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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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forest As Massachusetts ecosystems shrink, hard-working "hotspots" emerge
Researchers call hotspots valuable, but say their growing numbers might be cause for concern
Released  May 14, 2015
William Newman Earthquakes expose limits of scientific predictions
But math and science are refining ways to predict, limit impact of disasters
Released  May 7, 2015
dried trees in a forest Trees turned to snags: "Sudden Oak Death" fells California oaks in their prime
Citizen scientists assist with research on infectious plant disease
Released  May 1, 2015
a school of bigeye travellies fish Scientists map sustainability challenges in Baja California Sur fisheries
Conduct review of ecological and social data for 12 regions around Baja
Released  April 28, 2015
kids looking at a device Increasing ecological understanding with virtual worlds and augmented reality
Harvard researchers develop cyberlearning technologies for environmental education
Released  April 24, 2015
aerial view of volcano Yellowstone magma discovery
NSF-funded seismologists at the University of Utah discover magma hidden beneath Yellowstone's supervolcano
Released  April 23, 2015
student working on a tablet in a classroom Classroom as virtual phenomenon
University of Illinois professor uses cyberlearning to bring scientific processes to life
Released  April 17, 2015
Collage of images showing algae in alakes and researcher Earth Day is on the horizon. But is 'greener' always better?
Not when it's the bright green waters of algae-fouled lakes and rivers
Released  April 15, 2015
Maria Carmen Lemos talking to a local man Exploring the human side of climate change adaptation
Maria Carmen Lemos is looking to develop conceptual models that can help policymakers around the world make solid decisions about adapting to climate change
Released  April 2, 2015
Baboon group in Amboseli, Kenya Born during a drought: Bad news for baboons
Findings have implications for human health
Released  April 1, 2015
photo of the aurora in green Springtime night lights: Finding the aurora
Aurorasaurus project allows aurora-viewers around the world to compare sightings
Released  March 31, 2015
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
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