Taxonomy term

bethany augliere

Benchmarks: November 16, 1990: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is established

Off the tip of the Florida Peninsula lies the world’s third-largest living coral reef, the Great Florida Reef. The only barrier reef system in North America, it is composed of a system of individual reefs that together extend 270 kilometers south of Miami through the Florida Keys, a crescent-shaped chain of more than 1,500 islands, about 30 of which are inhabited. This ecological treasure is home to more than 6,000 species of marine life, including colorful fish and endangered sea turtles, as well as extensive seagrass beds, mangrove islands and about 1,000 shipwrecks.

16 Nov 2018

Down to Earth With: Geologist Robert Brinkmann

As a child, Robert Brinkmann was always curious about rocks. He wondered how they got where they were and why they were different from each other. Brinkmann grew up in the farm country of southeastern Wisconsin, as well as in the woods in the northern part of the state. After one of his first geology classes in college, he went home and finally understood what he was looking at. “It was such an eye-opening experience to be able to read the landscape,” Brinkmann says.

09 Nov 2018

Benchmarks: October 11, 1899: Second Boer War begins, fueled by discovery of gold

The 1886 discovery of gold on a farm in the Witwatersrand region of southern Africa drove the growth of Johannesburg, and gold mining has aided the South African economy for more than a century since. But gold, and diamonds, also fueled the Second Boer War, one of the most destructive armed conflicts in Africa’s history. The war resulted in the deaths of nearly 100,000 people, including tens of thousands of Boer women and children who died in British concentration camps. The consequences of the war, including gold mining’s lasting environmental legacy, and the rise of Afrikaner nationalism that reinforced apartheid, are still felt today.

11 Oct 2018

European mammals will struggle under climate change

As temperatures on Earth rise, many animals have already begun migrating to more amenable climates, shifting their ranges. But not all animals will be able to relocate, according to a new study in the journal Diversity and Distributions.

20 Aug 2018

Benchmarks: July 29, 1958: The Birth of NASA

Growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., meant that my house was often frequented by guests who wanted to visit our nation’s capital. Without fail, this meant my family and I would be taking a trip to one of the Smithsonian’s most popular attractions, the National Air and Space Museum. I can’t count the number of times I visited the museum before I left for college, but it was a lot. Although glimpsing the museum’s collection of aircraft and spacecraft was cool at first, I would much rather have spent those afternoons wandering the halls of the National Museum of Natural History.

29 Jul 2018

Cretaceous volcanic ash seeded U.S. oilfields

Petroleum and natural gas stores are often found amid rocks — particularly ashbeds — deposited during the Cretaceous, when dinosaurs roamed Earth and abundant volcanic arcs lined the edges of the continents.

10 Jul 2018

Tracking Hurricane Harvey's freshwater plume

On Aug. 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas coast as an unexpected Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 209 kilometers per hour. After rapidly intensifying over the Gulf of Mexico, it hovered over southeastern Texas for days, slowly weakening as it dumped 68 trillion liters of water onto the land — more than three times the volume of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

30 Jun 2018

Down to Earth With: Highway paleontologist Shane Tucker

When roads are built in fossil-rich states, paleontologists sometimes follow the trucks and bulldozers to make sure that the buried treasures that construction crews occasionally uncover — namely, remnants of ancient animals and plants — get out of the ground safely and into a museum to be cataloged and studied.

27 Jun 2018

Radium levels suggest Arctic Ocean chemistry is changing

Rising temperatures have already caused changes in the Arctic environment, like diminishing sea ice and thawing permafrost. Now, it appears that sea-ice loss could be throwing Arctic Ocean chemistry out of whack.

24 Apr 2018

Hot tropics drove out ancient reptiles, but they came back

About 252 million years ago, massive volcanic eruptions in what is now Siberia rapidly warmed Earth, resulting in the end-Permian mass extinction that saw most terrestrial and marine species die off. It’s been thought that surviving reptiles and fish fled the hot tropics and didn’t return for millions of years. But according to new research, the tropical evacuation may not have lasted so long after all.

21 Apr 2018

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