What's up in

ecology

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.

Biology

Scientists Map 5,000 New Ocean Viruses

In the few decades since viruses were first found in the oceans, scientists have only been able to identify a handful of species. A new survey has uncovered nearly all the rest.

Ships Docking
ecology

Lizard Stowaways Revise Principle of Ecology

The movement of lizards around the Caribbean is forcing researchers to account for human activity in even their most basic ecological models.

ecology

The Thermodynamic Theory of Ecology

Nature’s large-scale patterns emerge from incomplete surveys that borrow ideas from information theory.

Maple leaves.
botany

The Secret Language of Plants

Striking evidence that plants warn each other of environmental dangers is reviving a once ridiculed field.