalesced into a research and collections unit within the Texas Memorial Museum. As of 2014 they are at home in the new Department of Integrative Biology.
With over 1,000,000 specimens, ours is the largest herbarium in the southwestern United States and ranks fifth among U.S. university herbaria and twelfth across the nation. About a quarter of its specimens are from Texas and our collection has the largest holdings of Texas plants in the world. Nearly one half of the specimens at TEX-LL are from Latin America, with an especially strong representation of Mexico and northern Central America. Presently the number of vascular plant collections inserted in the herbarium is growing at an approximate rate of 16,400 specimens per year.
The Plant Resources Center now houses a total of over one million specimens of vascular plants. The vascular plant collection at UT contains many unique collections that are represented only in TEX-LL, or in very few other herbaria. Complete or nearly complete sets include the collections of C. L. and Amelia Lundell, M. C. Johnston, J. Henrickson, R. Runyon, E. Contreras, D. Gentle, E. Matuda, and B. L. Turner. The PRC also has significant holdings of D. S. Correll, S. F. Blake, G. B. Hinton et al., H. N. Moldenke, C. H. Muller, W. A. Silvius, and I. M. Johnston as well as incomplete sets of C. G. Pringle and R. McVaugh.