7 October 2022 — 12:00 noon — GAR 4.100 (4th floor of Garrison Hall)

Lawrence E. Gilbert (UT)

“UT’s Brackenridge Field Laboratory — Its History, Role, and Future after 55 Years”

The University of Texas did nothing to earn the ground occupied by BFL, nor was its current use part of any long-term plan. Yet our university finds itself with an asset that anticipates the ever-increasing need of great universities to provide a secure and biologically diverse template for researchers and students to understand rapidly accelerating biological changes on planet earth. How BFL came to be and why it is important to science, education and outreach, is an unlikely tale that intertwines the history of the city of Austin, the original Austin dam, a northerner named George Brackenridge, and the University of Texas.  Without the quarry that made the dam, and without the dam’s collapse, thus smashing Brackenridge’s dream to help develop industry for Austin on his tract of land, BFL would not have happened and would not now be so interesting biologically. This talk highlights some of the research BFL has fostered and explains important synergism between students and research staff and faculty that has been enabled by this unique juxtaposition of laboratory and field so near the campus of a major university.


Lawrence E. Gilbert is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at UT and the Director of the University’s Brackenridge Field Laboratory.