It’s one of the biggest mysteries in this global experiment we’re conducting by pouring 10 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year: What’ll happen to the plants? Will the relentless burning of fossil fuels prompt our leafy green friends to suck down more CO2, tapping the brakes on climate change? Or are…
For decades, scientists have struggled to understand the strange circles of barren land that litter the Namib Desert. Called “Fairy Circles,” their formation has been attributed to everything from supernatural forces to poison gas and subterranean insects. Now, scientists may have finally solved this enduring mystery.
A newly-discovered peatland in the Congo Basin of central Africa contains an estimated 30.6 billion tons of carbon in its waterlogged soils—equivalent to three times the total annual carbon emissions of every human being alive today.
Scientists are embarking on the noblest of data-gathering missions, delivering us laypeople the animal information we all sorely wanted but were too timid to ask about.
Animals will go to great lengths to find a mate, but there’s a species of salamander that’s willing to traverse extreme distances over treacherous terrain to find that special amphibian someone.
In case you thought we’d figured out life in the oceans even a little bit, a new study published in Nature Communications sets the record straight. For the first time, scientists have found experimental evidence of underwater pollination. There are bees in the sea—or at least creatures that perform the same kind of…
As Charles Darwin showed nearly 150 years ago, species can adapt to changing environmental conditions through the trial-and-error process of natural selection. A discouraging new study shows that climate change is happening too fast for evolution to keep up, placing countless plant and animal species at risk.
This microscopic diplonemid doesn’t look like much, but it’s one of the most abundant single-celled hunters in the ocean. Researchers from the University of British Columbia have become the first to identify and photograph this surprisingly elusive—but ecologically important—sea creature.
California drought update: It’s still bad. How bad? According to the U.S. Forest Service, 102 million goddamn trees have now died in the state since 2010, including 62 million trees in this year alone.
It isn’t enough to halt global warming, but carbon-hungry plants are helping impede the buildup of CO2 in our atmosphere to a measurable degree, a new study has found. While this is a good thing and you should go thank a tree right now, the effect is probably temporary, speaking to how damn complicated our planet’s…
The eastern lowland gorilla—the largest member of the great ape family—is now officially listed as a critically endangered species, according to data presented today by conservationists. These iconic apes have been in steady decline since the 1990s, the indirect result of our insatiable desire for mobile phones and…
We tend to think of coral reefs as luminous, undersea jungles that pepper the shallow, scuba-friendly tropics. But deeper down, in a region about as bright as Pluto on a sunny day, there lie vast reef ecosystems unknown to science.
New research shows that as many as 700,000 microscopic fibers are released into the environment each time we do the laundry. It’s a problem with no easy solution in sight.
Most of us, when we picture life beneath the sea, tend to focus our imaginations on the sights—shimmering schools of fish, predatory sharks, luminous reefs. We seem far less concerned with what it sounds like beneath the waves—which is why you may be surprised to learn that marine life has a lot to say.
If you’re like me, your brain is so riddled with cat virus that you never want to hear anything negative about our whiskered overlords. But sometimes, the truth is so dark it simply begs to be thrust into the light. This is one of those times.
As Arctic sea ice flirts with its lowest levels in recorded history, polar scientists are taking the opportunity to remind us that it isn’t just humans who are screwed because of melting ice caps. Remember polar bears, global warming’s first darling poster child? They’re still around, and they’re not happy with what…
Each year, around 6,000 birds are incinerated after chasing bugs within the Ivanpah concentrated solar thermal plant in the California Mojave Desert. Officials at the facility are enacting all sorts of measures to prevent this ongoing avian massacre—but it’s not clear if anything’s working.
It’s a scorching midsummer day, and the sawgrass is still under a pale blue sky. Waist-deep in water and sinking slowly into the muck, I fend off mosquitos as a man from South Florida’s Water Management District mixes a bag of salt into a hot tub-sized bucket on the side of the road. Thirty feet away in the marsh,…
Common goldfish dumped from household aquariums into rivers in Western Australia are growing into four pound monsters and endangering native species.