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Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.

  • Europa Island Featured Article Europa Island Europa Island

    Europa Island located in the southern Mozambique Channel, between Madagascar and Mozambique. Europa Island is about 100 kilometers (km) southeast of Bassas da... More »

  • 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 »

  • Composting Featured Article Composting Composting

    Composting is the controlled biological decomposition and pasteurization of organic materials under aerobic conditions— it involves the action of mesophilic microorganisms... 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 »

  • Fluid catalytic cracking Featured Article Fluid catalytic cracking Fluid catalytic cracking

    Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is the most important conversion process used in petroleum refineries. It is widely used to convert the high-boiling hydrocarbon fractions of... More »

  • 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 »

  • Vertical farming Featured Article Vertical farming Vertical farming

    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
Cicindela albissima Last Updated on 2014-04-24 15:10:24 Cicindela albissima, commonly called the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle, is a species of tiger beetle endemic to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in southern Utah, United States. It was originally described by Rumpp in 1962 as the subspecies Cicindela limbata albissima, but mitochondrial DNA, along with the species' morphological and geographical distinctiveness, have shown that it is a separate species. C. albissima can be distinguished from other Cicindela species by its restricted range and lack of pigmentation on its elytra.   Adults are 10.5 millimeters (0.41 in) to 12 mm long (0.47 in) and 4.4 mm (0.17) to 4.7 (0.19 in) mm wide, while females are generally larger than males. The thorax is brown to bronze in color, while the elytra have reduced pigmentation and are white in color. Adults primarily eat flies and other arthropods found on the dunes. They also... More »
Atacama Desert Last Updated on 2014-04-23 19:10:09 The Atacama Desert is an irregular elongated strip of desert along the northwest coast of Chile, essentially bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west. It extends nearly 1600 kilometres (km) and reaches a maximum width of 180 km. In many areas rainfall has never been recorded, and the Atacama is considered one of the driest deserts in the world. Consequently, an extremely arid, almost barren, landscape predominates. Despite the aridity of this desert, some cacti (Eulychnia), perennials (Nolana), and mesquite (Prosopis) occur in basins where occasional water accumulation occurs. Relatively few animal species have adapted to this arid environment and therefore, faunal diversity and density is extremely low. Even bacteria are scarce, and in many portions of the desert insects and fungi are absent. The intrinsic value of the Atacama Desert's plant and animal communities lies in the... More »
Araya and Paria xeric scrub Last Updated on 2014-04-23 19:03:32 Included in the large coastal area of the Caribbean, the Araya-Paria xeric scrub ecoregion occupies the arid zones of Araya-Paria peninsula, with the exception of the montane areas of the Paria side. The montane areas of Paria are included in the Cordillera de la Costa ecoregion. Aria-Paria also includes the island of Margarita (all except the mangroves), and extends south on to the mainland to Cumaná. The Araya-Paria xeric scrub ecoregion is characterized by very dry environments, and constitutes one of the last refuges for a number of rare and restricted-range animal species. Oriented from east to west, the island of Margarita is located at 38 kilometers (km) north of Araya peninsula and has a total area of 934 square kilometers (km2). The island is made up of two regions joined by an isthmus. The eastern part is the larger, where there is a massive mountain center... More »
Orinoco wetlands Last Updated on 2014-04-23 18:36:53 The Orinoco Delta (nationally recognized as Delta Amacuro State), has been formed by the sediment deposited by the Orinoco River through thousands of years. The Orinoco wetlands ecoregion consists of several large and small patches of flooded grasslands, which occur in a habitat mosaic with swamp forests and mangroves. This ecoregion is both a globally important wetland, and a critical habitat to a number of endangered species. Despite its importance, relatively little is know about the region. Threats to the area are increasing as water diversion and damming, oil drilling, and human populations increase. The Orinoco wetlands are flooded grassland occurring in seven distinct patches, which are embedded in a mosaic of mangroves, swamp forest, moist forest, and llanos. The ecoregion is located in the north of the delta of the Orinoco River- the second largest river in the... More »
Central Mexican wetlands Last Updated on 2014-04-23 18:20:54 This flooded grassland in central Mexico is characterized by aquatic vegetation such as Typha, and Cyperus. This ecoregion is an extremely important habitat for avifauna, more than two hundred species are found here. The entire area is considered an Endemic Bird Area; endemic species include the black-polled yellowthroat and yellow rail. The area also serves as a stopover for migrating birds. Much of the habitat remains intact although, deforestation of surrounding forest has lead to problems with erosion, which causes high sedimentation rates and an increase in salinity. The Central Mexican wetlands are a small set of lakes, rivers, and associated marshes and wetlands located in the middle of the rugged mountain range known as the trans-volcanic belt. Intense volcanic activity in the tertiary fragmented the Lerma-Santiago basin creating several lakes. In spite of their... More »