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Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.

  • Cnidaria Featured Article Cnidaria Cnidaria

    Cnidaria (corals, jellyfish, and Hydra) are incredibly diverse in form, as evidenced by colonial siphonophores, massive medusae and corals, feathery hydroids, and box jellies... More »

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  • Europa Island Featured Article Europa Island Europa Island

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  • What Is Aquaculture? Featured Article What Is Aquaculture? What Is Aquaculture?

    The term aquaculture broadly refers to the cultivation of aquatic organisms in controlled aquatic environments for any commercial, recreational or public purpose. The breeding,... More »

  • Earth's atmospheric air Featured Article Earth's atmospheric air Earth's atmospheric air

    The Earth's atmospheric air is a colorless, odorless and tasteless mixture of gases consisting mostly of nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2). It is the part of Earth's... More »

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    The advent of agriculture ushered in an unprecedented increase in the human population and their domesticated animals. Farming catalyzed the transformation of hunter-gatherers... More »

Recently Updated
Greater Negros-Panay rain forests Last Updated on 2014-04-16 18:06:26 The Greater Negros-Panay Rain Forests ecoregion, including the Western Visayas and parts of additional political regions, appears as a number of isolated islands, but during the last ice ages these islands were (for the most part) part of one continuous island. The islands contain a unique mix of Sundaic and Philippine mammals and birds, including leopard cats and endemic pigs and deer species. Sibuyan, a small mountainous island surrounded by deep water, contains five endemic mammals and several restricted-range birds and nearly qualifies as an ecoregion in itself. The ecoregion includes the large island of Negros, Panay, and Cebu and the smaller islands of Masbate, Ticao, and Guimaras; Sibuyan, Romblon, Tablas, and Siquijor are moderately isolated and distinctive. The climate of the ecoregion is tropical wet. The Visayas receive approximately 2,419 millimeters (mm) of... More »
Eastern Java-Bali rain forests Last Updated on 2014-04-16 17:48:48 The Eastern Java-Bali Rain Forests are found on one of the most actively volcanic islands in the world. Once the home of the extinct Javan and Balinese tigers (Panthera tigris sondaicus and Panthera tigris balica, respectively), these forests still contain one of the most endangered and high-profile songbirds in the world, the Bali starling (Leucopsar rothschildi). Almost all of this ecoregion's natural habitat was cleared long ago by logging interests and for agriculture and settlements to provide for a rapidly expanding, dense human population. Only tiny fragments of natural forests remain, and these are also disturbed. This ecoregion represents the lowland moist forests of eastern Java and Bali in the Indonesian Archipelago. Based on the Köppen climate zone system, this ecoregion falls in the tropical wet and dry climate zones, although as one moves east on Java... More »
Eastern Java-Bali montane rain forests Last Updated on 2014-04-16 15:53:31 The Eastern Java-Bali Montane Rain Forests are found on one of the most actively volcanic islands in the world. Once the home of the extinct Javan and Balinese tigers (Panthera tigris sundaica and Panthera tigris balica, respectively), they contain fifteen bird species found nowhere else on Earth and more than 100 mammal species. Nearly three-quarters of the ecoregion's natural habitat has been cleared by a rapidly expanding population that is increasingly forced into these marginal lands. This ecoregion represents the montane forests of eastern Java and Bali, Indonesia. Based on the Köppen climate zone system, this ecoregion falls in the tropical wet and dry climate zones. Java probably did not exist before the Miocene (24 million years ago). Bali did not emerge until 3 million years ago. Truly born of fire, the islands of Java and Bali are the result of the... More »
Eastern highlands moist deciduous forests Last Updated on 2014-04-16 15:00:40 The Eastern Highlands Moist Deciduous Forests are considered globally outstanding for the large vertebrate assemblages and intact ecological processes they still support. The ecoregion still retains large blocks of habitat that are more than 5,000 (km2). These are essential for the long-term conservation of the megavertebrates of Asia and are now a limited ecological resource. The complex landform coupled with the monsoon rains that sweep in from the Bay of Bengal also make this ecoregion an ice age refuge for elements of the moist forest flora from the faraway Western Ghats mountains and from the Eastern Himalayas. It is also a present-day refuge for many of the bioregion's large vertebrates, such as tigers (Panthera tigris), wolves (Canis lupus), gaur (Bos gaurus), and sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), that are increasingly confined to fragments of the natural habitat that... More »
Christmas and Cocos Islands tropical forests Last Updated on 2014-04-16 14:42:52 Christmas Island and the uninhabited North Keeling Island of the Cocos group both maintain significant native tropical forest cover, composed of dissimilar assemblages of Indo-Pacific and Melanesian tree species. While forests on Christmas Island are similar to those found on other nearby Indonesian high volcanic islands, they are unique in the degree to which their composition and recruitment are controlled by the huge numbers of terrestrial red crabs (Gecarcoidea natalis) present on the island. Despite its small size, Christmas Island supports a large number of endemic species and subspecies including one of the rarest owls in the world, the Christmas Island hawk owl (Ninox natalis). Phosphate mining of extensive bird guano deposits has resulted in the destruction of some of the island’s native habitat; however, the inclusion of 63% of the island in a national park should... More »