Asher Elbein

Asher Elbein is a freelance journalist and fiction writer based in Austin.

By Asher Elbein:

jellyfish juli berwald spineless
Books

A New Book on Jellyfish is Filled with Wonder and Climate Change Woes

Berwald pops between scientific conferences and labs, fishes for giant jellyfish off the coast of Japan and dives with a swarm in Israel.

Jellyfish drift. It’s practically their defining feature. Many creatures have hard parts of one kind or another; jellies are 95 percent water, and look it. Their bodies pulse with motion, from the slow contractions of gelatinous bells to the drifting … Read More

Culture, Features, The Issue

Field Notes from Santa Ana

A visit to the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, now under threat from Trump's wall, reveals a harsh landscape teeming with life.

Field Notes from Santa Ana A visit to the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, now under threat from Trump’s wall, reveals a harsh landscape teeming with life. The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is a 3.3-square-mile tract … Read More

Culture

Our Lady of the Underground

Whether you need love or money, safety or security, Santa Muerte is open for business—and business is booming.

Santa Muerte also protects those who work in darkness: cabbies and street kids, prostitutes and petty hustlers, cops and soldiers. Read More

Culture

Turning Tail

There's a war on feral hogs in Texas, and the hogs are winning.

Turning Tail There’s a war on feral hogs in Texas, and the hogs are winning. When night falls on Storm Ranch, a 5,700-acre expanse in Dripping Springs, it falls purple and soft over fields and groves of oak and pecan. … Read More

Culture

The Art of Looking

An afternoon with the king of birding in Texas, Victor Emanuel. His new memoir, "One More Warbler," hits shelves this week.

Across the river from the Austin airport, past forests and muddy banks, four retention ponds stand open beneath the sky. The wind is heavy with the sickly sweet smell of sewage; sludge dredged from the pond bottoms dries for recycling … Read More

Ranch land in DeWitt County, Texas. Illustration for chupacabra story.
Culture

Chasing the Chupacabra

Texas chupacabras have a way of leaving behind bodies — or perhaps, bodies in Texas have a way of becoming chupacabras.

Texas chupacabras have a way of leaving behind bodies — or perhaps, bodies in Texas have a way of becoming chupacabras. Read More

Texas Landscape Project - Big Bend night sky
Books

Mapping Texas’ Fraught Environmental History

A new atlas of Texas ecology reveals how thoroughly humans have woven ourselves into the geography of the state, for good and for ill.

A new atlas of Texas ecology reveals how thoroughly humans have woven ourselves into the geography of the state, for good and for ill. Read More

A dead piñon pine in Boot Canyon in Big Bend National Park.
Environment

Feeling the Burn in Big Bend

An epic drought has scientists racing to predict the future of Big Bend's unique sky islands.

The 2011 drought that wiped out half the piñon pines in Big Bend’s sky island is a warning shot as the Southwest succumbs to climate change. Read More

Culture

Fragile Species

Can bats survive in a human-engineered world?

Can bats survive in a human-engineered world? From the east, a fungal infection is moving cave by cave, leaving obliterated bat populations in its wake. Read More

Articles
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