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The Dead Do Tell Tales
Topic: Biosphere
01/19/11
Summary: A new study shows how the fossil record can greatly aid in interpreting modern biodiversity and ecological trends. The data could be useful for astrobiologists studying how climate and ecosystem change could affect the future of life on Earth.

Ocean Bacteria Recycles Iron
Topic: Biosphere
01/16/11
Summary: Scientists have discovered a unique method by which a marine bacterium recycles iron and uses the essential nutrient to perform completely different cellular functions. This metabolic trick has major implications for the Earth's biosphere because the bacterium's survival is vital for the ocean food web.

Tracking the Rise of Oxygen and Animals
Topic: Biosphere
10/12/10
Summary: Scientists are getting closer to unlocking the secrets of oxygenation of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere. Evolution of the Earth's biosphere is linked to the rise of oxygen, and new research shows that organisms like vascular plants may have appeared and evolved under lower oxygen conditions than previously thought.

Oxygen Fuels the Fires of Time
Topic: Biosphere
08/03/10
Summary: Variations in the Earth's atmospheric oxygen levels are thought to be closely linked to the evolution of life, with strong feedbacks between uni- and multicellular life and oxygen. A new study has shown that coal can give a measure of how much oxygen there was in the past.

Sucking the Ocean Through a Straw
Topic: Biosphere
07/10/10
Summary: Scientists with NASA's ICESCAPE mission are currently exploring the Arctic's Chukchi Sea, studying the physics, chemistry and biology of the ocean and ice. Studying environments such as this can help astrobiologists better understand the effects of climate change and the role they will play in the future habitability of Earth.

Linking Phosphorus to Complex Life and Blue Skies
Topic: Biosphere
05/11/10
Summary: The evolution of complex life may have gotten a jump start when large quantities of phosphorus washed into the oceans billions of years ago. This could have led to algal blooms that pumped extra oxygen into the environment, bringing blue skies for life on Earth.

Sparkle of the Sea
Topic: Biosphere
03/22/10
Summary: The oceans are a vital resource for human society - and for the biosphere of Earth as a whole. However, climate change is have some dramatic effects on our oceans and seas. Increases in events like algal blooms are now being tied to global warming.

Animals in a Snowball
Topic: Biosphere
03/09/10
Summary: Geologists have found new evidence to support the 'snowball Earth' thoery, where sea ice extended all the way to the equator. Such an icy environment may have had a profound effect on the evolution of life on our planet.

Comparing Catastrophes
Topic: Biosphere
02/06/10
Summary: Researchers are learning about one of the biggest species extinctions on Earth by studying an environmental disaster that occurred in Spain 11 years ago. The study could provide practical information about how the biosphere responds to abrupt ecological changes.

Life's Ancient Island in the Ice
Topic: Biosphere
10/29/09
Summary: During the last ice age, massive glaciers covered much of our planet. However, a region of Alaska, Siberia and the Canadian Yukon remained ice-free. This region, known as Beringia, supported unique organisms and was an important haven for evolution. Now, scientists may have uncovered how Beringia supported such diversity at a time when conditions for life were harsh.

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