Rate This Topic

Average: 0/5

Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

Recently Updated
Kermadec Islands subtropical moist forests Last Updated on 2014-04-24 17:41:12   Located 1,000 km northeast of North Cape, New Zealand, the subtropical moist forest of the Kermadec Islands supports an incredible diversity and abundance of seabirds breeding amid a luxuriant forest of red-flowered Pohutukawa trees (Metrosideros kermadecensis). Although introduced cats, rats, and goats have had a catastrophic impact on flora and fauna, the islands are slowly being restored to their former glory through active management by the New Zealand government. The Kermadec Islands are an uninhabited group of 13 small islands formed by active and recently extinct volcanoes along the boundary of the Australian Plate between 29º to 31.5°S latitude and 178º to 179ºW longitude. Raoul (29 km2) and Macauley Islands (3.1 km2) comprise more than 95 percent of the islands’ land area. Raoul and Curtis Islands remain active with almost-daily... More »
Fiji tropical moist forests Last Updated on 2014-04-24 17:32:19   The tropical moist forests of Fiji and the Wallis and Futuna Islands contain the richest natural communities of all the oceanic islands of the Pacific (not including New Caledonia). Their relative isolation, large size and complex topography, and unusual biogeographic history have all contributed to the archipelagos' highly endemic biota. Over half of the vascular plant species are endemic, with many single-island and single-site endemics. Twenty-five birds occur only in Fiji (plus one on Rotuma) and most of the reptiles, amphibians, bats, and invertebrates are unique to the islands. The biota is derived from ancient Gondwanaland elements, including one of the world's most primitive plant families endemic to the islands, and taxa that have dispersed across the ocean. The more than 300 islands of Fiji are located 3,000 km east of Australia at 16-20 °S... More »
Eastern Micronesia tropical moist forests Last Updated on 2014-04-24 17:27:33   This archipelago of low coral limestone islands and atolls, the scene of bloody conflict during World War II (WWII), contains relatively low floral and faunal diversity due to their small size, low habitat diversity, and harsh saline environment. Human development has altered much of the natural habitat of these islands. Several islands were used as nuclear weapons test sites, while others, which have favorable soil enriched by seabird guano, have been cleared for coconut plantations. This ecoregion comprises Wake Island, the Marshall Islands as well as the Gilbert Islands group and Nauru. The influence of centuries of human habitation, coconut planting, and violence associated with WWII on the existing vegetation should not be underestimated. Wake is a small, isolated atoll between the Marshalls and the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. There are three vegetation types: a... More »
Cook Islands tropical moist forests Last Updated on 2014-04-24 17:19:20   The southern Cook Islands extend 450 km from north to south, and encompass a diversity of terrain ranging from the ancient, steep volcanic cone of Rarotonga to the "almost-atoll" of Aitutake. Although little native vegetation remains in the accessible lowland zones, significant areas of fairly intact montane rain and cloud forest can still be found on the upper slopes of Rarotonga. These forests are some of the best remaining examples of primary montane rain and cloud forest in Eastern Polynesia. Located in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 km east of Niue, the southern Cooks include nine main islands: Palmerston Atoll, Aitutake, Manuae (Hervey), Takutea, Miti’aro, Atiu, Ma’uke, Rarotonga, and Mangaia. The islands are in the southeast trade wind belt, and the climate is tropical, with the wettest months being November and December. The larger,... More »
Central Polynesian tropical moist forests Last Updated on 2014-04-24 17:11:35   This ecoregion covers eight inhabited and nine uninhabited atolls and sand islands straddling the equator. Climate of the islands ranges from continually wet to chronically drought-stricken depending on location in relation to the equator and the trade wind belt. The majority of these islands have been heavily disturbed by military activities and phosphate mining though the area does includes some of the largest seabird colonies in the world, including millions of sooty terns and wedge-tailed shearwaters. There are a number of archipelagos in this region, including the northern Line Islands, southern Line Islands, and northern Cook Islands. Isolated Johnston is also included in this ecoregion. All islands are atolls with open or closed lagoons or are raised reef platforms with most land area less than 4 meters (m) above sea level. Much of the land area would have been... More »