Biosphere

    • Putting Earth in Rehab
      How the earth might recover from a mass extinction is as important as what might have caused the catastrophe in the first place. Penn State astrobiologists are looking at species immigration as one way for the Earth to recover its biodiversity.
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    • Dinosaur Variety Couldn’t Save Them
      Mass extinctions and climate change have shaped the direction of evolution, but are variety and diversity enough of a hedge against sudden change.
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    • Counting Nemo
      Among big numbers few can outclass counting all the fish in the sea. A large international census looks to take a census of biodiversity starting with any changes in the Arctic Ocean.
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    • SkyNet Autonomy
      Detecting changes in the biosphere from orbiting satellites can involve tedious sifting through stacks of digital images. Letting a satellite screen the incoming pictures may hold promise for detecting autonomously how the Earth is changing.
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    • Dinosaur Era Ended Instantly
      The latest research findings corroborate evidence that the dinosaurs died almost instantaneously, and not, as some claim, survived the global impact disaster for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years.
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    • Surviving With – and Without – Oxygen
      Without oxygen, animal life on Earth would not be possible. But Earth's atmosphere wasn't always rich in oxygen. In fact, to early life, oxygen was a deadly poison. So where did the oxygen come from? And how did life survive the crisis that its arrival
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    • Biosphere Under the Glass
      In Oracle, Arizona, the Biosphere 2 project became the world's largest closed ecosystem. Project managers have now opened its interior to visitors. Among the diverse land, water and air environments enclosed under glass, most of the planet's major biomes are represented to view.
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    • Life in the Clouds
      The 1997 hurricane Nora swept over Western United States delivered surprising evidence of sea salt and microscopic marine life as far inland as Oklahoma. Research aircraft have discovered plankton in high cirrus clouds, which while helping understand space observations, also suggests microbial transport paths.
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    • Earthly Endgames
      If Earth's place and position have no better observer than an astronomer, then its future has no better forecasters than a paleontologist and astronomer familiar with how we got here. Paleontologist Peter Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee's new book shows how astrobiology will change
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    • Genetic Engineering and Human Intervention: Part III
      Interview (Part III) with Andrew Knoll, Harvard paleobiologist, about the role of human intervention in shaping the global biosphere: "We just need to recognize that we live in a world where local actions sometimes have large reactions.
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    • Biodiversity: Interview with Andrew Knoll Part I
      Harvard's Andrew Knoll, esteemed paleontologist, and Berkeley's Norman Myers, renowned conservation biologist, published a colloquium paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year entitled, "The Biotic Crisis and the Future of Evolution."
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    • Digital Zookeepers Take a Census
      Cataloguing the taxonomy of an entire planet's history, a 'digital zoo' holds great promise for resolving century-old debates about how the Earth got to be such a rich spawning ground for life's diversity.
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    • Biological Diversity: Fact or Artifact?
      It's one of the biggest questions of biology. How did biodiversity change after the 'Cambrian explosion' 540 million years ago?
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    • Evolution’s Slow Recovery
      The biosphere bounces back from mass extinctions with the origin of new species.
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    • The Great Dying
      250 million years ago something unknown wiped out most life on our planet. Now scientists are finding buried clues to the mystery inside tiny capsules of cosmic gas. earthshine.html
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