What Would Happen If All The Earth's Microbes Suddenly Disappeared?

It's generally agreed that life on this planet would not be possible if it weren't for microbes. In a fascinating thought experiment, a pair of biologists scrutinized this assumption to find out. As their paper makes clear, a microbe-free world would be a strange place, indeed. » 12/17/14 9:40am 12/17/14 9:40am

How A Single Parasite Species Can Change Every Life-Form Around It

Parasites are nature's freeloaders, living off their hosts while giving nothing in return. But scientists have come to appreciate that even the greediest parasites can indirectly benefit other species by manipulating ecosystems—providing food, assisting predators and even building habitats. » 10/17/14 11:00am 10/17/14 11:00am

As cities grow, their populations become more diverse — on a species level. As we move into the future, many wild animals will be living in urban areas alongside humans and their pets. Now, urban planners are figuring out new ways to make urban species diversity possible — without killing anyone. » 10/09/14 4:21pm 10/09/14 4:21pm

The Radical Plan To Phase Out Earth's Predatory Species

Should animals be permitted to hunt and kill other animals? Some futurists believe that humans should intervene, and solve the "problem" of predator vs. prey once and for all. We talked to the man who wants to use radical ecoengineering to put an end to the carnage. » 7/30/14 11:36am 7/30/14 11:36am

How to Rebuild a Broken Ecosystem — Yes, You Can Do It, Too!

A couple of months ago, people wandering in the ruins of the Sutro Baths on San Francisco's Ocean Beach noticed something odd. An otter was swimming around in what was, 120 years ago, a giant luxury pool at the water's edge. Now the place is so eroded that it looks more like part of the natural landscape. Clearly… » 1/08/13 2:28pm 1/08/13 2:28pm

Woman with eye infection had an entire microbial ecosystem in her…

There's a reason why optometrists say you should regularly replenish your contact lens solution and throw out your lenses after the expiry date. Last year, a young woman contracted an eye infection after using tap water to dilute her cleaning solution, and while wearing contact lenses that were two months past their… » 10/17/12 7:05am 10/17/12 7:05am

Earth's Ecosystems Look Juicy When Seen From Space

Brazil's Sao Simao Reservoir looks like a painted scifi planetscape in this photo, taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. Astronaut photos from the ISS help with understanding and managing complex ecosystems like wetlands and coral reefs. But mostly they just look fucking cool. This is the 300,000th… » 1/14/08 6:20am 1/14/08 6:20am