Ecology

Environmental scientist Alexandra Ordoñez Alvarez from the University of Queensland collects data in Far Northern Great Barrier Reef on Ashmore Bank.

Scientists Complete the First Map of the World's Coral Reefs

Nearly 100,000 square miles of the organism have been charted in high detail to create a tool for conservationists to help save them

Liz Orton photographed seeds sent to Kew Gardens in London as long as a century ago.

Art Meets Science

Take a Virtual Tour of Artworks Inspired by Efforts to Preserve Plant Biodiversity

A traveling exhibition showcases five artists whose creations engage with science and ecology

Paleontologist François Therrien measures the jaws of a Gorgosaurus.

Tyrannosaurs Dominated Their Cretaceous Ecosystems

Studies of body size and bite force show that the predators, from babies to adults, filled many niches in their environment

This map shows how land and ocean temperatures have changed from June 2021 relative to the 1951-1980 base period. High values (darker red colors) indicate temperatures that are higher than those in the base period. The number in the top right is an estimate of the global mean temperature increase. All temperatures are in Celsius.

New Research

Study Measuring Earth's Vital Signs Warns of Climate Tipping Points

The authors say tropical coral reefs, the Amazon rainforest, and the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets may have passed dangerous tipping points

Feral hogs wreak havoc on the ecosystems they invade, and new research suggests they're also contributing to climate change by releasing 1.1 million cars-worth of carbon dioxide every year.

New Research

Feral Pigs Release 1.1 Million Cars-Worth of Planet-Warming Carbon Dioxide Every Year

The study's results add exacerbating climate change to the list of environmental impacts ascribed to this invasive species

Neurotoxins secreted by the algae Karenia brevis kill marine life including fish, dolphins and manatees

More Than 600 Tons of Dead Sea Life Wash Up on Florida Coast Amid Red Tide

Crews cleaned up nine tons of dead fish in just 24 hours after Tropical Storm Elsa pushed the fish toward shore

Little is known about the zombie frog and its cousins. They are rather plump with narrow mouths and pointed noses. The small, nocturnal amphibians of the genus Synapturanus live mostly underground.

How the Newly Discovered, Mud-Loving 'Zombie' Frog Got Its Name

German team discovers new amphibian species and two others deep in Amazon rainforest

Dried sea snot on the surface of the water can be so strong that seagulls can walk on it, and it can damage fishing boat motors.

Turkey Begins to Clean Smelly Sea Snot From Its Shores

The layer of marine mucilage threatens not only tourism and fishing boats but also creatures living in the Sea of Marmara

This bison calf, standing in the doorway of a barn on the Blackfeet Reservation, is a symbol of hope for the Blackfoot people.

When the Bison Return, Will Their Habitat Rebound?

An effort to bring wild bison to the Great Plains aims to restore one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems

The research team treks through the Alaskan wilderness, seeking an answer to the mysteries of how climate change is affecting the environment.

A Journey to the Northernmost Tree in Alaska

Explorer Roman Dial leads a team of young scientists on a mission to document a rapidly changing landscape

Each year, nearly 20,000 Wisconsin residents collide with deer each year, which leads to about 477 injuries and eight deaths annually.

New Research

By Creating a 'Landscape of Fear,' Wolves Reduce Car Collisions With Deer

A new study in Wisconsin suggests the predators keep prey away from roads, reducing crashes by 24 percent

A ghost forest on Capers Island, South Carolina.

New Research

'Tree Farts' Raise Ghost Forests' Carbon Emissions

As sea level rise poisons woodlands with saltwater, more work is needed to understand these ecosystems' contributions to climate change

A 17-year Brood X cicada.

Smithsonian Voices

Will 17-Year Cicadas Be a Buffet or Big Disturbance for Birds?

Local songbirds, including chickadees, bluebirds and cardinals, will take advantage of their abundance and Smithsonian scientists are eager to study

Google Earth image of a healthy forest on the lower right and a ghost forest full of dead trees on the left.

Why Ecologists Are Haunted by the Rapid Growth of Ghost Forests

A study in North Carolina of dying trees may represent a foreboding preview of what may come to coastal ecosystems worldwide

Iran's Lake Urmia, once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, is vanishing due to climate change.

Innovation for Good

Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can't?

A new subgenre of science fiction leans on the expertise of biologists and ecologists to imagine a scientifically plausible future Earth

Smithsonian ecologist Andy Boyce reported the rediscovery and photographed the elusive Bornean subspecies of the Rajah scops owl, Otus brookii brookii, in the mountainous forests of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia.

Rare Owl With Bright Orange Eyes Seen for the First Time in More Than 125 Years

The elusive Bornean Rajah scops owl is inspiring scientists and researchers after its brief rediscovery

“We think of fire often as this destructive tool,” says lead author Jessica Thompson. “That doesn’t have to be the case.”

Cool Finds

Did Stone Age Humans Shape the African Landscape With Fire 85,000 Years Ago?

New research centered on Lake Malawi may provide the earliest evidence of people using flames to improve land productivity

A donkey digging a well in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.

New Research

Wild Donkeys and Horses Dig Wells That Provide Water for a Host of Desert Species

A new study finds these equine wells attracted 59 other vertebrate species, boasting 64 percent more species than the surrounding landscape

The Sts’ailes forest garden near Vancouver, British Columbia seen from the air.

New Research

Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia Tended 'Forest Gardens'

Found near villages, research suggests the Indigenous population intentionally planted and maintained these patches of fruit and nut trees

Grasses and coastal scrub photographed at Salt Point State Park in Northern California. This park is one of several coastal areas researchers surveyed as part of a new study of disease-carrying ticks.

New Research

California Study Finds Lyme Disease-Carrying Ticks by the Beach

Researchers found as many ticks carrying the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in coastal areas as they did in woodlands