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Earth & Environment Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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White ibises flock Feeding birds in your local park? If they're white ibises in Florida, think twice
White ibises may transmit diseases like salmonellosis
Released  February 3, 2016
A bat-eared fox tries to open a puzzle box during an experiment to test intelligence. Do bigger brains make smarter carnivores?
Scientists confirm that species with larger brain size are more intelligent
Released  January 28, 2016
Researchers with equipment on mountain at NSF's Niwot Ridge LTER site. Colorado high peaks losing glaciers as climate warms
Ice disappears faster in drought years
Released  January 12, 2016
hands holding a pot with natural clay Scientists discover how blue and green clays kill bacteria
May be new answer to MRSA, other 'superbug' infections
Released  January 8, 2016
illustration showing plants and animals under snow Peering into the secret world of life beneath winter snows
Snow sustains species from frogs to birds to mammals in winter and beyond
Released  January 5, 2016
artist depiction of a dinosaur head Video: Triceratops gets a new cousin!
NSF-funded researchers discover a second oldest-known horned dinosaur species
Released  December 9, 2015
A black surfperch swimming in the vicinity of Santa Cruz Island. A fine kettle of fish?
Long-term data help determine fluctuations in fish populations
Released  November 30, 2015
researcher setting a rat trap Where do rats move in after disasters? This team finds out
Post-Hurricane Katrina research aims to provide communities better data on rodent populations, dangers
Released  November 5, 2015
ship through ice Video: Bringing mathematics to sea ice research
NSF-funded Ken Golden plays key role in better understanding sea ice changes
Released  November 4, 2015
Salt marshes in Hatches Harbor, Mass. Grass-planting change boosts coastal wetland restoration success
Marsh grasses should be spaced close together, not far apart
Released  November 3, 2015
hoatzin bird in a tree How much did indigenous peoples alter the Amazon forest?
Effects were likely only along major waterways
Released  October 28, 2015
person sitting next to a lake formed in a flooded sinkhole Ancient fossils show effect of humans on Caribbean wildlife
Fossils found in flooded cave tell new story about nature-human interactions
Released  October 20, 2015
dead trees in a forest Morticulture: Forests of the living dead
Scientists unearth importance of dead wood to forest ecosystems
Released  October 19, 2015
A siphonophore glides through the sea. Clues to future of undersea exploration may reside inside a jellyfish-like creature
Siphonophore holds secrets of oceanic "jet propulsion"
Released  October 7, 2015
burnt trees in a forest Future wildfires may burn large parts of landscapes
Scientists look back at fire history to see into the future
Released  October 6, 2015
man and child look at a rain gauge in a driveway Be a (citizen) scientist!
A celebration of open science and innovation
Released  September 30, 2015
Researcher Robin Murphy  next to damaged buildings Robots to the rescue
Five lessons from Hurricane Katrina (and 22 subsequent emergency robot deployments)
Released  September 17, 2015
Brian Nosek and reporter Video: The basics of reproducibility
The president of the Center for Open Science discusses his work
Released  September 1, 2015
Fog over the estuary of the Klamath River along the Pacific Coast. Mercury-laden fog swirls over coastal California, scientists find
Ultimately makes its way into ecosystems along shore
Released  August 26, 2015
chart comparing SCEC simulations to observations from the 2008 Chino Hills earthquake. Los Angeles basin jiggles like big bowl of jelly in cutting-edge simulations
Computing power helps the Southern California Earthquake Center gain new insights about earthquakes
Released  August 20, 2015
Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Expedition to the Aleutian Islands: Geoscientists head to remote Alaska volcanoes
Teams study mountain chain in most volcanically active U.S. state
Released  August 5, 2015
animation showing Motyxia bistipita emitting a blue green light. Shedding light on millipede evolution
A Virginia Tech entomologist discusses millipedes that light up, and some really bright ideas inspired by bioluminescence
Released  July 31, 2015
Warthogs walking next to people in a village Wildlife species provide clues to spread of antibiotic resistance in Africa
Scientists uncover ways exposure increases, and resistance moves among humans, other animals, ecosystems
Released  July 29, 2015
a basket of blackberries It's blackberry season! Summer fruits depend on pollinators. But where have all the bees gone?
Scientist offers insights into national, global pollinator declines
Released  July 27, 2015
a shark in the water The truth about sharks
With shark attacks, or bites, in the news, what's the story behind the story?
Released  July 27, 2015
truck in front of a cloudy sky at night 10 things to know about thunderstorms that strike at night
For the latest information, NSF talks with three atmospheric scientists
Released  July 22, 2015
Scientist in lake collecting sediment samples in Maine Methane-eating microorganisms help regulate emissions from wetlands
Without this process, methane emissions from freshwater wetlands could be 30 to 50 percent higher
Released  June 30, 2015
UK National Physical Laboratory cesium fountain clock Precious time
The challenge of building a better atomic clock and why it matters
Released  June 24, 2015
graphic representation shows how three active sources cloak an incoming circular wave Hidden from view
Mathematicians formulate equations, bend light and figure out how to hide things
Released  June 19, 2015
ytterbium atoms On the road to ubiquity
NSF support of laser research
Released  June 18, 2015

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