NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future.
We monitor Earthâ€™s vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world.
Scientists worldwide use NASA data to tackle some of the biggest questions about how our planet is changing now and how Earth could change in the future. From rising sea levels to the changing availability of freshwater, NASA enables studies that unravel the complexities of our planet from the highest reaches of Earthâ€™s atmosphere to its core.
NASAâ€™s Earth science work also makes a difference in peopleâ€™s lives around the world every day. From farms to our national parks, from todayâ€™s response to natural disasters to tomorrowâ€™s air quality, from the Arctic to the Amazon, NASA is working for you 24/7.
NASAâ€™s expertise in space and scientific exploration contributes to essential services provided to the American people by other federal agencies, such as weather forecasting and natural resource management.
All of this new knowledge about our home planet enables policy makers, government agencies and other stakeholders to make more informed decisions on critical issues that occur all around the world.
An unprecedented 40-year experiment in a 40,000-acre valley of Yosemite National Park strongly supports the idea that managing fire, rather than suppressing it, makes wilderness areas more resilient to fire, with the added benefit of increased water availability and resistance to drought.
Global biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, putting the survival of other species and our own future at risk. The latest edition of WWFâ€™s Living Planet Report brings home the enormity of the situation – and how we can start to put it right. The Living Planet Index reveals that global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012. We could witness a two-thirds decline in the half-century from 1970 to 2020 â€“ unless we act now to reform our food and energy systems and meet global commitments on addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity and supporting sustainable development.
Non-native plants reduce the diversity of insect populations in gardens, even where the non-native plants are closely related to the native plants, new research shows. The goal of this research was to understand how the composition of the plants that homeowners plant in their yards affects herbivore communities.
The Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES) pioneered the small watershed technique as a method of studying ecosystem processes. This long-term ecological research is conducted within the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), a 3,160 hectare reserve in the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire, owned/managed by the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. On-site research has produced some of the most extensive and longest continuous data bases on the hydrology, biology, geology and chemistry of a forest and its associated aquatic ecosystems. Resources at Hubbard Brook The northeastern United States has a forest ecosystem that provides us with a stable water flow, pure water quality, recreational opportunities, diverse wildlife and a variety of forest products. The future of this resource depends on good management practices and a good understanding of this ecosystem.
The Research The pioneering research at Hubbard Brook has its origins in expanding on our understanding of the science of water and chemical element cycles, soil microbial activity, soil chemical reactions, the effects of deforestation, and land management practices. That research has now expanded to include wildlife habitats, geology, and studies of human impacts on our environment, and assessment of potential methods of mitigating that impact. The diversity of research offers our next generation of scientists a good foundation in interdisciplinary collaboration and in sharing their scientific-based results.
iNaturalist is a place where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world.
From hikers to hunters, birders to beach-combers, the world is filled with naturalists, and many of us record what we find. What if all those observations could be shared online? You might discover someone who finds beautiful wildflowers at your favorite birding spot, or learn about the birds you see on the way to work. If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies undertakes world-best integrated research for sustainable use and management of coral reefs.
Funded in July 2005 under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence program this prestigious research centre is headquartered at James Cook University, in Townsville. The ARC Centre is a partnership of James Cook University (JCU), the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), The Australian National University (ANU), the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), The University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of Western Australia (UWA).
The ARC Centre of Excellence cements Australiaâ€™s leading contribution to coral reef sciences, and fosters stronger collaborative links between the major partners and 24 other leading institutions in nine countries. According to ISI Essential Science Indicators, four of the ARC Centreâ€™s major research partners rank in the top 20 institutions world-wide for citations for coral reef science with JCU ranking 1st (among 1644 institutions in 103 countries) (http://esi-topics.com/coralreef/inst/c1a.html). Collectively, the ARC Centre creates the worldâ€™s largest concentration of coral reef scientists.
Pre-colonial Pacific Island societies by and large existed at human population densities that were far below the carrying capacity of their coastal fisheries and pressure from commercial fishing was non-existent. As a consequence island communities did not â€˜encounter the limitsâ€™ of their coastal subsistence fisheries. People went about their daily lives harvesting from the sea and blissfully unaware that fish and marine invertebrate populations could be overfished to the point of collapse.
Now that human populations are growing almost exponentially and export markets for some fisheries are intensifying, there is an urgent need for the effective communication of a scientific understanding of the limits to fisheries and the life cycles of marine organisms overall. Fish and People is a 50 minute production divided into 5 educational modules explaining the â€˜stock-recruitment relationshipâ€™ in an easily accessible manner and with a cleverly crafted portfolio of explanatory graphics and natural history vision. It deals with species that are of economic and ecological importance and thus immediately familiar to a Pacific (and broader) audience. The modules are tailored for middle and upper high school students and wider communities and are accompanied by a comprehensive teacherâ€™s guide.
By empowering a critical mass of young adults with a clear understanding of how overfishing destroys fisheries and food security, they will potentially innovate their own, â€˜bottom-upâ€™ fisheries management strategies as they assume positions of influence within the community, as well as gaining a greater understanding of the need for compliance with â€˜top-downâ€™ management approaches such as size limits, gear restrictions, trade agreements and quotas.
Fish and People has been scripted by marine biologists Simon Foale and Russell Kelley, and produced by The Eco Media Production Group.
Protected areas are widely considered essential for biodiversity conservation. However, few global studies have demonstrated that protection benefits a broad range of species. Here, using a new global biodiversity database with unprecedented geographic and taxonomic coverage, we compare four biodiversity measures at sites sampled in multiple land uses inside and outside protected areas. Globally, species richness is 10.6% higher and abundance 14.5% higher in samples taken inside protected areas compared with samples taken outside, but neither rarefaction-based richness nor endemicity differ significantly. Importantly, we show that the positive effects of protection are mostly attributable to differences in land use between protected and unprotected sites. Nonetheless, even within some human-dominated land uses, species richness and abundance are higher in protected sites. Our results reinforce the global importance of protected areas but suggest that protection does not consistently benefit species with small ranges or increase the variety of ecological niches.
Chronic and episodic water shortages are becoming common in many regions of the United States, and population growth in water-scarce regions further compounds the challenges. Increasingly, alternative water sources such as graywater (untreated wastewater that does not include water from the toilet but generally includes water from bathroom sinks, showers, bathtubs, clothes washers, and laundry sinks) and stormwater (water from rainfall or snow that can be measured downstream in a pipe, culvert, or stream shortly after the precipitation event) are being viewed as resources to supplement scarce water supplies rather than as waste to be discharged as rapidly as possible. Graywater and stormwater can serve a range of non-potable uses, including irrigation, toilet flushing, washing, and cooling, although treatment may be needed. Stormwater may also be used to recharge groundwater, which may ultimately be tapped for potable use. In addition to providing additional sources of local water supply, harvesting stormwater has many potential benefits, including energy savings, pollution prevention, and reducing the impacts of urban development on urban streams. Similarly, the reuse of graywater can enhance water supply reliability and extend the capacity of existing wastewater systems in growing cities.