What One New England Tree Can Tell Us About the Earth’s Future

By Studying a Single Massachusetts Oak, I Recorded How Climate Change Is Confusing Nature

Trees are up to more than we think. Belying their image as mute, unmoving, and solitary, trees are not just standing there. They move. Breathe. Communicate. Politically astute and nimbly networked, trees command a sophisticated array of processes and living beings, above ground and below.

Every schoolchild learns that trees use their leaves to feed themselves through an alchemy of sunlight, water, and air. While they are at it, they help make the oxygen that sustains much of life on Earth, including us.

But below ground they are also hard at …

More In: science

Why Scientific Discovery Thrives on ‘Creative Anarchy’

By Rewarding Bold Experiments, the Ecosystem of Funding and Research Could Produce More Breakthroughs

Science is one great success of our civilizations, from the erudition of the ancient Greeks and Arabs, to the practicality of the Renaissance and the Modern era. It is one …

Consciousness Isn’t About the Mind, It’s About the Body

Thinking and Feeling Are the Products of the Brain's Physical Architecture

Many students of the mind have observed that consciousness—as a word or as a concept—is a placeholder, a suitcase word for multiple processes in our brains. Those processes are systems …

To See the Fate of the Oceans, Look Back a Half-Billion Years

Too Much Carbon and Not Enough Oxygen Devastated Marine Life in Ancient Times

What can the deep geological history of the oceans tell us about the future?

This question is a difficult one. In fact, it is considerably easier to start with the opposite …

Why Fruit Flies Are the New Lab Rats

These Quick-Breeding Insects Have Similar Genetic Cellular Functions as Humans

Set out a bowl of fruit, and they will arrive: small, buff-colored flies with garnet eyes and an attraction to fermenting bananas. Annoying but not harmful, they are easy to …