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.

Off-roading: Salt content rises in freshwater lakes

National Science Foundation-funded researchers affiliated with the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network discover an issue with road salt used to melt away snow and ice. Turns out, it's contributing to rising salinity in many North American freshwater lakes.

The glass is greener

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries

Digital eye in the sky

David Johnson, assistant professor of the practice of marine conservation ecology at Duke University, has found that drone technology allows his research team to collect huge volumes of data from remote or extreme locations

Key ingredient for new, sustainable asphalt--pig poop!

With support from the National Science Foundation, civil engineer Ellie Fini and a team at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University have designed a sticky binder made from pig manure that can be used to make asphalt

NSF Science Now: Episode 52

In this week's episode, we discover why freshwater lakes are becoming saltier and the role temperature plays in the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, explore a new device for combatting Parkinson's disease, and finally, learn how to excite girls about STEM

Why is Texas shaking?

The new TexNet Seismic Monitoring Network is helping to locate and determine the origins of earthquakes in Texas

Palau coral reefs have a global impact

Humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Through a process called ocean acidification, about a quarter to a third of this carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, causing a decrease in the pH of ocean water

Confessions of a marine biologist

Mike Gil, a postdoctoral scholar at University of California-Davis, will be one of 20 international fellows who will give talks at TEDGlobal in Arusha, Tanzania, in August

Every last drop

Each year 12 competitively selected undergraduates fly to Australia to work alongside PIRE researchers as they conduct field work to look at engineering, ecological, and social science aspects of Melbourne's green storm water infrastructure

The Terraformer: One-of-a-kind wind tunnel for hazards engineering

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Masters and a team at the University of Florida are developing a world-class facility with new technology to help engineers and scientists better understand the high-wind storms that batter communities along U.S. coastlines

Was this how dinosaurs began flying?

If a Pacific parrotlet needs to get to a nearby branch, it uses its legs to jump. If a target falls just outside of its jump range, however, it can add a "proto-wingbeat," a small flapping motion that allows it to travel farther without using as much energy as full flight.