Biodiversity

To construct her sculptures, artist Phaan Howng used 3-D prints of plants in the Smithsonian Gardens collection, then mounted them onto a steel armature and base. They were then modified and finished with resin, resin foam, foam air dry clay, EVA foam and acrylic paint.

Fantastical Art Joins Hundreds of Blooming Orchids to Shed Light on Conservation Efforts

Smithsonian Gardens’ 28th annual orchid exhibition is underway at the Kogod Courtyard

Farmers have shown a renewed interest in planting coffee in the shade of other plants. The resulting farms are visited by a multitude of creatures from ants to birds to bats.

How Shade Coffee Aids Conservation

When managed in the right way, the farms that provide our morning brew can be a refuge for plant and animal biodiversity

Electric eels can discharge up to 860 volts of electricity.

Eels Can Genetically Modify Nearby Fish With Their Electrical Pulses

In laboratory experiments, gene transfer occurred in 5 percent of zebrafish larvae that were near eels when they discharged electricity

Dividing the estimated length of 240,000 miles of stone wall by the geographic area of the New England heartland yields about six linear miles of stone per square mile of land.

How Stone Walls Became a Signature Landform of New England

Originally built as barriers between fields and farms, the region’s abandoned farmstead walls have since become the binding threads of its cultural fabric

Though beachgoers are not allowed to go swimming, they can lounge in beach chairs and sit under the shade of umbrellas. 

Manhattan's First Public Beach Opens Along the Hudson River

The new 5.5-acre recreation space includes a sandy shore, sports field, picnic area and boardwalk—but swimming isn't allowed

Rafflesia kemumu in the rainforest of Sumatra.

The World's Largest and Smelliest Flower Is at Risk of Extinction, Scientists Say

Researchers are calling for urgent protections for corpse flowers in the Rafflesia genus, which live only in remote rainforests of Southeast Asia

A glistening-green tanager sits in the crook of a leaf.

See Ten Stunning Images From the Bird Photographer of the Year Awards

The annual contest unveiled its winners this month, recognizing skilled captures from a striking falcon to grouse performing a courtship display

A quarry in the Cerro Blanco Forest in southern Ecuador, which is facing threats from construction and deforestation.

Humans Have Exceeded Six of the Nine Boundaries Keeping Earth Habitable

Scientists find we are “well outside the safe operating space for humanity” in a new study meant to assess the health of our planet

A team including research scientists at Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute became the first in the world to successfully cryopreserve coral using a technique called isochronic vitrification.

Scientists Cryopreserve and Revive Coral Fragments in a World First for Conservation

The new freezing technique could reinvigorate corals suffering from warming oceans—or even preserve human organs in the future

Fork-tailed drongos have a signature color and pattern on their eggs, which helps them avoid getting duped by African cuckoos.

How These Birds Can Spot Look-Alike 'Imposter' Eggs in Their Nests

Fork-tailed drongos can identify and reject egg forgeries, laid by African cuckoos, with nearly 94 percent accuracy, new research suggests

The so-called puss caterpillars have sharp spines that can inject powerful venom into humans.

Scientists Reveal Why Asp Caterpillar Stings Are So Excruciatingly Painful

A toxin in the insect's venom, which can punch a hole in cell walls, could inspire new drug-delivery methods in humans

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