Satellite photo of an algal bloom in western Lake Erie, July 28, 2015.
NASA Earth Observatory
Nutrient pollution fouls lakes and bays with algae, killing fish and threatening public health. Progress curbing it has been slow, mainly because of farm pollution.
A farmer spreads fertilizer on a field in Berks County, Pa.
Harold Hoch/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images
Farmers are contending with huge spikes in fertilizer prices. The Biden administration is paying US companies to boost synthetic fertilizer production, but there are other, more sustainable options.
Children participate in a water fight in Lake Ontario in Mississauga, Ontario, during a heat wave on June 5, 2021.
Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty Images
Cleaning up the Great Lakes was a big job when the US and Canada undertook it in 1972. Today it’s far more challenging.
Chlorella, a species of microalgae grown for the ALG-AD project in Devon.
The inside of story of a pioneering programme to convert nitrogen into microalgae that can generate sustainable animal feed.
Any climate gains from Japan’s shift will be wiped out entirely unless Australia moves to zero-emissions ammonia production.
When not hibernating, ground squirrels need to feast to store energy.
Months not eating or moving don’t result in muscle wasting and loss of function for animals that hibernate. New research found gut microbes help their hosts hold onto and use nitrogen to build proteins.
Many of our planet’s ecosystems depend on the health of soil.
If we want to reduce carbon emissions and preserve planetary ecosystems, we need to protect our soils.
An assortment of legumes.
Legumes have a superpower: they can convert nitrogen in the air into a form plants can use to grow.
A lack of policy has allowed industrial chicken farms to multiply in certain parts of the UK – with a lack of consideration of the environmental and social impacts.
Scientists need to know how much we can rely on the land to offset our emissions.
A helicopter drops water on a forest fire in Alaska.
Michael Risinger/U.S. Army National Guard
A new study finds more deciduous trees like aspen are growing in after severe fires in the region, and that has some unexpected impacts.
Tampa Bay’s sea grass meadows need sunlight to thrive. Algae blooms block that light and can be toxic to marine life.
Joe Whalen Caulerpa/Tampa Bay Estuary Program via Unsplash
Harmful algae blooms are an increasing problem in Florida. Once nutrients are in the water to fuel them, little can be done to stop the growth, and the results can be devastating for marine life.
Multiple queens ensure colonies have a steady output of workers.
The spread of tawny crazy ants may be driven, in part, by their need for calcium. The calcium-rich limestone bedrock of the lower U.S. Midwest may provide ideal conditions for populations to explode.
If rolled out worldwide, our method could replace a quarter of all the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser used in agriculture.
Corn plants in a flooded field near Emden, Ill., May 29, 2019.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
New research shows that one-third of yearly nitrogen runoff from Midwest farms to the Gulf of Mexico occurs during a few heavy rainstorms. New fertilizing schedules could reduce nitrogen pollution.
Agriculture is the dominant cause for the increasing N₂O concentrations. Emissions must be reduced if we hope to stabilise Earth’s climate.
Breathing pure oxygen would be like fireworks exploding in your body. And that’s not always a good thing.
You might think the more oxygen you breathe in the better. But too much oxygen can make you sick.
It’s painfully clear nature is buckling under the weight of farming’s demands. There’s another way – but it involves accepting nature’s limits.
Planting cover crops, like this red clover in Sussex County, Delaware, can help return carbon to farm fields.
Michele Dorsey Walfred/Flickr
Storing more carbon in soil helps slow climate change and makes croplands more productive. But there are two kinds of soil carbon that are both important, but function very differently.
The red tip on these matches contains phosphorus, which ignites when in contact with oxygen.
The elements that make up each column of the periodic table share a set of common traits. Here, a chemist describes group 15 and the crucial role phosphorus, in particular, plays in cancer.