Systems

From climate change and ocean acidification to food webs, nutrient cycling, and pollination, gain a big-picture view of the threats to—and importance of—Earth’s natural systems.

A levee divides a parched salt pond from a burgeoning wetland. Past the Salt 07.14.2022 Article - In San Francisco’s salty South Bay, an ambitious wetlands restoration project is seeking to balance a return to the ecological past with the realities of a changing future.
Ghana’s Sacred Monkeys 04.19.2022 Article - Myth and mystery have long protected two species of monkey and the West African forests they depend on, but for how much longer?
The brook trout, a species native to the eastern United States, made its way across the west in the hands of settlers looking to recreate a small, living piece of their adopted homeland. Photograph by Nick Hawkins The Tale of the Trojan Trout 02.21.2022 Article - Can the introduction of a modified invader save the West’s native fish?
Header image for Bringing out the Dead - Deep sea octopus Benthoctopus johnstoniana Bringing out the Dead 10.28.2021 Article - By sinking a wide array of carcasses into the deep ocean and studying what turns up when they fall, scientists are learning about some of the world’s most exotic scavengers and the roles they play in the darkness.
Sign designating the National Wild and Scenic section of the Rio Chama. A River’s Right to Flow 10.22.2021 Article - Indigenous communities and conservationists around the world are challenging the view of water as a human commodity, and fighting to keep this precious resource in the ecosystems it sustains. Can the same approach work in the arid Southwest?
Letters Between Trees 09.09.2021 Article - With a pandemic and record-breaking fire season raging, two individuals, seemingly worlds apart, find solace in their connections with one another and within the ecosystems they call home.
A Cicada calls from a plant with the Cincinnati, Ohio skyline in the background on June 12, 2021. Signs of the Times 07.08.2021 Article - Despite their perceived abundance, the periodical cicadas that emerged across the eastern United States this summer point to a growing set of threats facing both the insects themselves and the ecosystems they help support.
This Antarctic glacier is one of the remains of the once huge Larsen B ice shelf, which infamously collapsed in 2002 over the course of a single month. Such a large area of ice collapsing so quickly was an unprecedented event in scientific history. Photograph by Armin Rose / Shutterstock Antarctica’s Upside Down World 05.12.2021 Article - Clinging to the underside of ice hundreds of meters thick, strange communities of sea life eke out a living in perpetual darkness. Now, researchers are racing to find and study these creatures before they—and their ice sheets—disappear.
With the lighthouse peninsula in the background, a male tule elk stands on a bluff in the Tule Elk Preserve at Point Reyes National Seashore. Home on the Range 03.23.2021 Article - Once thought to be extinct, tule elk have returned to roam across California's Point Reyes National Seashore, but the park—which also supports beef and dairy cattle—is getting crowded.
Scales of Reference - sockeye salmon Scales of Reference 03.11.2021 Article - Collected at the tail end of British Columbia's "silver fever," hundred-year-old salmon scales are now helping conservation scientists reconstruct and better manage the populations of one of Canada's most important fish.
Large kauri tree framed by green foliage, Waipoua Forest, Northland. Photograph by Arno Gasteiger. Swamp Sentinels 02.18.2021 Article - Buried in mud for millennia, some of New Zealand's ancient kauri trees are revealing surprising clues about Earth's climate—past, present, and future.
Olms are aquatic, cave-dwelling salamanders found beneath the Dinaric Alps of southern and southeastern Europe. Saving Slovenia’s “Human Fish” 12.15.2020 Article - Scientists in this Central European country are leading the charge to understand and protect a charismatic, cave-dwelling salamander—and the subterranean habitats that supply much of the region's drinking water.
A lesser whistling duck forages in Pallikaranai Marsh. Chennai Ran Out of Water — But That’s Only Half the Story 10.30.2020 Article - To reduce flooding and bridge droughts, India’s southern coastal metropolis is using ancient knowledge, community action, and wetlands restoration to harness its monsoon rains.
Two swallow-tailed kite nestlings hunker down in their nest near the top of a tall pine in Florida’s Withlacoochie State Forest. A Precarious Perch 08.27.2019 Article - Swallow-tailed kites have lost much of their habitat in the southeastern United States, but thanks to an unlikely ally, their numbers are beginning to climb.
A Caribbean spiny lobster emerges onto a coral reef in late afternoon. The Lobster Wars 05.29.2019 Article - In one coastal Mexican town, a sustainable fishery anchors the community. So why has Florida outlawed the same fishing methods?
A male Raggiana bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) displays in forest canopy of Varirata National Park, Papua New Guinea. Photograph by Nick Garbutt Where the Rainforest Meets the Road 01.08.2019 Article - Community-led conservation has taken root in a remote corner of Papua New Guinea. Now the plan’s architects must ensure that ecological protection and economic prosperity can coexist.
An Indian flying fox peers out of the leaves of a date palm tree in India’s West Bengal, just across the border with Bangladesh. Photograph by Dhritiman Mukherjee The Reservoir 12.12.2018 Article - In Bangladesh, a bat-borne virus you've probably never heard of is poised to become the next pandemic—and medicine alone may not be sufficient to stop it. Is an ecological intervention the answer?
From national parks and forests to tribal lands, an estimated $31 billion worth of marijuana is grown annually by international drug trafficking organizations in California. Similar operations are known to occur in at least a dozen other states. Backcountry Drug War 03.28.2017 Article - In the Golden State, dangerous drug cartels are growing pot on public lands—putting wildlife, water supplies, and outdoor enthusiasts at grave risk.
maggot timelapse Maggot Revolution 01.18.2017 Article - Agricultural entrepreneurs want to solve the planet’s livestock-feed crisis by farming insect larvae. Will their scheme fly?
Long leaf pine habitat in the gamelands outside Southern Pines, NC. The Birds and the Bombs 06.28.2016 Article - The fate of the Southeast's longleaf pine forests, and the endangered woodpeckers that depend on them, may rest in the hands of the U.S. military.
Biologist Bart Shepherd in An Audacious Plan in the Twilight An Audacious Plan in the Twilight 04.26.2016 Article - A team of deep-reef explorers attempts to document the unknown biodiversity of Vanuatu’s twilight zone.

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