Department of Earth

Climate change could bring short-term gain, long-term pain for loggerhead turtles

An overwhelming scientific consensus affirms that for thousands of species across the globe, climate change is an immediate and existential threat. For the loggerhead turtle, whose vast range extends from the chilly shores of Newfoundland to the blistering beaches of Australia, the story isn’t so cut and dried. New research from conservation biologists at Florida […]

Oxygen depletion in ancient oceans caused major mass extinction

Late in the prehistoric Silurian Period, around 420 million years ago, a devastating mass extinction event wiped 23 percent of all marine animals from the face of the planet. For years, scientists struggled to connect a mechanism to this mass extinction, one of the 10 most dramatic ever recorded in Earth’s history. Now, researchers from […]

Expert discusses El Niño effects, prediction strategies

In the past few months, extreme weather events have caused significant damage to communities throughout the United States. From flooding in the Mississippi River region to the tornadoes tearing through the Midwest to a delay of the North American monsoon, it seems that aberrant and often dangerous weather is on the rise. The disquieting torrent […]

When coral reefs change, researchers and local communities may not see eye to eye

Disturbances in coral reefs can trigger significant ecosystem shifts, but ecologists and local fishing populations may perceive those shifts in fundamentally different ways, according to a study from Florida State University researchers. This apparent disconnect between data-driven scientists and experience-driven fishing communities could have major implications for the management and resilience of coral reefs and […]

Red tide rolling: Harmful algae found to flourish in both high-, low-CO2 environments

The algae responsible for Florida’s toxic red tides may be more resilient to shifting ocean chemistry than scientists previously realized, according to research from Florida State University oceanographers. A new study has revealed that the red tide-causing species that has menaced Florida’s coastal environments and tourism-based economies is able to efficiently utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) […]

Ancient rocks provide clues about Earth’s early history

Earth’s vast oceans started becoming oxygenated on large scales and great depths long before scientists previously recognized, according to new research from Arizona State University, Florida State University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and The University of Waterloo. Oxygen in the form of the oxygen molecule (O2), produced by plants and vital for animals, is thankfully […]

FSU researcher rooting out the errors in storm simulation models

On the eve of every hurricane season, climatologists around the world offer their studied prognostications: Will we see high activity? Low activity? How will ocean temperature affect storm development? What are the chances of a powerful storm making landfall? Scientists have leveraged improved climate models to simulate tropical cyclone behavior with an ever-increasing degree of […]

FSU researchers: Savanna fires pump Central African forests full of nitrogen

The remote forests of Africa’s Congo Basin have long been a blind spot for scientists working to understand how Earth’s natural cycles respond to the environmentally unique characteristics of different regions. Now, two Florida State University researchers are part of a global team of scientists revealing the unexpected role that large-scale fires and high nitrogen […]

FSU researchers: Florida’s climate is changing, and we should all take notice

Climate change is often understood as a global problem with broad effects that are difficult to detect on more narrow local scales. However, Florida State University Professor Eric Chassignet and Associate Professor Vasu Misra, both from the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, believe that more attention should be paid to state-level effects of […]

Virtual science classes revolutionizing teaching methodology at FSU

Imagine exploring the Great Barrier Reef for an environmental science class or investigating a real-life crime for your introductory chemistry course. That’s the vision two Florida State University professors had when they created new virtual life classrooms for their students that allow them to learn essentially by playing in a 3-D virtual world. William Landing, […]