Roads: helpful here, harmful there

Roads: helpful here, harmful there

Roads are the first insult to pristine natural areas — and a key to agricultural productivity in places where farming makes sense. Here’s a proposal to decide where roads make sense, and where they make mayhem. More »

Warming: A bad climate for endangered species?

newborn sea turtle on sand

How will rising temperatures affect endangered species? Are there ways to abate the consequences, and are they being tested? Can we even be certain that climate change is the cause of specific declines? More »

Native American Farming

Native American Farming

Synopsis: Native American agriculture was often a sophisticated response to a challenging environment. What were the secrets of permaculture, companion cropping and corn farming? Could these techniques contribute to modern farming? Find the article: Farming: Native American style Courtesy Eveā€¦ More »

Counting bugs in Panama

Counting bugs in Panama

Life is biology is species: But how many species live on Earth? About six million arthropods (insects, spiders and crustaceans), says a new study. More »

After the flood, the menace of mold

After the flood, the menace of mold

After Sandy’s soaking: How dangerous are molds and bacteria that grow in a soggy house? What is the best way to salvage a water-damaged home? Do you need expert help? More »

Himalayan glaciers

Himalayan glaciers

A long debate about these giant ice streams has gyrated wildly. Now, satellite data show a moderate loss of mass for a recent six-year period. For inaccessible glaciers, satellites may be the best thing since the ice axe! More »

Light at night: Mixed blessing!

Light at night: Mixed blessing!

Researchers are finding more links to obesity, cancer, and sleep disturbances. Light blocks the release of melatonin, a hormone involved in the body clock. Wildlife scientists are finding effects on competition, predation and reproduction. Could light pollution from streets, cars and buildings drive animal evolution? More »

Nature reserves: Part of the local environment

Nature reserves: Part of the local environment

Deforestation, fires, mining and agriculture outside a nature reserve can have as much impact as the same activities inside the reserve, says a new study. If a line on a map cannot protect nature, what can? More »

Fixing filthy beaches

Fixing filthy beaches

Most water pollution originates in polluted runoff. After a near-record number of beach closures, could green infrastructure convert stormwater from liability to asset? Rain gardens, rain barrels, infiltration ponds, green roofs, buffer strips all trap sediments and nutrients while reducing the load on sewer systems. Is green infrastructure oversold? More »

Freaky fish flirting

Freaky fish flirting

A chemical from plastics “looks” like estrogen to the body. If it makes female fish more likely to flirt with males of a different species, could endocrine disruptors cause cross-breeding, and a decline in native fish after invaders enter their rivers? More »

Honeybees getting lost?

Honeybees getting lost?

As colony collapse disorder continues to attack honeybee hives, a new study shows that a common insecticide interferes with their return flights. Although the disorder probably has many causes, agricultural chemicals have long been key suspects, and this study adds to the suspicion! More »

Shaking it up: Maverick scientist dies

Shaking it up: Maverick scientist dies

Sometimes, scientists feel the need to leave the lab and warn the public about onrushing hazards. Rowland warned about ozone, but others are warning about warming. Does scientific culture encourage or hinder going public? Does the helpful response to ozone depletion suggest we’ll succeed in confronting global warming? More »

Putting the brakes on fish invasions

Putting the brakes on fish invasions

Ecologists are desperate to forestall a devastating invasion of the Lakes. Should canal be closed to cut off the damaging fish, or is it already too late? More »

Should “wastewater” be wasted?

effluent pumps

Population growth, climate change and development are all focusing attention on water shortages. Theoretically, water can be recycled forever, but can we possibly clean sewage to make it drinkable? Yes, and a number of projects around the country are doing exactly that. Bottoms up! More »

Flying robots

small robotic, red and white plane on surface of water

Compared to regular airplanes, radio-controlled craft are safer, cheaper, and easier to use for observing wildlife and environmental conditions. Where are these robots being used? What are they finding? And as prices continue to fall, what stands in the way of much broader use? More »