Skip to content
Origin and evolution of life
Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Outer solar system
Moon to Mars
Robotics & A.I
Image of the Day
Central Olympic mountain peaks. Credit: National Park Service.
Montage of life’s diversity. Image Credit: University of Michigan.
Carol Cleland, professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
Cover of Charles Cockell’s book, “Space on Earth.”
Charles Cockell and Vladimir install dosimeters under gravel rocks, Devon Island, Canada, July 2001. Photo credit: ESA.
Termite mound. Termites thermoregulate their mounds, ensuring the sustainability of their environment.
“Scientists Debate Gaia,” a collection of essays published by MIT press.
Gaia’s Daisyworld concept. An imaginary world completely covered with the seeds of two types of flowers, white and black. The black flowers are better at absorbing light from the sun; the white flowers are better at reflecting light. In cooler conditions, the black flowers proliferate, and because they retain heat they eventually warm up the environment to a point where the ability to reflect heat becomes advantageous, allowing the white flowers to proliferate.
Photo of Earth by the Earth Observing System flagship Terra. A collection of satellite-based observations were stitched together into a seamless true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
The Lena River, 2,800 miles (4,400 km) long, is one of the largest rivers in the world. The Lena Delta Reserve is the most extensive protected wilderness area in Russia. It is an important refuge and breeding ground for many species of Siberian wildlife.This image was acquired by Landsat 7´ Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) sensor on February 27, 2000. This is a false-color composite image made using shortwave infrared, infrared, and red wavelengths. Image Credit: USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch.
The Earth´ atmospheric spectra, taken by the Ames Airborne Tracking Sunphotometer, AATS-14. Gases such as Oxygen (O2), Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Water Vapor (H2O) are indicated. Image Credit: NASA/Ames Sunphotometer-Satellite Team
“Dehors” (Outside) by Yves Tanguy. Tanguy’s family came from the FinistÃ¨re area of Brittany, and as a child he spent his summer holidays there. The prehistoric stone monuments left a strong impression on him, and they seem to reappear, as if in dream-like scenes, in his paintings. The artist’s early career in the merchant navy may be relevant, as the scene suggests an underwater landscape. The strange symbols are similar to those found in the work of MirÃ³, who often took the birth of the world as a subject for his paintings.
Spiral tubular structures formed in a chemical garden. The life-like appearance of the structures are formed by precipitation when salt crystals are added to a silicate solution. Photo Credit: Bill Newman, Indiana University.
The world as we know it may only be a three-dimensional pocket, a “brane,” of a higher dimensional space. Though our brane restricts our motion to three dimensions, other dimensions still exist. (Photo credit: CRIMSON/Harvard University)
E coli Image
mycoplasm test 2007
phytoplankton by Flow Cytobot
Amphimedon Image 2
capsids of Bacteriophage T4
Bitter Springs Fossils
Green sulfur bacteria
female polar bear
Chysina aurigans and Chrysina limbata
Neonothopanus gardneri 2
SAR11 strain HIMB4
leaping blenny 2
Great Barrier Reef corals
capturing a bacterial cell
tuskfish carrying a clam
enzymes during electron transport
Whitetip Reef Shark
Mouse and DNA
E. coli growing
Undifferentiated Arabidopsis cells
Dicty life cycle
Dicty cell spores
Tens of millions of bases of DNA from a marine microbial community
Mother of pearl
Great Smoky Mountains
Coral reef under threat
Electric snail schematic
Map of Intelligence
Emperor penguin colony
Emperor penguin chicks
Ion channels function
Cross section of a simulated ion channel
Ion channel illustration
Human Microbiome Project
Pollen grains from Antarctica
TextureCam of a stromatolite
Wood decayed by white rot
Anabaena spp. and Microcystis aeruginosa
E coli with ancient genes
Real jellyfish comparison
Jellyfish swim strokes
Rhabdopleura compacta zooid
A Rhabdopleura compacta
Mount McRae Shale formation drill core
Microorganisms responsible for marine AOM
Methane oxidation and sulfate respiration model
Crab apple tree trunk
Bacteria, red cell walls
A single vascular bundle from a transverse section of the mature stem
Nodules of ancient soil
Nostochopis multicellular cyanobacterium
The depletion of ATP in cells of the bacterium Escherichia coli
A dung beetle
Northern versus southern passage to the Fraser River in British Columbia
Sockeye salmon migrate
Western Australian Biogeographic Regions
Methanococcus maripaludis from NCBI
Underside of a painted turtle
Bean plant treated with hydrogen sulfide (top)
Bean seeds treated with hydrogen sulfide
Suctorian ciliate covered with symbiotic bacteria, along with diatoms, and filaments on weathered and cracked microplastic debris.
This is a typical glass sponge community in the Eastern Weddell sea
Fish (Trematomus sp.)
