Planet Earth stories
Research being conducted at a Beijing super-site is monitoring concentrations and varieties of airborne particles and volatile gases in the atmosphere and their potential impact on human health.
18 Apr 2017
Devil rays, close cousins of the enormous manta rays, are stars of nature documentaries. These charismatic creatures are under threat from humans, specifically, because of the gill plate trade.
12 Apr 2017
If you came to last October's Into the blue science showcase in Manchester you may have been offered the chance to immerse yourself in a dangerous virtual river valley, with the game Flash Flood!
2 Mar 2017
Underneath the Earth's surface lies a wealth of resources. But will the way we currently use them give us problems in the future? Dr Ciaran Beggan, Dr Andrew Barkwith and Dr Caroline Graham at the British Geological Survey (BGS) explain why we need a clearer picture.
27 Feb 2017
Groundwater is the ultimate invisible asset. Originating in rain and snowfall that works its way down into soil and rock, it supports key ecosystems and meets the water needs of millions. But it can also pose a potential flood risk.
13 Feb 2017
Frequently linked to an increased threat from flooding, coastal erosion was widespread in the 20th century. We explain how the iCOASST project is helping to reveal what the next hundred years could hold.
1 Feb 2017
It's time to rethink roads. In the vital fields of flood prevention and water supply, they offer incredible potential to enhance and enrich the lives of some of the world's poorest people.
12 Jan 2017
We could be encouraging antimicrobial resistance by overusing antibiotics but other factors may also be at play. We spoke to researchers going beyond the clinic to understand how drug-resistance builds up in the bacteria in our sewers and rivers.
22 Nov 2016
Last month, scientists from the Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling (CPOM) headed to Greenland to carry out vital fieldwork as part of a NERC-CryoSat contract to calibrate and validate measurements taken by the satellite.
10 Nov 2016
Pictured together for the first time, two of NERC's key scientific instruments capture the essence of Into the blue, a public showcase of environmental science in the northwest of England where both ship and aircraft will be on display.
3 Oct 2016
Professor Kelly holds the chair in environmental health at King's College London, where he is director of the Analytical & Environmental Sciences Division. Here, he answers some key questions about air pollution in the UK's capital.
3 Oct 2016
When scientists flew a research plane over London in 2013, they didn't just establish that a new sensing technique could let us monitor emissions in real time. They also stumbled on the traces of one of the biggest corporate scandals ever.
28 Sep 2016
Last year El Niño brought drought to south-east Asia, creating the conditions for enormous wildfires that send vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and endangered people's health across the region with terrible air pollution. Martin Wooster of King's College London and NERC NCEO reports.
27 Sep 2016
Scientists have reported one of the first big wins in the fight against an invasive fungal disease.
23 Aug 2016
The first drone powered by solid hydrogen made its maiden flight in February – the fruit of a long-term collaboration between the private sector and scientists at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).
25 Jul 2016
A temporary respite in rising temperatures in one of the world's fastest-warming places doesn't mean climate change has stopped, says new British Antarctic Survey research.
21 Jul 2016
An invasion of Asian 'super ants' is taking hold faster than ever in the UK, new research has found.
8 Jul 2016
DATA AS ART is a groundbreaking science/art project being developed at NERC's British Antarctic Survey (BAS). It uses visualisations of real scientific data from the poles to create stunning, thought-provoking articles that also relate to important and exciting science stories.
30 Jun 2016
Ivan Haigh and Elizabeth Bradshaw describe SurgeWatch, a new database of coastal floods that's set to revolutionise our understanding of how and why these destructive events happen - and of how to limit the damage.
22 Apr 2016
An asteroid strike put an end to the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, making way for mammals to thrive - that much we know. But how exactly did our ancestors go about their march to dominance? Stephen Brusatte and Sarah Shelley introduce an unassuming fossil that holds some of the answers.
8 Apr 2016
Scientists agree: flood damages will increase dramatically across Europe over the coming decades. And as extreme rainfall events happen again and again, some places will be hit harder than others. So why is it that some areas are becoming more prone to flooding, and others not? Louise Slater explains.
