Biosphere

  • 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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  • 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.
    more...
  • Photosynthesis: Take It or Leave It
    A serendipitous examination of ocean waters last year brought a big surprise for a team of US and Canadian scientists, a surprise that's causing marine ecologists to rethink the details of how ocean ecosystems function.
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  • A Greener Planetary Greenhouse
    In recent years Earth-orbiting satellites have seen plants growing more vigorously than usual over northern parts of our planet.
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  • Guerrero Negro
    Guerrero Negro is a popular destination for ecotourists to gaze at the gray whales, but scientists go to investigate an ecosystem that hold important clues to what life was like on early Earth.
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  • Starved for Nitrogen
    A team of researchers, including a NASA scientist, reports that an early-life nitrogen crisis may have triggered a critical evolutionary leap about 2 billion years ago.
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