Life Sciences

What is this thing called life? Biologists are life's detectives, discovering how life works and what makes animals, plants and microbes "alive." Organisms don't remain the same forever. Without change, life on Earth would stagnate. Species are in a constant dance with their environment. When an environment changes, the species that live within must change too, evolving to better adapt in order to survive. The end result is the diversity of life we see around us.

The complexities of social behavior

What goes into fruit fly courtship? It might seem like an odd question, but understanding its neural underpinnings--and studying the male-female interactions at the milliscale level--could help us better understand the complexities of social behavior.

College highschool aquaponic mentoring partnership

In this video, Tulsa Community College students discuss researching, designing, building and maintaining aquaponic systems where fish and plants are grown symbiotically, and then establishing mentoring partnerships at the high school and junior high level.

Bob the drifter: How do we know where spilled oil will go?

Bob the drifter is an animated representation of the custom-made, GPS-equipped surface drifters used by the Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbon oil in the Environment during the 2012 experiment, Grand LAgrangian Deployment (GLAD).

Wheels: Connected vehicle research

Change is coming quickly to road transportation decision support systems commonly called "connected vehicles." The use of vehicles to collect weather data offers an opportunity to revolutionize the weather enterprise by significantly increasing the density of weather observations near the surface and providing unique datasets for deriving and inferring road condition information.

EXTRA 5: Bat-tastic!

In this special Halloween EXTRA, Jordan and Charlie delve into the Batlab and learn how researchers are using recording from echolocating bat brains to understand how mammals view 3-D space.

Microbial monsters: algae, Vampirococcus and Halloween

Learn how algae can suffocate a pond of all its life; discover the vampire bacterium known as Vampirococcus, who literally sucks the life out its victims; and watch out for those sweet Halloween treats that can leave holes in your teeth!

When Nature Strikes: Tsunamis

The massive wave of a tsunami can start thousands of miles offshore, but travel quickly across the ocean and devastate coastal communities. Anne Trehu and Dan Cox of Oregon State University are studying how tsunamis form and behave in order to prepare people for their potential devastation.

When Nature Strikes: Wildfires

Wildfires can burn thousands of acres, devastate communities, and sometimes even claim lives. Janice Coen at the National Center for Atmospheric Research is studying how weather and fire interact in order to develop a wildfire prediction system to forecast fire behavior.

NSF Science Now: Episode 37

In this week's episode, we examine tunable prosthetics, explore origami engineering and duck-billed dinosaurs, and discover how king crabs are migrating to the warming seas off the Antarctic Peninsula. Check it out!

When Nature Strikes: Space weather

Space weather has the potential to wreak havoc on everything from satellite communications to electric power. Sarah Gibson at the National Center for Atmospheric Research is studying the behavior of the sun to help warn against a serious solar storm should it threaten Earth.

When Nature Strikes: Tornadoes

Tornadoes can form in minutes, making early and accurate warnings crucial to saving lives. Howard Bluestein at the University of Oklahoma and Adam Houston at the University of Nebraska are trying to understand why some storms produce tornadoes and others don't.

When Nature Strikes: Landslides

Landslides occur when material like debris, rock, and soil become dislodged from the earth and slide downward at speeds that can approach 100 miles per hour. David Montgomery at the University of Washington studies past and present landslides to try to understand what causes them.

When Nature Strikes: Flash floods

Flash floods can happen anywhere, but factors such as heavy precipitation, geography and soil conditions can put some areas at greater risk. Russ Schumacher at Colorado State University is studying these factors to make more accurate forecasts.

When Nature Strikes: Hurricanes

Hurricanes are one of nature's most powerful natural hazards. Jenni Evans of Pennsylvania State University and Jeff Donnelly of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are studying how hurricanes form and what factors influence where and when they make landfall in an effort to save lives.

When Nature Strikes: Volcanoes

Volcanoes are one of the most powerful natural hazards on Earth, but supervolcanoes are so large that they have the ability to alter the world's climate. Michael Manga from the University of California, Berkeley, is investigating a supervolcano that erupted hundreds of thousands of years ago, and could do so again.

When Nature Strikes: Earthquakes

John Vidale and his team at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network are monitoring ground motion across Washington State and Oregon to prepare residents for one of the most powerful natural hazards on the planet--a magnitude 9 "megathrust" earthquake.