4 Mar 2016
Humans have only been part of Earth's history for the blink of a geological eye, but in that time we have made a profound mark on the planet. Fifty years ago we were starting to realise the extent of our influence; today we are debating whether it has moved Earth into a new geological epoch. Alex Peel explains what's behind the concept.
22 Feb 2016
Frogs, toads, newts and salamanders look like hardy creatures and anyone observing a pond full of frogspawn could be forgiven for thinking their future was secure. But several emerging diseases are attacking the world's amphibians, sometimes with devastating results. Trent Garner explains how we're starting to understand the extent of the threat.
12 Feb 2016
One warm year and we're told an Arctic without sea ice is just around the corner; the next cold one and it's claimed the ice is recovering. Ed Hawkins explains why Arctic melting will continue to be erratic for the foreseeable future - but says the overall trend is only heading one way.
5 Feb 2016
What do you get when you cross ecology with psychotherapy? Quite possibly you end up with profound benefits for people's wellbeing - and for the health of the NHS. Dan Bloomfield explains why for many chronically ill or isolated people help could lie just beyond their front door.
22 Jan 2016
As NERC looks forward to its next 50 years, we can't know for sure what issues will arise. But some scientists have had their eye on the future for some time. Tom Marshall talks to Bill Sutherland about his work bringing environmental research into the 21st century.
14 Dec 2015
Dr Claire Quinn's job is to help ensure UK food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer gets access to the scientific knowledge it needs. Tom Marshall finds out how her knowledge exchange Fellowship has been an enlightening experience on both sides.
27 Nov 2015
How the UK's birds of prey were saved from the malign effects of 20th-century pesticides is a great example of scientific detective work - and it also shows the immense value of monitoring the natural environment over long periods. Tom Marshall tells the story.
13 Nov 2015
In 1953, more than 300 people died in the UK alone when heavy storms swept a high spring tide over sea defences and across coastal towns in north-east England and Scotland. Today floods still make headlines but our ability to limit their effects has come a long way. Adele Walker explains why.
19 Oct 2015
The past may be a foreign country, but when it comes to the ancient history of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) it's one that feels oddly like home. As part of the events to mark NERC's 50th anniversary, Tom Marshall spent a stint in the archives. He describes what it revealed about the organisation's early years.
5 Oct 2015
The Met Office also celebrates a 50th anniversary this year - their first numerical weather prediction was in 1965. Their chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo shares her perspective on developments in weather, climate and environmental-change research since then.
18 Sep 2015
Covering an area the size of the Isle of Wight, Salisbury Plain contains the largest military training area in the UK and the largest single expanse of chalk grassland in Western Europe. John Redhead explains how this sometimes turbulent landscape provides both a conservation challenge and some unique habitats for wildlife.
21 Aug 2015
It's not unusual to see polar bears and tigers fronting conservation campaigns and adverts, but worms and crustaceans? Not so common. Lydia Bach explains why some lesser-known species deserve more of the limelight.
20 Jul 2015
CO2 emissions are making the oceans more acidic. We're still not sure what this will do to marine life, but in many places the result's unlikely to be good. Jason Hall-Spencer describes his efforts to understand the impact by investigating places where the gas bubbles naturally from the seabed.
10 Jul 2015
There's still a huge amount we don't know about the history of the southern polar ice sheet. Bethan Davies was part of an international team that brought together the latest findings to reveal a complex and dynamic Antarctica.
19 Jun 2015
Ancient mainstays of our woodlands, hedgerows and parklands are at risk from a surge of pests and diseases - but a new research programme is bringing experts together from many fields to find solutions.
29 May 2015
Hidden from view at the bottom of Bangladesh's large rivers are gigantic holes up to 50m deep and several kilometres long. Mark E Vardy explains how studying them is vital for understanding how large rivers evolve and affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living on their deltas.
20 Mar 2015
Tags: Rivers and lakes
Used to flavour whisky and sometimes as fuel, the UK's peat also provides an important service in the control of global warming. Mark Reed explains why he and Project Maya are trying to spread the word and get gardeners to take a peat-free pledge.
