Topic: ecology

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The benefits of sea cucumber poop

There are about 1,250 different species of sea cucumber across the world's oceans. This is Thelenota anax. And yes, it's doing what you think it's doing. Sea cucumber poop is surprisingly important for the ecosystem. ...

Which life form really dominates Earth?

In 2018, there are around 7.6 billion people on the planet, but weigh us all together on a giant scale and we only make up 1/10,000 of Earth’s biomass. What is biomass? And what life forms dominate the rest of the pla...

Soil Life in Action: Bioturbation with and without soil fauna

Bioturbation is the mixing of (plant) residues into soils and sediments by biotic activity. It is one of the fundamental processes in ecology, as it stimulates decomposition, creates habitats for other (micro)fauna an...

What do bluebirds eat?

Ask any birder what birds eat and you'll hear “seeds, fruits, and insects.” But during reproduction, arguably the most important weeks of a bird’s life, 96% of North American terrestrial birds eat insects and other ar...

How To Grow Coral

When visitors at Georgia Aquarium gaze upon the diverse array of colorful corals, [biologist Kim] Stone says many mistake the often stationary specimens for beautiful rocks. But corals are actually living animals—they...

Plastics 101: What is plastic and how is it made?

Once a completely natural product, much of today's plastic is man-made and largely dependent upon fossil fuels. From polymers to nurdles, learn how plastic is created and what we can do to slow the lasting repercussio...

Fungus: The Plastic of the Future

In 2014, Ecovative Designs was working to combine mycelium with local crop waste to make a compostable biomaterial for packaging, and continue to expand their efforts. One example: A collaboration with Netherlands-bas...

Dr. Jane Goodall’s Google Doodle for Earth Day 2018

In 1970, 20 million Americans came together to deliver a message: our environment sustains us, and so we too must work to sustain it. Since then, Earth Day has spawned a movement of millions across the globe working t...

Why isn’t the world covered in poop?

Each day, the animal kingdom produces roughly enough poop to match the volume of water pouring over Victoria Falls. So why isn’t the planet covered in the stuff? You can thank the humble dung beetle for eating up the ...

Transforming Human Poop Into Eco-Friendly Fertilizer

Everyone poops. But not everyone around the globe has access to a clean toilet. Some communities in Haiti have set up a clean and healthy sanitation system that can also provide a homegrown resource for boosting food ...

Is Your Fleece Jacket Polluting The Oceans?

When you hear “plastic” pollution, you might picture six-pack rings wrapped around seagulls or beaches littered with plastic bottles. But now, researchers are discovering a new menace -- microfibers. They’re tiny stra...

1000s of Bugs, 100 Islands, 1 Happy Entomologist

Community ecologist, biodiversity scientist, and entomologist Crystal Ernst is cataloging insects, spiders, and other tiny creatures for the 100 Islands Project, a multiyear island biogeography study across the Centra...

Beavers: The Smartest Thing in Fur Pants

Beavers have done more to shape North American landscapes than any animal beside humans. We don’t notice them much today because there aren’t many left, but before colonization, North America was home to hundreds of m...

Do Cities Need More Green Roofs?

Green roofs or living roofs are different types of gardens that are created on the tops of buildings to help manage stormwater, improve air quality, help cool city temperatures, insulate the building, create park spac...

How dead is the Great Barrier Reef?

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world and the only living structure visible from space. Although ecosystem managers in Australia have worked hard to preserve the reefs, the past ...

Dr. Sylvia Earle, world-renowned oceanographer and explorer

If there is unofficial royalty in the field of science, little doubt exists that 81-year-old oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle claims one of the highest ranks... Her stories sound like biology class fairy tales—she's liv...

Barn Owls: The Secret Saviors of Napa Valley’s Vineyards

Barn owls have long been one of the secrets to Napa Valley’s world-class wines. Rather than relying on chemicals and pesticides, winemakers work with owls—nature’s best pest control—to ensure that the best grapes make...

A blue whale lunges for krill

How can the largest creatures on the planet survive by almost exclusively eating some of the smallest creatures in the sea? In this video from Oregon State University, we get a very rare look at how blue whales eat ti...

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