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Environmental Research & Education

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About NSF's Environmental Research and Education Programs

NSF support for environmental research and education (ERE) is focused on understanding how physical, biological and human systems interact. Examples include studies of ecosystem dynamics, atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemical cycles, political and economic processes, coastal ocean processes, population biology, physiological ecology, Earth system history, and the influence of the sun on the Earth.

NSF supports research that addresses questions related to the preservation, management and enhancement of the environment such as air and water quality, biodiversity, environmental technology, natural disaster reduction, freshwater and marine resources, and risk assessment.

ERE Discoveries

Part 1: Can Marcellus Shale Gas Development and Healthy Waterways Sustainably Coexist?
National Science Foundation Sustainability Research Coordination Network is Providing Answers

Part 2: Trouble in Paradise: Ocean Acidification This Way Comes
Sustainability of tropical corals in question, but some species developing survival mechanisms

Part 3: Biodiversity of Earth's Richest Plant Kingdom Under Fire
In response to climate change, will a postage-sized-domain move uphill--and ultimately out of room?

Part 4: Studying Nature's Rhythms: Soundscape Scientists Spawn New Field
Listen to biophony, geophony, anthrophony: The 'music' of Planet Earth

Part 5: The Snows of Mount Washington
Climate and environmental change in the U.S. northeast corridor

Part 6: Cry Me a River: Following a Watershed's Winding Path to Sustainability
National Science Foundation "Water, Sustainability and Climate" award fosters new view of urban rivers, lakes

Part 7: Earth Week: A Stream Is a Stream Is a Stream: Or Is It?
Scientists ford high-mountain waterways in North, South America to find out

Part 8: Cooking Up Clean Air in Africa
Reducing air pollution and meningitis risk in Ghana

Part 9: Blue Mussels "Hang On" Along Rocky Shores: For How Long?
Mussels' anchors--byssal threads--weakened by ocean acidification

Part 10: Summertime: Hot Time in the City
Parks are islands of coolness in cities' urban heat

Part 11: Ghosts of Forests Past: Bark Beetles Kill Lodgepole Pines, Affecting Entire Watersheds
Bark beetle epidemic changing water quality as well as forest health

Part 12: Staple of recipe favorites--the tomato--reveals processes that maintain biodiversity
No hothouse plants: Study examines supermarket tomatoes' wild relatives, which live in the Earth's most extreme environments

Part 13: Is white--or green--the new black in cities?
How effective are white roofs, green roofs, and other urban heat-reducing technologies?

Part 14: Earth Week: Bark beetles change Rocky Mountain stream flows, affect water quality
What happens when millions of dead trees, killed by beetles, no longer need water?

Part 15: Earth Day is on the horizon. But is 'greener' always better?
Not when it's the bright green waters of algae-fouled lakes and rivers

Part 16: Scientists map sustainability challenges in Baja California Sur fisheries
Conduct review of ecological and social data for 12 regions around Baja

Part 17: Coral reefs defy ocean acidification odds in Palau
Palau reefs show few of the predicted responses

Part 18: Wildlife species provide clues to spread of antibiotic resistance in Africa
Scientists uncover ways exposure increases, and resistance moves among humans, other animals, ecosystems

Part 19: Earth Day: New insights into coral health hidden in reefs' microbiomes
Inner microbial ecosystems keep reef-building corals and other animals 'in the pink'

Part 20: Caribbean bat species need 8 million years to recover from recent extinction waves
Bats include the fishing bat, vampire bats and many fig-eating species

Part 21: When human illness increases in natural resource-dependent areas, the environment suffers
Study challenges assumption that human disease holds environmental exploitation in check

Part 22: New tool could help predict, prevent surging waters in flood plains
Developed for China's Yellow River, analytic formula could also enhance sustainability of eroding coastlines worldwide

Part 23: In a drought, over-irrigated lawns lose 70 billion gallons of water a year
Research in Los Angeles shows water loss in city's wealthy neighborhoods double that of poorer areas

Part 24: Study reveals America's most flood-vulnerable communities
Inland flood zones often overlooked, leading to need for more risk awareness

Part 25: Luminescent ocean drifters hold keys to deep-sea animal adaptations
Comb jellies, or ctenophores, link the shallows and the depths

Part 26: NSF awards $14.7 million for research to deepen understanding of Earth's biodiversity
Topics range from the role of symbiotic bacteria in agriculture to peatmosses as ecosystem engineers

Part 27: NSF awards $13 million for research on how humans, environment interact
Projects continue mission of Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems program

Part 28: Land cover change in Botswana savannas: Don't blame the elephants
Study finds that human-caused fires are a major factor

Part 29: Inland flood threat increasing in South Florida
Water management strategies likely exacerbating the problem

Part 30: Winter road salt, fertilizers turning North American waterways increasingly saltier
New findings show need for better regulation of road salt, fertilizers and other salty compounds

Part 31: Researchers outline the interconnected benefits of urban agriculture
Scientists develop a tool for future assessments of the changing urban agriculture landscape

Part 32: Blame it on the rain: Study ties phosphorus loading in lakes to extreme precipitation events
Results in toxic algae blooms, dead zones and declining water quality in U.S. waterways

Part 33: New, forward-looking report outlines research path to sustainable cities
NSF advisory committee assesses ongoing transformation of our increasingly urban planet

Part 34: Study shows wetlands provide landscape-scale reduction in nitrogen pollution
“Wetland complexes” in a watershed are very effective in reducing nitrate

Part 35: American kestrels, most common predatory birds in U.S., can reduce need for pesticide use
Study in Michigan agricultural fields shows benefits of birds’ presence

Part 36: ‘Lazy lawn mowers’ can help support suburban biodiversity
Research shows less-frequent mowing may help suburban bees

Part 37: Where’s the greatest risk of a mosquito bite in Baltimore? A surprising answer
Neighborhoods with median incomes have the highest bite frequency

Part 38: Lifting the economy on hawks’ wings
Small raptors called American kestrels provide important ‘ecosystem services’

Part 39: Floodwater in rivers affects vulnerability to waterborne diseases
Wet and dry seasons linked with public health threats in sub-Saharan Africa

Part 40: When coral reefs change, researchers and local fishing communities see different results
Groups perceive environmental disruptions in varying ways

Part 41: Research helps farmers pinpoint high-and low-yield fields, leads to better use of fertilizer
Findings reduce excess nutrients making their way into rivers, streams, groundwater