11 Mar 2015
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Phil Manning, Victoria Egerton and Bill Sellers of the University of Manchester are joined by local geologist Paul Ensom at the Isle of Purbeck on Britain's Jurassic Coast to talk about some dinosaur tracks recently found in the area.
3 Mar 2015
Nobody wants peat in their tap water, and in some situations it can even threaten people's health. Getting rid of it is costly for water companies, and a warming climate will increase the problem. The more they know about these changes, the better they'll be able to cope.
23 Feb 2015
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Ruth Welters of the University of East Anglia and potato farmer Johnnie Jiggens explain how environmental science can help the agricultural sector plan for future weather extremes.
18 Feb 2015
The UK's rich marine renewable energy resources are driving an exciting area of innovation. Paul Bell explains how understanding the potential environment consequences will be critical to the success of the industry.
23 Jan 2015
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Alex Ford and Stephen Short of the University of Portsmouth explain why we need to understand the effects of contraceptives, anti-depressants and other prescription drugs on marine organisms to protect our environment.
20 Jan 2015
If we could trap the CO2 we produce in the deepest depths of the ocean, where should we do it? Maybe not where scientists first thought, says Josie Robinson. She explores the theory behind ocean iron fertilisation in the Southern Ocean, and describes her work on testing it.
19 Jan 2015
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Greg Sambrook Smith of the University of Birmingham reports from Bangladesh on the effects of river bank erosion on the local people living alongside the Brahmaputra River.
7 Jan 2015
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Jerry Blackford and Steve Widdicombe of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory talk about the world's first carbon capture and storage leakage experiment which looks at its effects on the marine environment.
23 Dec 2014
The term 'living fossil' was coined by Darwin and has since been applied to various species that appear not to have changed for millions of years. But when Africa Gómez and colleagues took a closer look at tadpole shrimps they concluded we should ditch the term for good.
19 Dec 2014
These days we can get a prescription for many infections, but what happens when you have more than one at a time? Emily Griffiths explains how we can look at co-infection in a way that could help us devise more effective treatments.
28 Nov 2014
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation and Tom Oliver of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology explain how records of millions of moths, citizen science and expert analysis are showing that populations of large moths are under increasing pressure.
25 Nov 2014
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Jamie Stevens and Josie Paris of the University of Exeter explain how some fish have adapted to heavily polluted rivers in southwest England.
11 Nov 2014
As the floods that struck Britain in early 2014 made all too clear, heavy rain can be bad news for homes, businesses and the environment. Tom Marshall found out how the British Geological Survey is helping housebuilders control flooding while saving money.
7 Nov 2014
The after effects of the 2010 red mud spill that threatened to poison great swathes of the Hungarian countryside have turned out to be far less harmful than scientists originally feared.
3 Nov 2014
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Stephan Wolf of Queen Mary, University of London, and Jason Lim of Rothamsted Research explain why some honeybees may be struggling to make it back to the hive after foraging trips.
28 Oct 2014
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Russell Wynn and Maaten Furlong of NERC's National Oceanography Centre tell us about a just-launched fleet of marine robots that will map ocean life in key fishing grounds off the southwest tip of Britain, in a trial heralded as the start of a new era of robotic research at sea.
14 Oct 2014
A UK-led international research team has carried out the first experiment to recreate what would happen if CO2 started leaking after being stored deep under the sea floor. Their findings add weight to the idea that this could be a viable way to cut our impact on the climate.
1 Oct 2014
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Tamara Galloway, Matt Cole and Ceri Lewis of the University of Exeter talk about their research on the effects of fragments of plastics from food packaging, drinks bottles, and even facial scrubs, on marine wildlife.
30 Sep 2014
Working in the field always makes research more challenging, and doing atmospheric science deep in the rainforest is especially tricky. Ben Langford describes how mosquito repellent, gaffer tape and children's balloons helped keep his project on track.
19 Sep 2014
This week in the Planet Earth podcast, Elizabeth Wellington and Greg Amos of the University of Warwick explain how sewage treatment could be helping spread highly drug-resistant bacteria around the environment.
16 Sep 2014