Snow algae thrives in extreme conditions

On tall ice structures high in the Chilean Andes, researchers found algae growing on snow. They don’t entirely understand how the algae are able to bloom.

Photo showing the extent of the summer dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico according to sampling data

Large 2019 dead zone in Gulf of Mexico

This year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone of oxygen-depleted waters is the 8th largest ever recorded.

Rain over mountains.

It’s raining plastic in the Rocky Mountains

A USGS study identified plastic in more than 90% of rainwater samples taken from across Colorado.

Blue water, blue sky.

Microplastics found in Lake Tahoe

Research at one of the world’s clearest, cleanest lakes suggests the problem of microplastics is widespread in freshwater systems and not just in oceans.

Man with a monarch butterfly on the tip of his finger.

How do monarch butterflies know when it’s time to migrate?

Overwintering monarch butterflies rely on a temperature-sensitive internal timer to wake them up to make the trip back north, researchers report.

Field with yellow flowers, and in the distance, a snow-capped mountain.

A big earthquake in the US Pacific Northwest?

Most people don’t associate the US Pacific Northwest with earthquakes, but maybe they should. It’s home to the 600-mile (1,000-km) Cascadia megathrust fault, stretching from northern California to Canada’s Vancouver Island.

Close-up of insect against a black background.

How mosquitoes find us

For mosquitoes, finding the next blood meal is all about smelling and seeing. It’s our breath that gives us away.

Duck-billed dinosaur.

A new species of duck-billed dinosaur

Duck-billed dinosaurs – hadrosaurids – were common 80 million years ago. Now scientists have discovered a complete skull of a previously unknown species of hadrosaurid, which sported unusual skull and face features.

A firefly lighting up on a leaf.

How fireflies glow and what signals they’re sending

Are the gentle blinks of fireflies flashing a favorite part of your summer evenings? An entomologist explains some lightning bug basics.

Yellow bird with open beak, on a branch, against a green background.

Why do birds sing?

Birds spend a lot of time and energy singing, but they don’t do it the same way in every season of the year. And some can’t sing at all. What’s the purpose of birdsong?

What is a fogbow?

Fogbows are rainbows’ cousins – made by much the same process – but with the small water droplets inside a fog instead of larger raindrops.

June 2019 hottest on record for globe

Last month was the planet’s hottest June in NOAA’s climate record, which dates back to 1880. Also last month, Antarctic sea ice coverage shrank to new record low.

Joshua trees facing extinction

They outlived mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. But new research suggests that without dramatic action to reduce climate change, Joshua trees won’t survive much past this century.

Corals spreading to subtropical waters

While coral populations are declining in tropical waters, scientists have just detected an increase in subtropical areas, which could be good news for corals.

What will Earth’s next supercontinent look like?

Here are 4 different scenarios of what planet Earth might look like when the next supercontinent forms.

Illustration of white hyenas on a mound of rocks.

Ancient hyenas roamed the Arctic

The ice age hyenas may have hunted caribou and horses, or scavenged carcasses of mammoths on a cold treeless tundra, says a study of 2 fossil teeth.

Record wettest 12 months for US, again

Wet conditions from July 2018 through June 2019 resulted in a new 12-month precipitation record in the US

Totally eclipsed sun - with dark moon blotting it out - in darkened sky over a desert campground.

Eclipses make animals do strange things

How do solar and lunar eclipses influence animal behavior? While the human world gathers to see tonight’s lunar eclipse, what’s the rest of nature doing?

Big earthquakes today in Australia and Indonesia

The 2 strong earthquakes of July 14, 2019 – the first a 6.6-magnitude off the western coast of Australia and the second a 7.3-magnitude in Indonesia – happened on or near the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Valley and snow covered mountains, blue sky.

Himalayan glaciers melting double fast since 2000

A new study, which used declassified images from spy satellites, shows that glaciers in the Himalayas melted twice as fast from 2000 to 2016 as they did from 1975 to 2000.