Biosphere

  • Latitudes and Attitudes of Microbes
    New studies show that temperature, not productivity, drives bacterial diversity. The finding is changing our understanding about the conditions that affect how organisms inhabit specific environments.
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  • Life’s Power Source
    Scientists have discovered marine organisms that perform photosynthesis in a way not previously thought possible. The finding may change the way in which we view photosynthesis' role in supporting life on Earth and maintaining the planet's global climate.
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  • Oxygen’s One-Two Punch
    At two distinct points in history, increases in oxygen and oxidation of deep oceans may have impacted the spread of complex organisms. The two events - occurring 635 and 551 million years ago - highlight the connection between the environment of Earth and the evolution
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  • Bacteria Take Earth’s Temperature
    By reconstructing proteins from ancient organisms, scientists have discovered that the Earth underwent a massive period of cooling between 3.5 billion and 500 million years ago. The finding highlights how the evolution of life on Earth is intricately linked to the planet's climate.
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  • Weird Water
    Liquid water is essential for life as we know it, and the water molecule has many characteristics that scientists have long thought were unique. Now, scientists are studying a new hypothetical 'model molecule' that behaves much like water in computer simulations.
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  • Bouncing Back from the Brink
    New research shows that it took at least 30 million years for ecological systems on Earth to fully recover after the most devastating extinction event in the planet's history.
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  • Under a Green Sky
    In Peter Ward´s newest book, "Under a Green Sky," he explains how global warming has led to the loss of life throughout Earth´s history. In this interview, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talks with Ward about the many ways the Earth tries to kill us.
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  • Extinction Theory Falls From Favor
    A new study casts doubt on the theory that an asteroid or meteor impact caused the greatest mass extinction in Earth's history. The research shows that environmental stress due to global warming and volcanic eruptions may have been the culprit.
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  • Breathing Oxygen Earlier
    Astrobiologists have found evidence of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere far earlier than previously known. Their discovery provides insight into one of the most important events in the evolutionary history of life.
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  • When Clams Ruled the World
    A new theory about how ancient life on Earth responded to elevated CO2 levels may change the way scientists view one of the largest mass extinctions in history. The theory could also yield clues about the future of present day life on our planet in
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  • When Carbon Caused Extinction
    Researchers are studying a 250-million-year-old extinction event in order to learn more about the carbon cycle on Earth today. Their findings may help scientists understand the future of Earth´s climate and, ultimately, life on our planet.
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  • Our Earliest Animal Ancestors
    How has life changed Earth? How has Earth changed life? And why did animal life appear on Earth some time around 600 million years ago – and not at another time? A new NASA Astrobiology Institute group will tackle big questions about the origin of
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  • Biosphere 2 Bounces Back
    A new initiative to provide researchers with access to the Biosphere 2 facility is set to help scientists tackle challenges facing science and society, including global climate change, the fate of water and how energy travels through Earth's ecosystems.
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  • Mammals Took Their Time
    A new study challenges the classic idea that the mass extinction of the dinosaurs played a major role in the diversification of mammals. The study may shed new light on the connections between Earth's climate and the evolution of life.
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  • Satellites and Sea Lions
    Tagging some of the oceans most experienced natural seafarers has allowed scientists to amass a vast amount of oceanographic data. Now, this rich store of information is being used in ocean models that provide new insights into the inner workings of the ocean.
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