Earth & Environment

The "third rock from the Sun"—Earth. With an orbit neither too close nor too far from the Sun, it occupies a unique position in the Solar System. It's the only planet known to man with the right conditions for the origin and evolution of life. During Earth's 4.5 billion-year history, a combination of processes has transformed it into a watery blue, living planet. The Earth's ecosystems involve complex interactions between the biological (living) and physical (non-living) worlds. Scientific research helps us comprehend our effects on the environment and how the environment in turn responds to impacts of our activities.

Conserving biodiversity

Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the Central African Biodiversity Alliance is an international partnership of scientists, students and policy makers working to build a framework to conserve biodiversity in Central Africa. The partnership spans three continents, and includes researchers from the U.S., Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Otolith signals

About the size of a diamond and comes from the inner ear of a fish, this tiny construction holds a treasure trove of information--a calcium carbonate microchip made of bone and accessed by a laser. Let's take a look at the science of otoliths.

Arctic spring

Something surprising is happening in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.

How rocks move

Thin sheets of ice push rocks across the desert when conditions are just right

Parasitic plant timelapse

This video shows the relationship between a parasitic plant, dodder, and two host plants, Arabidopsis and tomatoes.

C-DEBI

The mission of C-DEBI is to explore life beneath the seafloor and make transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inspire people of all ages and origins.

Why Science: forestry

In this video, University of Florida professor Tim Martin explains his work in the woods.

Jellyfish swarms and environmental change

Jellyfish swarms in the Gulf of Mexico help researchers identify environmental changes in the water. Dr. Monty Graham at the University of Southern Mississippi studies these massive jellyfish swarms that can stretch for many, many miles.

Unlocking ice sheets' mysteries

A University at Buffalo-led research team reports that prehistoric glaciers reacted rapidly to a brief cold snap, providing a rare glimpse of glaciers' response to past climate change.

Geoscience: Saving lives

A look at some of the exciting scientific and technological advancements being made in Earth and space science to ensure public safety and economic security in the face of natural disasters.