Undergraduate Opportunities

Several field stations have a close enough proximity to the UT Austin main campus to provide opportunities for course instructors to bring their classes and for students to do research.

Undergraduate Research

If you are a student interested in using Brackenridge Field Lab or Stengl Lost Pines facilities for a research project, please submit a Student Research Application.

Brackenridge Field Lab Courses

A lower-division Field Biology and upper-division Field Ecology course take place at BFL, and other classes visit. Work from these courses is archived on-site and contributes to long-term records of the site's plant and insect communities.

Field Ecology

Field Ecology is an advanced undergraduate lab course focused on field ecology techniques and independent study. Students enter the course with a background in ecology and statistics and are expected to perform data collection in small groups with minimal supervision. Weekly labs are accompanied by a write-up assignment in which students synthesize information from previous studies and their own observations in the style of a peer-reviewed article. At the beginning of the course, each student is assigned an acre of land to study independently throughout the semester by mapping the landscape and documenting the species they encounter. Reports of student acre observations are kept as records in the lab that provide focused, primary accounts of the natural communities across BFL over time. The course ends with four weeks of independent study, where students use the skills they gained in the course to design and execute their own research project. This course is an excellent preparation for 3rd and 4th-year students planning to study or work in ecology and would not be possible without the resources provided by BFL.

Field Biology

Field Biology is an introductory field lab that combines computer simulations and field exercises to teach the application of field ecology techniques learned in the classroom. Students are also introduced to the process of experimental design by executing and reporting on their own independent research project. This course covers basic aspects of field ecology, including species identification and population dynamics.

Other Courses

BFL has also hosted many other field courses over the last few decades. The following courses and programs have recently used the field stations natural space as a resource for their students:

  • Limnology
  • Entomology
  • Vertebrate Natural History
  • Native Plants
  • Architecture
  • History of the Modern Life Sciences
  • Environmental Science Institute (ESI)

Stengl Lost Pines Courses

Stengl Lost Pines serves as an important resource for undergraduate students interested in ecological research, including for student researchers involved in several streams of the Freshman Research Initiative.  The structured research experiences available at SLP include everything from short-term independent studies to involvement in long-term community studies. Students have performed detailed surveys of the soil, understory, and canopy composition of the property, contributing the maps of the property and informing our management decisions. Students who visit with their field courses can also choose SLP as the site for their own research projects. These projects have considered subjects ranging from the effects of invasive grasses on native grass communities to understanding the nest tree preferences of SLP’s five species of woodpeckers. Undergraduate research at SLP can lead to publications or even inspire long-term projects that will help us understand and preserve the Lost Pines community. 

If you are a student interested in using SLP's facilities for a research project, please see our Student Research Application and User Guidelines.