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ecology

Art for "Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems"
genomics

Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems

Surviving fragments of genetic material preserved in sediments allow scientists to see the full diversity of past life — even microbes.

Art for "In Ecology Studies and Selfless Ants, He Finds Hope for the Future"
Q&A

In Ecology Studies and Selfless Ants, He Finds Hope for the Future

For more than six decades, the influential biologist Edward O. Wilson has drawn connections between evolution, ecology and behavior, often sparking controversies inside and outside of science.

Art for "Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses"
Abstractions blog

Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses

New work raises the estimated diversity of viruses in the seas more than twelvefold and lays the groundwork for a better understanding of their impact on global nutrient cycles.

Art for "Dormant Microbes Bide Their Time Over Decades - Old Fires"
ecology

Heat-Loving Microbes, Once Dormant, Thrive Over Decades-Old Fire

In harsh ecosystems around the world, microbiologists are finding evidence that “microbial seed banks” protect biodiversity from changing conditions.

Q&A

She Finds Clues to Future Sustainability in Old Food Webs

By reconstructing prehistoric food webs and analyzing the diverse interactions of humans with other species, the ecologist Jennifer Dunne is developing a new understanding of sustainability through network science.

Photo of the female penis structure of the cave insect Neotrogla aurora.
Abstractions blog

Why Evolution Reversed These Insects’ Sex Organs

Among these cave insects, the females evolved to have penises — twice. The reasons challenge common assumptions about sex.

Art for "Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor"
climate science

Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor

New work at the intersection of atmospheric science and ecology is finding that forests can influence rainfall and climate from across a continent.

Art for "How Nature Defies Math in Keeping Ecosystems Stable"
ecology

How Nature Defies Math in Keeping Ecosystems Stable

Paradoxically, the abundance of tight interactions among living species usually leads to disasters in ecological models. New analyses hint at how nature seemingly defies the math.

Q&A

On Waste Plastics at Sea, She Finds Unique Microbial Multitudes

Maria-Luiza Pedrotti is illuminating the unseen worlds of plastic-eating bacteria that teem in massive ocean garbage patches.