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Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.

 

 

  • Healthy Community Design Featured Article Healthy Community Design Healthy Community Design

    The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community... More »

  • Fluorine Featured Article Fluorine Fluorine

    Fluorine is a highly reactive chemical element with atomic symbol F. Having the atomic number nine, fluorine is the lightest halogen. Fluorine is a yellow-green gas... More »

  • Endangered species Featured Article Endangered species Endangered species

    An endangered species is a biological taxon that is at risk of becoming extinct in a proximate time frame much sooner than the long term horizon in which species typically... More »

  • Trinity Site, New Mexico Featured Article Trinity Site, New Mexico Trinity Site, New Mexico

    Trinity Site, Alamogordo Bombing Range, New Mexico ( 33°40'30.00"N, 106°28'30.00"W) was the site of the first atmospheric atomic bomb test which took... More »

  • Gymnosperm Featured Article Gymnosperm Gymnosperm

    A gymnosperm is one of a number of non-flowering seed bearing vegetation species, including conifers, cycads, Ginkgo and Gnetales.  These species arose first in the... More »

  • Composting tips Featured Article Composting tips Composting tips

    Composting turns household wastes into valuable fertilizer and soil organic matter. All organic matter eventually decomposes. Composting speeds the process by providing an... More »

  • Dugong Featured Article Dugong Dugong

    The Dugong, often referred to as the sea cow, is actually more closely related to elephants than to the bovine namesake.  Throughout much of their range, the Dugong has... More »

  • Frugivore Featured Article Frugivore Frugivore

    A frugivore is a type of herbivore (plant-eating animal) that eats a substantial portion of fruit.  A few frugivores species eat only fruit, but many also consume leaves... More »

Recently Updated
Biomass Last Updated on 2014-09-30 22:09:21 Biomass is a term in ecology for the  mass of living organisms in a given ecosystem.  Biomass can refer to the living stock of species in a given habitat, but can also refer to a harvested subset or to a decaying subset (especially in the case of forest floor detritus). Biomass may refer to the total mass of all species within the study area, and is thus sometimes called community biomass; but biomass may also refer to a taxonomic subset. Biomass can be expressed as the average mass per unit area or unit volume, or simply as the total mass in the community. Plants characteristically comprise the greatest part of the biomass of terrestrial system. In the animal kingdom, iIronically, the smallest creatures in an ecosystem typically represent the largest quantity of its biomass. It is important to note that the relative biomass species mix may change considerably from season... More »
Mangrove ecology Last Updated on 2014-09-30 21:06:51 ​Mangrove ecology is the study of biotic interactions within mangrove swamp ecosystems. These habitats are significant not only for the biodiversity they represent, but also for the protection of coastal erosion, and for the provision of protected nursery areas for marine fauna.   Mangroves worldwide cover an approximate area of 240 000 square kilometers of sheltered coastlines in the tropics and subtropics. Mangroves stabilize coastal intertidal soils pereventing coastal erosion Four of the most common ecotypes include fringe, riverine, basin, and scrub forests. Mangroves are restricted to the intertidal zone. Mangroves in general have a great capacity to recover from major natural disturbances. Mangroves maintain water quality by trapping sediments and taking up excess... More »
Clouds Last Updated on 2014-09-30 10:52:27 A could is a visible aggregate of minute water droplets or ice particles in the atmosphere above the Earth's surface. Clouds are classified according to their height above and appearance (texture) from the ground. Clouds form when air is cooled to its dewpoint—or the temperature at which, if the air is cooled, it reaches saturation with water. Air can reach saturation in a number of ways. The most common way is through lifting. As a bubble or parcel of air rises it moves into an area of lower pressure (pressure decreases with height). As this occurs the parcel expands. This requires energy, or work, which takes heat away from the parcel. So as air rises it cools. This is called an adiabatic process. The rate at which the parcel cools with increasing elevation is called the "lapse rate". The lapse rate of unsaturated air (air with relative humidity <100%)... More »
Arecaceae: The Majestic Family of Palms Last Updated on 2014-09-25 11:35:18 Arecaceae (Syn. Palmae) is a monocotyledonous plant family containing species of tropical climbers, shrubs and trees commonly known as Palm trees or simply Palms (Figs 1-3). The Arecaceae is a monotypic family in the order Arecales. The family contains several commercially important species such as coconuts, area nuts and date palms, as well as a large number of indoor and ornamental species. Palms are commonly cultivated and well known horticulturally across the planet. Palms are most conspicuous in coastal areas in tropical and sub-tropical ecological zones as well as in the Arabian deserts and throughout the continents of Africa, Latin America, South and South-East Asia, Oceania and coastal US and adjoining island groups. Palms are also common in tropical evergreen forests and in every available ecological habitat in the tropics and sub-tropics covering a... More »
Food Security Last Updated on 2014-09-24 23:01:45 A comprehensive definition of food security that is widely accepted today is that “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life"1. It follows from this definition that individuals and families who are not food-secure are likely to be hungry, undernourished or malnourished, poor, and living in places that are distant from well-stocked and functional food markets. These characteristics can often be observed directly or assessed through household survey methods. While measures of nutritional status such as low height for age or low weight for height, average availability of food translated into calories available/day, per capita incomes, or distance from a market do not fully define food security, observations or... More »