Researchers found zooplankton biomass to nearly equal phytoplankton in the upper ocean
The MAREDAT atlas catalogues marine plankton including single-celled animals such as this foraminifera, Hastigerina digitata.
Interpretive view of Diskagma buttonii with exterior view, left, and cross section
Diatoms and dinoflagellates from Lake Chuzenji in Japan.
Mushroom Omphalotus nidiformis
Yellow tube sponge (Aplysina fistularis), the purple vase sponge (Niphates digitalis), the red encrusting sponge (Spiratrella coccinea) and the gray rope sponge (Callyspongia)
Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea flock
Machinery inside the chloroplasts
Researchers from Princeton University and the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich found that the wobble of the Earth on its axis controls the production of fertilizing nitrogen essential to the health of the ocean. The wobble, known as axial precession, causes an upwell of nitrogen-poor (but phosphorus-rich) water from the deep ocean roughly every 23,000 years. Blue-green algae such as Trichodesmium (above) feed on the phosphorous as they convert, or “fix,” nitrogen in the air into a biologically active form that becomes part of the ocean’s nitrogen cycle. (Image courtesy of the Center for Microbial Oceanography, University of Hawaii)
The reconstructed history of North Atlantic nitrogen fixation (black) is partly driven by the cyclic wobble of the Earth’s axis of rotation (orange) and its effect on equatorial Atlantic upwelling.
A small carpenter bee.
Collared brown lemur (Eulemur fuvius collaris). Credit: Luke Dollar
A tiny jellyfish with green-glowing, fluorescent tentacles and red fluorescence in its body, owing to the chlorophyll in gobbled-up algae. Could we detect any evidence of intelligent signaling in such a creature if it were an alien species? Credit: Mikhail Matz, Islands in the Stream 2002, NOAA-OER
A termite mound photographed in Australia. Credit: Hansjoerg Morandell/Wikipedia
Giant honey bees, species Apis dorsata, photographed in India. The “waggle dance” of honeybees informs hivemates of the location of food. Credit: Bksimonb/Wikipedia
Georgia Tech assistant professor Kostas Konstantinidis (left) and former graduate student and study lead author Chengwei Luo examine E. coli cells. (Credit: Gary Meek)
Soil plots that were heated to simulate the rise in temperatures forecast by climate models. The radiators (top) warm the plots 2 degrees Celsius. (Credit: Mengting Yuan, U. of Oklahoma)
A Drosophila fly infected with fungus. Flies raised in space were unable to fight off fungal infections because defects in the immune system. Credit: Deborah Kimbrell/UC Davis photo
IceBridge Flight Over Baffin Island . Image Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger
This is Laflamme in his U of T Mississauga laboratory.Credit: Gareth Trickey
These are fossil remains of Ediacara biota.Credit: Courtesy of Marc Laflamme
These are digital images of trenches in a mineral made by networks of fungi. The circular feature in the picture on the right is a depression made by the formation of a terminal spore by a mycorrhizal fungus, which was linked to the roots of a maple tree under high CO2. Researcher Joe Quirk says: “These spores are characteristic of the ancient type of fungus that has associated with plant roots since plants first emerged onto the land over 400 million years ago. This is why the image is so exciting – it’s good evidence this ancient fungus weathers minerals.”The width of the trenches is approximately 5 micrometers and the diameter of the circular spore is about 55 micrometers (one micrometer is one-thousandth of a millimeter).Credit: Joe Quirk
The porcelain crab, or Petrolisthes cinctipes. Photo by Jonathon Stillman.
These porcelain crabs are at the beginning of their life cycle: a late-stage embryo (right) and a newly hatched larva (left). Photo by Jonathon Stillman.
Sea Anemone specime credit: Daly M, Rack F, Zook R (2013)
“Field” of Edwardsiella andrillae n. sp. in situ. Image captured by SCINI. Red dots are 10 cm apart. credit: Daly M, Rack F, Zook R (2013)
Artist’s rendering of the landscape during end-Permian extinction. Image: José-Luis Olivares/MIT.
A photo of the permian triassic boundary at Meishan, China. This photo shows the limestone beds in between the volcanic ash beds that the researchers were able to date.Photo: Shuzhong Shen
This image shows a sea butterfly (Limacina helicina), a key Arctic sea snail. With the acidification expected in Arctic waters due to the increased concentration of CO2, populations of sea butterflies and other marine calcifying organisms can be severely threatened due to hampering of the calcification processes. Credit: Photo courtesy of Kevin Lee
Sea sponge Halichondria panicea was used in the experiment at the University of Southern Denmark. Credit: Daniel Mills/SDU
Sea sponge Halichondria panicea was used in the experiment at University of Southern Denmark. Credit: Daniel Mills/SDU
What Color Was Sinosauropteryx?
