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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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group of greater mouse-eared bats hanging upside down Hibernation season over, will disease-ridden bats emerge from caves and mines this spring?   
White Nose Syndrome now infects bats in several northeastern U.S. states
Released  March 25, 2015    
forest Shrinking habitats have adverse effects on world ecosystems--and ultimately people   
Extensive study of global habitat fragmentation points to major trouble ahead
Released  March 23, 2015    
Geologist Jeff Johnson working in the inner crater of Villarrica, an active volcano in Chile. Listen to the pulse of an erupting volcano: Chile's Villarrica   
Scientists use infrasound instruments to record volcano's "circulation"
Released  March 13, 2015    
Nadkarni explains tree biology to medium security inmates at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center. Canopy researcher goes out on a (tree) limb to promote public understanding of science   
"Treetop Barbie" is among the bold, inventive tools developed by researcher to reach varied audiences
Released  March 12, 2015    
student and teacher working at a computer The Beauty and Joy of Computing in the Big Apple   
NSF helps bring successful CS education program from UC Berkeley to New York City public schools
Released  March 11, 2015    
two images of a snowflake Road safety through snowflake imaging   
Technology that delivers incredible mid-air snowflake images may now help improve road safety
Released  March 2, 2015    
DOW scientists Karen Kosiba and Traeger Meyer with radar truck Mission impossible? New England's snowstorm 'bomb' from inside a Doppler-on-Wheels   
Trapped in gale-force winds for 24 hours, scientists got the data
Released  February 11, 2015    
Video of the ignition of pine needles by contact with a hot steel particle Engineering the spark that starts the wildfire   
Understanding how hot metal shards cast off by infrastructure ignite wildfires
Released  February 10, 2015    
coral reef and fish near Philippines Good news and bad news for coral reefs   
There's good news related to marine protected areas, but bad news related to loss of coral cover
Released  February 9, 2015    
example of the experimental Potential Storm Surge Inundation Map showing the Texas Gulf coast Communicating a hurricane's real risks   
NSF- and NOAA-sponsored studies help improve the quality of emergency communications
Released  February 6, 2015    
Photo of Bob Bea After the lecture: Bob Bea and a lifetime spent outwitting disaster   
Nearly 10 years post-Katrina, the engineer who co-led a team that investigated the New Orleans levee system reflects on what it takes to have resilient and sustainable infrastructure -- and the next generation of engineers
Released  February 4, 2015    
houses in the Los Rios region of south-central Chile. Field fever, harvest fever, rat catcher's yellows: Leptospirosis by any name is a serious disease   
Infection is more prevalent in lower-income tropical areas
Released  February 3, 2015    
Wind turbine on snow Floating wind turbines bring electricity where it's needed   
Altaeros Energies' research into advanced materials enables new heights for wind energy
Released  February 3, 2015    
cover of Frontiers in ecology journal Drylands: Desolate, scorched, uninhabitable? Scientists say otherwise   
Complex ecosystem is patchwork of grasses, shrubs, agricultural fields, urban-dwelling species, including humans
Released  February 2, 2015    
citizen scientist with rain gauge in Rocky Mountains Crowdsourcing yields a more accurate picture of rainfall and snowfall   
Citizen scientists involved with the CoCoRaHS project advance their knowledge of atmospheric science while reporting precipitation data that is used by the National Weather Service and other agencies
Released  January 15, 2015    
undergraduate student acqu with a gravitometer in a port Geomagnetic reversal: Understanding ancient flips and flops in Earth's polarity   
Researcher boards R/V Sikuliaq to gather data about Earth's geomagnetic history
Released  December 19, 2014    
NYU's Bart Kahr After the Lecture...   
NSF-funded crystallographer Bart Kahr on the beauty, magic and science of crystals
Released  December 18, 2014    
health worker with biohazard gear on Ebola, Dengue fever, Lyme disease: The growing economic cost of infectious diseases   
Five new such diseases expected each year; strategies to reduce climate change adaptable to infectious diseases
Released  December 16, 2014    
image of numerically simulated three-dimensional and isotropic fluid turbulence. SciServer: Big Data infrastructure for science   
Research team from Johns Hopkins extends tools from Sloan Digital Sky Survey to new scientific communities
Released  December 4, 2014    
Starfish with sea star wasting disease Virus fingered as top suspect in West Coast sea star wasting disease   
Deadly culprit identified as type of parvovirus
Released  November 17, 2014    
cherry-sized fruits of a tree species in Thailand Fruits of the forest gone: Overhunting of large animals has catastrophic effects on trees   
As the animals go, so go tropical forests
Released  November 12, 2014    
The endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog sitting on a rock "Microbiome" of Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs shifts during infectious disease outbreaks   
Interaction between microbiome and infectious pathogens may drive disease
Released  November 12, 2014    
globe map showing models of orbiting satellites in the thermosphere Confronting models with observations   
Team at National Center for Atmospheric Research develops data assimilation tools used throughout science
Released  November 7, 2014    
cropping patterns over north Texas Selling and buying water rights   
NSF Innovation Corps awardees founded the company Mammoth Trading to provide a neutral, centralized resource
Released  October 29, 2014    
health workers in biohazard gear Halting the spread of Ebola: Nigeria a model for quick action, scientists find   
Rapid control measures critical to stopping the virus in its tracks
Released  October 16, 2014    
sunflowers in a farm field next to houses Ten things to know about the flowers of fall: Sunflowers   
Scientists unfurl common flowers' genetic secrets
Released  October 14, 2014    
dunes and desert vegetation Sleeping sands of the Kalahari awaken after more than 10,000 years   
Overgrazing leaves desert's red dunes blowing in the African wind
Released  October 8, 2014    
Crops growing in an Egyptian oasis, with the Pyramids of Giza in the background. Geospatial data project puts major issues on the map   
Powerful Web-based system let users worldwide predict damaging floods and potential effects of climate change
Released  October 8, 2014    
photo of tropical forest Expensive cup o'joe? Blame coffee farm rust fungus   
To find answers, scientists study ecological complexity of Mexican, Central American coffee plantations
Released  September 29, 2014    
Blue mussel larvae settled on a rope. How to grow mussels   
Researchers optimize growing conditions and practices to improve mussel farming
Released  September 25, 2014    
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