J. Hayley Gillespie

conservation biologist, educator, natural historian, artist, science writer


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.coma 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.


Ph.D. 2011. Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, University of Texas at Austin.

B.A. 2003. Biology with minors Environmental Studies & Art, Austin College.


You can reach me by email at hayleygillespie@utexas.edu about any of the following services, or if you’d simply just like to get in touch.

  • ecological and conservation research + consulting
  • grant writing, report writing + data analysis in ecological and conservation sciences
  • outreach lectures, workshops and events on a variety of scientific topics
  • freelance science writing on a variety of topics
  • multimedia presentations in the biological sciences (let me help you communicate your work to the world)!
  • custom artwork commissions + installations

Texas Mountain Laurel in bloom on Lady Bird Lake

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.

A Cover of Coots

A "cover" of coots. Image © 2012 by H. Gillespie

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.

More Fishes…the Crappies.

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 (Pomoxis nigromaculatus and Pomoxis annularis). Does this leave anyone else with a strong yet disturbing craving for blueberries?

Fishes of Texas

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!

Austin College Magazine | Fall 2011

I’m really excited to have a ‘Roo Note about my research on the endangered Barton Springs Salamander featured in the Fall 2011 online issue of Austin College Magazine! Click here to read the article, “Caring for Salamanders”.

Salamanders on ARKIVE.org

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!

Click here to read the article, “ARKive on the Road: Ecological Society of America (ESA), Austin, Texas, USA”.