programs

Ongoing Research

Black-spotted Newt

The black-spotted newt lives along the coastal plain of Texas from the San Antonio River to the Rio Grande. The historical range of the species extends for several hundred more miles along the Gulf Coast into Mexico.

Desert Grassland Habitat Assessment

Spot-tailed earless lizards are among the diverse species of West and South Texas grasslands. New insights into the quality and quantity of their habitat, including how both have changed over time, will inform their long-term conservation.

East Texas Initiative

Home to the Texas’ tallest trees, largest reservoirs and unmatched biodiversity, opportunities for research-based conservation actions in East Texas are enormous.

Alligator Snapping Turtle Distribution

The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America. Until the mid-20th century, alligator snapping turtles were commercially collected and populations were in decline in river basins across the southeast.

Alligator Snapping Turtle Repatriation and Movement

Tracking the movement and habitat use of repatriated alligator snapping turtles to better understand the needs of the species and improve conservation efforts.

Freshwater Mussels - East Texas

Louisiana pigtoe, Texas heelsplitter

Although they were described in the 19th century, the Louisiana pigtoe and Texas heelsplitter mussels received little attention from biologists until the 21st century. This range-wide survey effort and genetic analysis aims to give stakeholders baseline data to inform voluntary conservation measures and long-term monitoring efforts to better protect and understand these filter feeders.

Western Chicken Turtle

The western chicken turtle is an elusive freshwater turtle historically found in ephemeral wetlands in states west of the Mississippi River, including Louisiana, Oklahoma and extending to the Guadalupe River in Texas.

Edwards and Trinity Aquifers eDNA

Environmental DNA will help us better understand the ecosystem of the Edwards and Trinity aquifers, which endangered species and every city from Del Rio to Salado depend on.

Matagorda Bay Ecosystem Assessment

Spanning over 400 square miles of the Central Texas coast, Matagorda Bay serves as a rich resource for numerous industries including commercial and recreational fishing, commercial oystering, farming and agriculture, and tourism.

Plains Spotted Skunk

The historic range of the plains spotted skunk covers most of the central plains in the United States from Texas to Wyoming. The Katy Prairie northwest of Houston is home to one of the last known populations in Texas.

Rio Grande Cooter

Although the historic range of the Rio Grande cooter covers thousands of square miles in the United States and Mexico, it is one of the least studied turtles in North America.

Spot-tailed Earless Lizard Detection

The spot-tailed earless lizard is notable for a row of black spots on the underside of its tail, for a lack of external ear openings and for confusing generations of Texas herpetologists.

Texas Kangaroo Rat

According to biologists, over the last 100 years, the Texas kangaroo rat range has decreased from 13 counties (11 counties in North Texas and two in Southern Oklahoma) to only five counties in Texas.