Austin, Texas, is home to about 170 species of butterflies. It is also the home of the Austin Butterfly Forum, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to butterfly conservation and to enriching people's lives through butterflies. The Austin Butterfly Forum is a club that organizes field trips, conducts butterfly counts, promotes native gardening, performs conservation activities, and meets monthly for an educational presentation. We are a community of butterfly enthusiasts who also enjoy dragonflies & damselflies, bees, beetles, spiders and arthropods in general, and our meeting presentations span this gamut as well. Join Us!

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Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae), photo by V. Bugh

Meetings are held in the Zilker Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX, 78746 at 7:00 PM on the fourth Monday of each month except December.

Oct. 27, 2014, 7 PM meeting: 120 Years of Biological Exploration in Texas Groundwater , presented by Ben Hutchins.

Although biological exploration of Texas groundwater began in the late 1800ís, it wasnít until the 1980ís that the Edwards Aquifer was established as a global biodiversity hotspot for obligate groundwater species (known as stygobionts). Despite this long history of research, species description in the Edwards and other groundwater habitats in Texas is continuing at a rapid rate. More importantly, increasing pressure on groundwater resources has prompted ecological research aimed at understanding relationships between historical biogeography, microbial processes, and ecosystem function. The amazing diversity of groundwater organisms (primarily invertebrates) in the Edwards Aquifer, illustrates a complex history of colonization and long-term persistence of ancient lineages. Recent research has illustrated surprisingly complex food web structure and an intimate relationship between biodiversity and hydrogeology. Despite nearly half a century of acknowledgement, threats to this globally significant ecosystem continue to increase, though recent conservation measures and potential opportunities are encouraging.

Ben Hutchins was born in Kentucky where he received his B.S. in Biology from Western Kentucky University. He received his M.S. in Biology from American University, Washington DC, studying the phylogeography of groundwater invertebrates in the Shenandoah Valley. After volunteering with the Peace Corps in Morocco, he moved to San Marcos, TX, in 2009. He received a PhD in Aquatic Resources from Texas State University in 2013, studying foodweb structure in the phreatic zone of the Edwards Aquifer. Ben has briefly worked as a private consultant on groundwater issues in the Eastern U.S. and is currently employed as an invertebrate biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.


Nov. 24, 2014, 7 PM meeting: Member's Show & Tell

This is always a fun meeting! Club members have 5-10 minutes to show photos or to tell about memorable butterfly (and other insect) encounters from the year. We have a laptop and projector, so just bring your flash drive. The coordinator is Dan Hardy.


Dec. 1, 2014, Holiday Dinner




Membership

All of our normal events are open to the public, but you may want to become a member of the Austin Butterfly Forum to help support us and our events. We also treat members to some extra goodies, such as reduced admission to special programs that have a fee and discounts on purchases made at meetings. Membership is $20 annually per household payable during meetings or by mail to Doris Hill, ABF Treasurer, 1605 Broadmoor, Austin, TX 78723.

For more information, please contact Mike Quinn, ABF president at 512-577-0250 or

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