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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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Photo showing two researchers interviewing locals in the mountains Language and earthquakes: Insights in disaster response
In post-quake Nepal, language provides window into 'invisible damage'
Released  April 28, 2016
Fish swimming by a healthy coral reef in the Line Islands in the central Pacific Ocean. Too much algae -- and too many microbes -- threaten coral reefs
'Microbialization' destroys reef habitats
Released  April 26, 2016
animation showing a salamander strolling Earth's weird and wonderful animal models
Simple creatures reveal fundamental biological insights
Released  April 21, 2016
shepards using a mobile device Computers play a crucial role in preserving the Earth
From bears to birds to herders: NSF-funded researchers develop computing methods to cultivate a sustainable environment, economy and society
Released  April 20, 2016
A four-month-old infant baboon rides on its mother's back in Amboseli, Kenya. Rough childhoods can have ripple effects for wild baboons
Baboons who experience drought, loss of mothers, live shorter lives
Released  April 19, 2016
collage of images showing corals, divers Earth Day: New insights into coral health hidden in reefs' microbiomes
Inner microbial ecosystems keep reef-building corals and other animals 'in the pink'
Released  April 18, 2016
earth day infographic Infographic: Earth Day at NSF
NSF investments help us understand and protect the environment
Released  April 18, 2016
Automated chambers in use a young stand of wheat. New land-use strategies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Improved land-use practices needed as strategies for lowering greenhouse gases
Released  April 7, 2016
animation showing clouds and weather systems moving through Midwest US Fine-tuning forecasts of nighttime storms on the plains
Multi-agency project advances understanding and prediction of extreme storms using simulation and data science
Released  April 4, 2016
researchers test water in a kitchen while the resident is watching Flint water crisis: For young engineers, a lesson on the importance of listening
Students in engineering ethics class helped uncover lead levels in Flint water, learned to listen to community in distress
Released  March 23, 2016
Radar imagery showing areas with storm and hail in Texas Predicting severe hail storms
NSF-supported research at the University of Oklahoma uses supercomputers and simulations to improve storm forecasts
Released  March 22, 2016
California's Eel River On World Water Day, scientists peer into rivers to answer water availability questions
NSF Critical Zone Observatory researchers study California's Eel River for insights into water losses
Released  March 21, 2016
France Cordova and Gabriela Gonzalez at LIGO Celebrating women in science and engineering
NSF Director shares her thoughts on Women's History Month
Released  March 3, 2016
Amazon forest from tree line New insights into the seasonality of Amazon's evergreen forests
Research could improve climate and ecosystem models
Released  February 25, 2016
sandhill cranes flying Scientists track nighttime bird migration using weather radar
Weather radar offers new view of nocturnal bird flight
Released  February 16, 2016
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

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