Varying Diversity in Melanosomes
Fuzzy Dino and Bird
Varying Diversity in Melanosomes (large)
The original graph of body size versus metabolic rate hand-drawn by Max Kleiber. Kleiber M. (1947)
Boris Vinatzer has developed a naming convention based on genome sequencing to enhance the way organisms are classified. Credit: Virginia Tech
Fruit flies have been the model for a study that has shown how climate change may affect insect distribution in the future. (Photo: Ary A. Hoffmann)
Periods of extreme heat and thus drought may be the cause of death for many insects. (Photo: COLOURBOX).
Stereoscopic micrograph of Ozobranchus jantseanus (dorsal view). O. jantseanus is a parasitic leech of freshwater turtles. Credit: Suzuki et al. 2014
‘Ornate box turtle’ Credit: Photo by G. Hammerson / University College London
How organics in the sediment interfere with the ocean’s oxygen cycle and the presence of life. Credit: Courtesy: NASA Science Focus. Graphic adapted from Black Sea Sediments by Holger Lueschen.
Visualizations of the Messel lake and forest food webs: (left) lake food web, (right) forest food web. Spheres represent species and lines represent feeding links. Links that loop indicate cannibalism. The vertical axis corresponds to trophic level, with plants at the bottom level. Colors of nodes correspond to taxonomic affiliation of species. green = plants, algae, and diatoms; blue = bacteria, fungi, and detritus; yellow = invertebrates; orange = vertebrates. Images created by J.A. Dunne.
Bird and flower (Wikimedia)
Drosophila melanogaster. Credit: Photo by Indiana University
Professor Jonathan Payne holds up fossil brachiopods that are more than 400 million years old.Credit: Credit: John Todd
Professor Jonathan Payne holds up fossil brachiopods that are more than 400 million years old.Credit: Credit: John Todd
This image shows the dorsal view of Fuxianhuia protensa. The three-inch-long fossil was found in sediments dating from the Cambrian Period 520 million years ago in what today is the Yunnan province in China. Parts of the gut are visible as dark stains along the animal’s midline.Credit: Xiaoya Ma
This image shows a schematic reconstruction of the animal, outlining the cardiovascular system in red, the brain and central nervous system in blue and the gut in green.Credit: Nicholas Strausfeld
This is an image of the animal’s whole cardiovascular system.Credit: Xiaoya Ma
Carbon deposits that formed during the fossilization process outline the animal’s whole circulatory system. (Photo: Xiaoya Ma)
This photo shows one of 36 bundles of acacia wood that sat on the deep seafloor for five years as part of Craig McClain’s wood-fall experiment. The bundle is held together by a mesh bag that allows the tiny larvae of deep-sea clams and other animals to colonize the wood. Galatheid crabs crawl around the outside of the mesh while brisingid sea stars attach to the yellow rope that allows MBARI’s submersibles to lift the wood without damaging it. Image: © 2012 MBARI
Researchers use the two manipulator arms on MBARI’s remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts to collect a bundle of acacia wood 3,200 meters below the surface. The arm on the right has picked up the wood bundle by its yellow rope handle. This bundle will be placed inside the white collecting bag being held by the arm on the left. Image: © 2012 MBARI
Craig McClain, lead author of this study, collects small animals from a piece of wood that was left on the seafloor for several years. Note the large holes created by boring clams, which set the stage for later colonizers. Image: Kim Fulton-Bennett © 2013 MBARI
This photomontage shows some of the small animals that colonized bundles of acacia wood that sat on the deep seafloor, 3,200 meters below the surface, for five years (note penny for scale). The animals include boring clams (lower left), polychaete worms (upper left and lower right), snails and limpets (bottom), shrimp-like tanaids and amphipods (center), and a crinoid sea lily (middle right). Image: Craig McClain © 2012
This image was made by a high-resolution x-ray scan of the newly described 305-million-year-old harvestman fossil (Hastocularis argus).Credit: ©Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle
Left: A high-resolution X-ray scan of the 305-million-year-old harvestman fossil (Hastocularis argus). Scale bar equals 4 millimeters. Top right: Side view of the new fossil, showing the profile of the body. The projections bearing the two sets of eyes are indicated with brackets. Scale bar equals 2 millimeters. Bottom right: Head-on view of the left side of the fossil. Red shading designates the location of the median eye and green shading designates the lateral eye. Scale bar equals 1 millimeter.Credit: ©Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle
This figure shows the progressive developmental stages of modern harvestmen embryos with the expression of a gene that patterns outgrowths, like eye stalks (shown with black staining). In this particular species, adults only have a single pair of median eyes along the middle of the body. White arrowheads indicate domains associated with lateral eye fields, which never actually develop. Black arrowheads indicate the strong expression of the domains that will eventually form the median eyes.Credit: ©AMNH/P. Sharma
Saber-Toothed Cat from La Brea Tar Pits CollectionDr. O’Keefe and Dr. Meachen used over 200 La Brea fossils in their research.Credit: Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits