Browse Journal Highlights
What Will Redwood Trees Do Without Foggy Days?
Editors' Highlight— Coastal California fog—a key source of water for the iconic redwood tree—has declined by a third. Can a trace gas, carbonyl sulfide, be used to assess the effect on plant productivity? Carbonyl sulfide (COS) is a trace gas that exists in minute quantities: around five molecules for.... more
What Drives Carbon Isotope Fractionation by the Terrestrial Biosphere?
Commentary— During photosynthesis, terrestrial plants preferentially assimilate the lighter and much more abundant form of carbon, 12C, which accounts for roughly 99% of naturally occurring forms of this element. This photosynthetic preference for lighter carbon is driven principally by differences.... more
The magic of fairy circles: Built or created?
Commentary— Fairy circles are rings of relatively dense grass in arid regions with sparse vegetation. The most famous examples are found in the Namib Desert. There has been an ongoing debate regarding the origin of these features, and a recent paper by Ravi et al. (2017) sheds some light on this situation..... more
A Better Way to Probe Peat
Research Spotlight— Florida scientists use ground-penetrating radar to image underground carbon stores in the Disney Wilderness Preserve. Millions of years before it can turn into coal, dead and decaying organic matter exists as a dark, spongy, carbon-rich material called peat. When layers of peat become.... more
Scientists Probe Water Inside Leaves via Satellite
Research Spotlight— Improving satellite-based studies of vegetation optical depth, a critical ecosystem indicator. Sensors on board satellites are able to detect a host of environmental metrics, from Arctic sea ice melt to the reproductive patterns of mule deer to logging and land clearing. One satellite-based.... more
Mossy Oaks Are Dripping with Organic Matter
Research Spotlight— Epiphyte-bearing trees leach carbon when it rains. The live oak forests of Savannah, Ga., are famous for their ghostly, gray-green curtains of Spanish moss. The moss belongs to a group of plants called epiphytes, which live in the branches and trunks of trees and get everything they.... more
Why Mountainous Upland Forests Emit So Much Methane
Research Spotlight— New research suggests that moist tree heartwood produces methane and emits the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. Methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, has increased in the atmosphere by roughly 150% since the preindustrial era. Although much methane comes from wetlands.... more
Exploring the hydrological impacts of tree dieoffs in a semi-arid woodland
Editors' Highlight— The death of piñon-juniper trees following the recent drought in the southwestern United States has received much attention. However, there are remarkably few detailed field-based measurements of the hydrologic impacts on mortality and this paper presents a well-designed experiment.... more
Searching for Organic Carbon in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica
Editors' Highlight— Researchers identify the first evidence of microbial respiration in desiccated Antarctic permafrost soils. Few organisms can survive in the upper reaches of the windswept McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. In the high, desiccated, “ultraxerous zone,” ice rarely if ever melts, and.... more
Sandy Beaches Are Hotbeds of Biochemical Activity
Research Spotlight— A new study explores the role of wet sand in coastal ecology. Most beachgoers enjoying the Sun and surf don’t think very much about the wet sand beneath their feet. But this soggy, sandy zone is of prime ecological importance. Nutrients and contaminants leach into the marine environment.... more
Eos.org: Earth & Space Science News
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