Ecology and environmental sciences


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Touchy, feely. Photo by Gerard Soury/Getty

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Biology
Keep smiling

Is there any reason to think dolphins and humans have a special relationship? Sure, but it might not be a friendly one

Justin Gregg

A deer tick picked up during a conservation walk through Wylde Woods in Dover, Massachusetts, 25 October 2010. Photo by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe/Getty

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Illness and disease
Ticks rising

In a warming world, ticks thrive in more places than ever before, making Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change

Mary Beth Pfeiffer

Photo by Vincenzo Penteriani

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Astronomy
Moonstruck

The lunar phases influence all sorts of creatures from corals to eagle owls. Does the Moon tug on human behaviour too?

Cameron Walker

Iberian Wolves are proliferating in the Sierra de la Culebra, Spain after an absence of a century. Photo by Steven Ruiter/NiS/Minden Pictures/Corbis

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Biology
Rethinking extinction

The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis

Stewart Brand

Photo by Ed Freeman/Getty

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Scorched Earth, 2200AD

Climate change has done its worst, and now just 500 million humans remain on lifeboats in the north. How do they survive?

Linda Marsa

‘Location of the sunken island Atlantis according to the Egyptians and Platon’s description.’ Athanasius Kircher, 1601-1680. Note that the map is oriented with south at the top. Photo by AKG

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Out of the deep

From Atlantis to Noah’s Ark, we have long been drawn to stories of submerged lands. What lies beneath the flood myths?

Edward Platt

Aerial view of salt ponds, Walvis Bay, Namibia. Photo by Frans Lanting/National Geographic

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Anthropocene fever

The Anthropocene idea has been embraced by Earth scientists and English professors alike. But how useful is it?

Jedediah Purdy

Chicago glows through a blanket of clouds. Photo by Jim Richardson/National Geographic

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Astronomy
The end of night

An eternal electric day is creeping across the globe, but our brains and bodies cannot cope in a world without darkness

Rebecca Boyle

A mother coyote on the sidewalk of the 1300 block of Larrabee Street, 3 June 2011, in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Getty

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Ecology and environmental sciences
A tale of three dogs

Coyotes, dingoes and wolves are all dogs, as intelligent and loyal as our familiars. Our treatment of them is unconscionable

Brandon Keim

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 2013. Photo by Jerome Sessini/Magnum

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Ecology and environmental sciences
The African Anthropocene

The Anthropocene feels different depending on where you are – too often, the ‘we’ of the world is white and Western

Gabrielle Hecht

Illustration by Tim McDonagh

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Earth’s holy fool?

Some scientists think that James Lovelock’s Gaia theory is nuts, but the public love it. Could both sides be right?

Michael Ruse

The Soča river valley in Western Slovenia. Photo by Lizzie Shepherd/Getty

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Accidental rewilding

In places once thick with farms and cities, human dispossession and war has cleared the ground for nature to return

George Monbiot

England 3,000 years ago was already as suburban as the outskirts of Basildon. Photo by Peter Marlow/Magnum

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Ecology and environmental sciences
The Sherwood syndrome

We picture ancient Britain as a land of enchanted forests. That’s a fantasy: axes have been ringing for a very long time

Hugh Thomson

Vultures wait to eat a corpse during a celestial burial ceremony on 29 October 2006 in Dari County of Guoluo Prefecture, Qinghai Province, northwest China. Photo by China Pictures/Getty

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Only connect

Buddhism and ecology both refuse to separate the human and natural worlds – and demand that we act accordingly

David P Barash

The world’s oldest living trees, bristlecone pines each stand on their own pedestal of dolomite rock, high in the Californian mountains All photos by Nick Paloukos

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Deep time
The vanishing groves

A chronicle of climates past and a portent of climates to come – the telling rings of the bristlecone pine

Ross Andersen

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

The grey wolf trio, Idaho, USA. Photo by Jim and Jamie Dutcher/National Geographic Creative

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Biology
The songs of the wolves

Wolves’ howls are eerie, beautiful and wild. But what are they actually saying to each other?

Holly Root-Gutteridge

Pea aphids from two color morphs. Photo by Thaddeus McRae

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Ecology and environmental sciences
The gene that jumped

Genes that leap from one species to another are more common than we thought. Does this shake up the tree of life?

Ferris Jabr

Camponotus ants alongside plant-eating bugs on a cocoa plant in Ghana. All photos by David Hughes

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Ant farm

History tells us that plant diseases cause famines, pestilence and war. Now one is coming for our chocolate

Ed Yong

Farmfield II by Doug Landreth. Photo by Doug Landreth/Corbis

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Farming the apocalypse

When my life came crashing down I took shelter on my farm, surviving with 11th-century tools like the sickle and scythe

Keith Ferrell

The projected Tianjin Eco City, China. Illustration courtesy of Surbana Urban Planning Group

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Ecology and environmental sciences
This world is enough

For the first time in history we could end poverty while protecting the global environment. But do we have the will?

John Quiggin