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Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.

 

 

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • Welwitschia Featured Article Welwitschia Welwitschia

    The Welwitschia (Welwitschia mirabilis) is a gymnosperm relict plant endemic to the Namib Desert. The species aerial architecture consists of a pair of very wide curled and... More »

  • Selenium Featured Article Selenium Selenium

    Selenium is a gray, metallic element. Its atomic number is 34 and its symbol is Se. The Swedish scientist Jons Jacob Berzelius discovered selenium in 1817. In studying the... More »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • Limestone Featured Article Limestone Limestone

      Limestone  is a sedimentary rock whose chief mineral component is calcite (calcium carbonate: CaCO3). Limestone can be formed by precipitation of calcite... More »

  • Aquifer Featured Article Aquifer Aquifer

    Introduction An aquifer is a geologic formation, group of formations, or part of a formation that contains sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant... More »

Recently Updated
Lubbock Lake Landmark Last Updated on 2014-08-19 16:59:46 The Lubbock Lake National Historic and State Archeological Park, known locally as the Lubbock Lake Landmark, is an archeological and natural history preserve located in Lubbock, Texas, USA. The 300 acre preserve is located in Yellowhouse Draw, an intermittent tributary of the Brazos River. This reserve, which is managed by the Museum of Texas Tech University, is important because it contains evidence of nearly 12,000 years of use by humans as well as records of now extinct species that formerly lived in this area. It is one of the few places in North America known to have a complete record of human existence from the Paleo-Indian culture all the way through the Archaic, ceramic, and Prehistoric cultures. Lubbock Lake Landmark received its name from a reservoir that was created in the 1930s. This area housed a natural spring fed lake until the spring began to... More »
Galapagos Islands Last Updated on 2014-08-19 16:58:19 The Galapagos Islands include 31 individual islands, 42 islets and 26 emergent rocks that form an archipelago located about 600 miles west of South American in the Pacific Ocean.  The islands, which are part of Ecuador, have been designated as a National Park and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Galapagos Islands are known for being home to many species of plants and animals that are not found anywhere else on the planet.  The Galapagos Islands were named from the old Spanish word "galapago" (saddle) because of the shape of the shells of the islands' giant tortoises. The Galapagos Islands are oceanic islands that have never been connected to any landmass. Instead these islands were produced by volcanic activity.  Isabella, was formed by six volcanoes, but most islands were formed by the activity of only a... More »
Cactaceae: The cactus family Last Updated on 2014-08-07 15:56:00 The Cactaceae is a family belonging to the order Caryophyllales.  Cacti typically are found in  dry and arid desert or semi-desert regions  with high average daytime temperatures and cold nights, and high evaporation rates.  Cacti range from Canada to Argentina, predominantly occurring in the warm and arid reaches of the continents of both North and South America across a wide range of different habitats like deserts, sandy coastal stretches, scrublands, dry deciduous forests, high alpine steppes and tropical rain forests (Barthlott and Hunt, 1993; Gibson and Nobel, 1986; Nyffeler, 2001). The main diversity centers are Mexico and south-west USA, central Andes, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina with Mexico being the richest and most endemic region (Boyle and Anderson, 2002; Ortega-Baes and Godínez-Alvarez, 2006). The family is... More »
Amaranthaceae: The pigweed family Last Updated on 2014-08-07 15:27:30 Amaranthaceae is a plant family in the order Caryophyllales that is native to tropical America and Africa, ranging between tropics and sub-tropics to more temperate regions. The family is believed to have originated in either the southwestern region of the United States, Latin America, or Africa. The Amaranthaceae family is dominated by herbs but also includes vines, shrubs and trees, and is comprised of approximately 800 species represented by 60 plus genera and broadly divided into two sub families (Amaranthoideae and Gomphrenoideae). Physical Description Leaves are mostly simple and entire, non-stipulate, phyllotaxy is alternate/opposite. Flowers are regular, cyclic, tiny, and characterized by spiny perianth with conspicuous bracts and bractlets and are either unisexual/bisexual (hermaphrodite), solitary/aggregated into inflorescence (spikes/cymes/heads) (Fig 1). Calyx... More »
Cucurbitaceae: The amazing world of cucurbits Last Updated on 2014-08-05 15:24:15 The Cucurbitaceae family represents over 90 genera and approximately 960 species. The distribution is predominantly tropical and subtropical, with only a few species occurring in the temperate regions.  Plants are monoecious/dioecious and have tendrils (usually one per node), are either annual or perennial, and are typically herbaceous/woody/vines/climbers/trailers/lianas, or sometimes trees. Shoots are angular, herbaceous/woody/succulent with stem anatomy showing conspicuous bicollateral vascular bundles that are easy to identify even without staining. Leaves are alternate, spiral, petiolate, membranaceous/succulent, without stipules. They can be simple or compound (ternate/palmate), have margins with small glandular teeth (hydathodes), are hairy (glandular/eglandular), and have cystolith (crystals) present. Flowers are solitary or aggregated into inflorescences... More »