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Sequencing the Seas
Topic: Biosphere
Scientists have sequenced and compared the genomes of planktonic microbes living throughout the water column in the Pacific Ocean. The pioneering study yielded insight into the specialization of microbial communities at each depth--ranging from 40 to more than 13,000 feet.

Eyes in the Ocean
Topic: Biosphere
Scientists at Oregon State University have successfully cultured in a laboratory a microorganism with a gene for an alternate form of photochemistry an advance that may ultimately help shed light on the ecology of the world's oceans.

Did Earth Have Purple Oceans?
Topic: Biosphere
NASA exobiology researchers confirmed Earth's oceans were once rich in sulfides that would prevent advanced life forms, such as fish and mammals, from thriving. The research was funded in part by NASA's exobiology program.

El Niño and La Niña
Topic: Biosphere
El Niño and La Niña play with the populations of microscopic ocean plants called phytoplankton. That's what scientists have found using NASA satellite data and a computer model.

In Search of Diversity
Topic: Biosphere
At a recent meeting of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, molecular evolutionist Mitch Sogin explained how understanding the diversity of microbial life on Earth could help scientists in the search for life on other worlds.

A Volcanic Dinosaur Debate
Topic: Biosphere
Scientists can recite a long list of the devastating environmental consequences of a large meteorite impact, but they cannot prove these effects have led to the simultaneous loss of life around the globe.

Adapting to Near-Extinctions
Topic: Biosphere
Why were rates of extinction so low for many of the major groups of marine life during one of the greatest ice ages of them all, which occurred from about 330 million to 290 million years ago, late in the Paleozoic Era.

World in a Water Drop
Topic: Biosphere
Ecologists know that when it comes to habitats, size matters, and now a new study finds that contrary to earlier beliefs, that maxim holds true right down to the tiny plants at the bottom of many oceanic and freshwater food chains.

Hyperventilating Grasshoppers
Topic: Biosphere
How the Earth adapted to life has much to do with the generation of a stable oxygen atmosphere. But how life adapted to Earth often hinges on whether oxygen is a poison. New research on insect oxygen use highlights the novel ways that life has shaped the Earth, and vice versa.

Pulling the Trigger on the Great Dying
Topic: Biosphere
A catastrophe 250 million years ago nearly extinguished life on Earth. Did the death blow come from space, or did the Earth turn from hospitable to poisonous on its own accord?

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