I am a conservation biologist, educator, natural historian, artist, and science writer living in Austin, Texas. I have a variety of interests in the biological sciences + the arts, and have lots of experience with interdisciplinary projects in conservation and public education in the sciences. I study the ecology of endangered and rare species, how to conserve them, and how to restore native habitats. I am founder and writer for biocreativity.wordpress.com, a blog about the arts + biological sciences and I am owner/director of Art.Science.Gallery. LLC, an art gallery and science communication space in Austin, Texas. As an artist I use a variety of media, including ceramics and printmaking, to create works that are often inspired by my activities as a biologist. Feel free to explore both my academic and creative work through this site, and thank you for visiting.
I noticed the first Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) blooming this weekend on a walk around Lady Bird Lake. Look for this gorgeous native shrub and its sweet-scented flowers all around town. This one is near the spiral walkway of the Lamar pedestrian bridge, on the North side of Lady Bird Lake. One of my favorite late winter/early spring blooms!
Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) in bloom on Lady Bird Lake, Austin, TX.
While usually a year-round resident in Texas, the population of American Coot (Fulica americana) on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake for you newcomers to Austin) is really quite impressive this week. Between their amusing common name, clownish honks, comical running-on-water takeoff attempts and determined diving, it’s hard not to love these contrasting little birds. Watch for other migrating waterfowl to join the coot covers as they pass through. The best viewing area is the confluence of Barton Creek with Town Lake at Lou Neff Point.
Back in December, while helping out as a volunteer for the Fishes of Texas project, I was photographing specimens of two different species of Crappies (Pomoxisnigromaculatus and Pomoxis annularis). Does this leave anyone else with a strong yet disturbing craving for blueberries?
I’ve had a lot of fun this fall helping out with the Fishes of Texas project at the Texas Memorial Museum/Texas Natural History Collections the past couple of months. Eventually, every single fish specimen in the collection will be photographed and added to the online database! I’m helping to take some of the photos. I’m also sifting through all of the Central Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum) collections (of which there are 335 collections) to make sure they’re all identified correctly. They can sometimes get confused with Roundnose Minnows (Dionda spp.). Here are a few photos of my adventures so far! Enjoy!
Color-coded collections key for the Fishes of Texas.
Texas Natural History Collection 862. Campostoma anomalum from Gillespie County, Texas.
Using the Hubbs Key, one distinguishing characteristic that separates Campostoma anomalum from Dionda is the presence of this cartilaginous ridge on the lower jaw. You can see it just underneath the pin in this image. It looks kind of like a ‘tongue sticking out’.
Male Stonerollers develop horny tubercles during mating season! It’s wild!
Central Stonrerollers, Campostoma anomalum
Each ID gets confirmed with a Fishes of TX project label.
I had a lot of fun meeting Liana Vitali of ARKive.org at the Ecological Society of America meeting in August 2011. I was really thrilled to be able to help with an ARKive on the Road blog entry about the endangered Barton Springs Salamander!