Earth

  1. Mangrove trees in Mexico's Cristalino Cenote
    Climate

    Mangrove forests on the Yucatan Peninsula store record amounts of carbon

    Dense tangles of roots and natural water-filled sinkholes join forces to stockpile as much as 2,800 metric tons of carbon per hectare in the soil.

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  2. Tengchong Yunnan hot springs in China
    Microbes

    These climate-friendly microbes recycle carbon without producing methane

    A newly discovered group of single-celled archaea break down decaying plants without adding the greenhouse gas methane to the atmosphere.

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  3. soybean plant leaves infected with Fusarium virguliforme fungus
    Agriculture

    Nanoscale nutrients can protect plants from fungal diseases

    Applied to the shoots, nutrients served in tiny metallic packages are absorbed more efficiently, strengthening plants’ defenses against fungal attack.

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  4. Lightning storm in Texas
    Earth

    Lightning may be an important source of air-cleaning chemicals

    Airplane observations show that thunderstorms can directly generate vast quantities of atmosphere-cleansing chemicals called oxidants.

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  5. aerial image of melting glaciers in the Andes mountains
    Climate

    Climate change may have changed the direction of the North Pole’s drift

    A mid-1990s shift in the movement of the pole was driven by glacial melt, in part caused by climate change, among other factors, a new study reports.

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  6. before and after images of dish of compost breaking down plastic
    Chemistry

    A new technique could make some plastic trash compostable at home

    Embedding enzymes inside biodegradable plastics makes them truly compostable, which could mitigate the plastic waste problem.

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  7. a photo of a submersible
    Science & Society

    A new book explores how military funding shaped the science of oceanography

    In ‘Science on a Mission,’ science historian Naomi Oreskes argues that funding from the U.S. Navy both facilitated and stymied marine research.

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  8. aspen trees burning in a prescribed burn at Fishlake National Forest
    Ecosystems

    Wildfires launch microbes into the air. How big of a health risk is that?

    How does wildfire smoke move bacteria and fungi — and what harm might they do to people when they get there?

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  9. person holding bird with mask caught on its wing
    Animals

    Discarded COVID-19 PPE such as masks can be deadly to wildlife

    From entanglements to ingestion, two biologists are documenting the impact of single-use masks and gloves on animals around the world.

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  10. fish swimming by coral reef
    Oceans

    Corals’ hidden genetic diversity corresponds to distinct lifestyles

    Observation and DNA analysis expose identical reef corals as distinct species with unique ecologies, suggesting much greater coral biodiversity.

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  11. autonomous underwater vehicle Ran amid floating ice
    Climate

    A trek under Thwaites Glacier’s ice shelf reveals specific risks of warm water

    An underwater autonomous craft collected the first data on the chemistry of seawater eroding the icy underbelly of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier.

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  12. lightning over Alaska
    Earth

    A spike in Arctic lightning strikes may be linked to climate change

    Global warming may be revving up summer thunderstorms in the Arctic, leading to skyrocketing numbers of lightning strikes.

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