Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.
Watershed health and water quality issues are a growing concern. Researchers examined the sediments traveling downstream toward Lake Winnipeg using a technique called color fingerprinting. The color of a particular sediment is key to identifying the specific origin of the erosion.
Many North American birds may lose part of range under climate change scenarios
Over 50 percent of nearly 600 surveyed bird species may lose more than half of their current geographic range across three climate change scenarios through the end of the century in North America.
Animal without synapses feeds by external digestion using global, local cellular control
A multicellular marine animal without organs, Trichoplax's feeding behavior may include cellular coordination, resulting in external food digestion.
Seal pups listen for long distance calls to locate their mothers
Antarctic fur seal pups identify the mother's vocal pitch at longer distance and use other components of the vocal signature at closer range to identify their mother in densely populated breeding colonies.
Only above-water microbes play a role in cave development
Only the microbes located above the water's surface contribute to the development of hydrogen-sulfide-rich caves, suggests an international team of researchers. Since 2004, researchers have been studying the Frasassi cave system, an actively developing limestone cave system located 1500 feet underground in central Italy.
Seeing the forest and the trees, all three trillion of them
A new international study estimates that there are more than 3 trillion trees on Earth, about seven and a half times more than some previous estimates. But the total number of trees has plummeted by roughly 46 percent since the start of human civilization. The results provide the most comprehensive assessment of tree populations ever produced and offer new insights into a class of organism that helps shape most terrestrial biomes.
Change in environment can lead to rapid evolution
A new study is showing that rapid evolution can occur in response to environmental changes.
Evidence that Earth's first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe
The Earth's first mass extinction event 540 million years ago was caused not by a meteorite impact or volcanic super-eruption but by the rise of early animals that dramatically changed the prehistoric environment.
Making fuel from light
Photosynthesis has given life to the planet. While scientists have been studying and mimicking the natural phenomenon in the laboratory for years, understanding how to replicate the chemical process behind it has largely remained a mystery -- until now.
Exposure to phthalates could be linked to pregnancy loss
A new study of more than 300 women suggests that exposure to certain phthalates -- substances commonly used in food packaging, personal-care and other everyday products -- could be associated with miscarriage, mostly between 5 and 13 weeks of pregnancy.