Ecology and environmental sciences


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Astronomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Complexity Computing and artificial intelligence Cosmology Deep time Earth science and climate Ecology and environmental sciences Engineering Evolution Genetics History of science Human evolution Human reproduction Illness and disease Mathematics Medicine Oceans and water Palaeontology Physics Quantum theory Space exploration

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Nature’s playbook

From termite queens to the carbon cycle, nature knows how to avoid network collapse. Human designers should pay heed

Ruth DeFries

Photo by Frederic Courbet / Panos Pictures

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Anthropology
What pastoralists know

Pastoralists are experts in managing extreme variability. In a volatile world economy, bankers should learn how they do it

Ian Scoones

A northern gannet (Morus bassanus) breeding colony on Heligoland, Germany. Photo by Brais Seara/Getty

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Evolution
Evolution’s engineers

Organisms do not evolve blindly under forces beyond their control, but shape and influence the evolutionary environment itself

Kevin Laland & Lynn Chiu

Water lilies in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Photo © Frans Lanting/Lanting.com

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Biology
Is the Earth an organism?

The Gaia hypothesis states that our biosphere is evolving. Once sceptical, some prominent biologists are beginning to agree

W Ford Doolittle

The snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus). Photo by Robbie George/The National Geographic Image Collection

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Being eaten

The fear of becoming a meal is a powerful evolutionary force that shapes brains, behaviour and entire ecosystems

Lesley Evans Ogden

Honeybees collect nectar from an Eryngium plant at Great Dixter in Northiam, East Sussex, on 4 August 2013. Photo by Chris Helgren/Reuters

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Animals and humans
The accidental beekeeper

The gift of a half-wanted hive took me into the world of bees, kept and wild: a place of generosity and attentiveness

Helen Jukes

Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG/Getty

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The environment
A vision for agriculture

We know how to replace toxic, intensive livestock raising with beautiful, efficient grasslands. Do we have the will?

Randall D Jackson

The infamous ‘London fog’, seen here on 17 November 1949. Two generations after the Clean Air Act of 1956, London seems much cleaner with Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission zones. Photo by Keystone/Getty

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The environment
Slow hope

Climate change is an emergency but despair is not the answer. The world is full of untold stories of people-powered change

Christof Mauch

A ranger strokes a young Rhino orphaned by poachers at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya, in May 2015. He was named ‘Hope’. Photo Tom Pilston/Panos

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Animals and humans
All we owe to animals

It is not enough to conserve species and ecosystems. We have an ethical duty to care for each individual animal on earth

Jeff Sebo

A firefighter battling the King Fire in Fresh Pond, California, on 17 September 2014. Photo by Noah Berger/Reuters

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Deep time
The planet is burning

Wild, feral and fossil-fuelled, fire lights up the globe. Is it time to declare that humans have created a Pyrocene?

Stephen J Pyne

Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images

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Food and drink
Homo gluttonous

Humans have evolved with little resistance to abundant, easy food. Will we gorge ourselves and our planet to death?

Louise Fabiani

A coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a threadworm, a parasitic nematode of the small intestines of numerous animals. Photo by Steve Geschmeissner/Science Photo Library

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Medicine
We need worms

You might think they are disgusting. But our war against intestinal worms has damaged our immune systems and mental health

William Parker

A lightning storm over the Taravo Valley on the French island of Corsica, 15 August 2018. Photo by Pascal Pochard Casabianca/Afp/Getty

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Earth science and climate
Flash!

It ignited life on Earth, propelled evolution, and now signals climate change. Yet what sparks lightning remains a mystery

Sidney Perkowitz