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earth matters
science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment

Evolution of Earth and Life

coral in Bikini atoll
June 28, 2017
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Stanford researchers are exploring how corals that re-colonized Bikini Atoll after nuclear bomb tests 70 years ago have adapted to persistent radiation. Their work is featured in a PBS series.

May 10, 2017

A new analysis by Stanford researchers reveals that the ideal temperature for the spread of mosquito-born diseases like dengue, chikungunya and Zika is 29 degrees C. This finding helps predict disease outbreaks in a warming world.

bacteria drawings
May 1, 2017

A new study reveals that organic matter whose breakdown would yield only minimal energy for hungry microorganisms preferentially builds up in floodplains, illuminating a new mechanism of carbon sequestration.

asteroid impact
April 13, 2017

The dino-killing asteroid that crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico could have generated massive seismic waves that triggered earthquakes as far away as Colorado, in a region where no previous fault existed, according to research by Stanford Earth's Norm Sleep. 

March 28, 2017

An interdisciplinary group of researchers compared Antarctic biodiversity and its management with global trends to determine the region’s outlook is more similar to the rest of the world than previously believed. The Antarctic region, which is home to a wide array of native species, drives global Earth systems processes such as climate, ocean circulation, and sea level rise.

March 16, 2017

A model of ion flux in the oceans shows carbon dioxide driving ocean acidity.

Point Lobos rock formations
March 2, 2017
<p>Tourists flock to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve near Monterey, Calif., for its breathtaking coastal views and glimpses of the playful sea otters and other marine mammals that can be found among its waters. But the site has long attracted geologists for a very different reason.</p>
grey reef shark
January 31, 2017

Researchers at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station find that expanded marine protected areas are successful in limiting fishing and increasing reef shark populations.

grass flowers
January 20, 2017

A fatty molecule once thought to be unique to flowering plants has turned up in bacteria skimmed from the Adriatic Sea and may provide biotech insights.

Jon Payne holding whale vertebrae
December 19, 2016

Some of our favorite research stories from Stanford Earth scholars in 2016.

October 3, 2016
Stanford Earth professor Jon Payne puts modern extinction in context by comparing them with Earth's five previous mass extinctions.