Articles on Nitrogen

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Harmful algal bloom caused by nutrient pollution, Assateague island National Seashore, MD. Eric Vance, U.S. EPA/Flickr

Reducing water pollution with microbes and wood chips

Excess nutrients from farm fields cause widespread water pollution across the U.S. Bioreactors -- essentially, ditches filled with wood chips -- are emerging as a way to reduce nutrient pollution.
Nitrogen pollution is one of the factors driving outbreaks of crown-of-thorns - giant starfish that devour the reef. Kenneth Taylor Jr/Flickr

High-tech fertilisers and innovation have to come to the Great Barrier Reef’s rescue

The latest Great Barrier Reef report shows some improvements to water quality over the past five years, but there's still a lot to do on one particular problem: nitrogen.
Australian farmers apply nearly a million tonnes of nitrogen-based fertilisers every year. Pete Hill/Flickr

Meet N2O, the greenhouse gas 300 times worse than CO2

When we talk about greenhouse gases we usually talk about carbon dioxide. When media reports depict climate change, we invariably see the cooling towers of a coal power station. Which is fair, because…
Enjoy the color while you can before climate change makes a mess of this too. chensiyuan

Fall foliage in the crosshairs of climate change

One of nature’s most spectacular events occurs every autumn, when the leaves of hardwood trees burst into brilliant color before falling to the ground. These autumnal displays in the eastern United States…
Megafauna such as Glyptodon were muck-spreaders. Pavel Riha

Megafauna extinction affects ecosystems 12,000 years later

If Earth were like a human body, large animals might be its arteries, moving nutrients from where they’re abundant to where they’re needed. Currently the planet has large regions where life is limited…
Overuse of nitrogen fertiliser can have nasty environmental consequences. eutrophication&hypoxia/Flickr

Agriculture’s hunger for nitrogen oversteps planetary boundaries

Planet Earth has boundaries for its biophysical subsystems. By 2009, we had already exceeded three of the boundaries – climate change, biodiversity loss, and the nitrogen cycle. Climate change is a top-of-mind…

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