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ecology

Art for "A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate"
ecology

A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate

New modeling studies suggest that birds migrate to strike a favorable balance between their input and output of energy.

Abstractions blog

Complex Animals Led to More Oxygen, Says Maverick Theory

For decades, researchers have commonly assumed that higher oxygen levels led to the sudden diversification of animal life 540 million years ago. But one iconoclast argues the opposite: that new animal behaviors raised oxygen levels and remade the environment.

520px photo of phytoplankton
Abstractions blog

Evolution Saves Species From ‘Kill the Winner’ Disasters

Modelers find evidence that a combination of competition, predation and evolution will push ecosystems toward species diversity anywhere in the universe.

Tidal pool with ocean life
Abstractions blog

Awash in Sea of Data, Ecologists Turn to Open Access Tools

To assess the ocean’s health, ecology’s “rugged individualists” learned to get with the big data program.

ecology

A Timely Fix for a Grand Theory of Nature

A disarmingly simple model of ecology does everything well — except predict how rapidly nature can change. Can it become more realistic while still avoiding all of biology’s messy complexities?

complex systems

Nature’s Critical Warning System

Scientists are homing in on a warning signal that arises in complex systems like ecological food webs, the brain and the Earth’s climate. Could it help prevent future catastrophes?

ecology

A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction

Complex natural systems defy analysis using a standard mathematical toolkit, so one ecologist is throwing out the equations.

Q&A

An Explorer of Life’s Deepest Partnerships

The biologist Nancy Moran has spent a career investigating the surprising nature of symbiosis, a phenomenon in which two species can appear to merge into one.

microbes

Below Our Feet, a World of Hidden Life

The soil teems with billions of hidden microbes. Researchers have begun to catalog how these organisms are changing the world.