Barton Springs of biology


Austin Graham

AP/IB Biology class posing with their teacher, Doctor Rasmussen

AP and IB Biology has made plans to take a fascinating trip to Barton Springs to study the life there on May 22. They are hoping to observe a rare species that lives exclusively in Barton Springs, the “Barton Springs Salamander.”

“The trip is an extension of our ecology unit,” Biology teacher Dr. Rasmussen said. “We are going to sample biodiversity in the water and then we’re also going to take some transects and collect some data from them to see what the biodiversity is there. Before we go we’re going to have some discussions about how development in Austin effects places like Barton Springs and the Edward’s Aquifer.”

Last year nature took a small toll on the trip. The rain caused issues with the hike, the pool was very cold and kayaking was shut down. This year students on the trip have high hopes.

“Last year it was raining so we went on a hike but it didn’t really work that well because it was all muddy and gross,” Senior Anika Stankov said. “After we were done with the hike we did some transect stuff to see the environment of Barton Springs. This year we’re going to go to where the Salamanders are on their own and  listen to someone just talk about why the Salamanders are there and why they’re important to Barton Springs as a whole.”

Lauren Weber is a senior who is returning on the trip for her second year. She is excited to experience the trip with a new teacher this year so she can get new things out of the trip and hopes there will be differences on the trip this year.

“I’m excited because more of the IB kids are going which is good because more of the people [I] know are going,” Weber said. “Our SL class had around 10 people in it. Now we have at least 15 more coming. I think it’s also not going to be raining so it’s going to be really nice on the hike and I want to go kayaking this year.”

Another part of the trip that has not been set in stone is the possibility to have a UT Biology Professor speak to the students.