Planet Earth online is the free, companion website to the award-winning magazine Planet Earth published and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Planet Earth covers news from across the environmental sciences - whether research is funded directly by NERC or is carried out by NERC's research and collaborative centres. It also covers the work of partner organisations, such as through the £1bn "Living with Environmental Change" programme.
Ancient grassland species take a century to return
Old chalk grasslands that have been disturbed by farming can take more than a hundred years to recover their full diversity of plants, new research shows.
Animal foraging tactics unchanged for 50m years
Animals have used the same technique to search for food that's in short supply for at least 50 million years, a study suggests.
London heat boost underestimated
London's urban heat island effect, which keeps night-time temperatures in the capital warmer than in surrounding rural areas, may have been underestimated by up to 45 per cent.
Litter now everywhere in the ocean
Litter is now found in even the most remote areas of the oceans, say scientists trying to understand how much rubbish is lying at the bottom of Europe's seas.
Anti-depressants disrupt fish's brains
Drugs designed to ease the symptoms of mental health problems such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress can have major disruptive effects on aquatic animals' brains, say ...
Marine bacteria unfazed by rising ocean acidification
Bacteria are more resistant to ocean acidification than previously thought, say scientists.
Prehistoric beads were made from British shells
A new technique to identify the type of shell used to make early, decorative beads could help archaeologists understand more about early human trading.
Carbohydrates help plants survive drought
Plants that have higher levels of starch and sugars can survive droughts better than species with lower levels, say scientists.
High-CO2 world threatens seabed life
Environmental change is transforming many parts of the north-east Atlantic seabed, and according to a newly-published paper this will almost certainly get worse in the coming decades.
Corals could be cured using probiotic like Yakult
The research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, aimed to discover which microbes cause White Band Disease (WBD), which is killing corals in the Caribbean.
Discovery of a tiny new animal in Antarctica's Victoria Land
It's a member of the tardigrade family. Also known as water bears or moss piglets, these are widespread and ancient microscopic animals, around half a millimetre long at most and generally found in moss and ...
Man-made drainage could raise risk of flooding
Installing drainage systems in developing towns and cities can cause water to reach rivers more quickly, potentially raising the risk of flooding, say scientists.
Climate change could mean fisheries lose profit by 2050
A warmer planet and rising fuel prices could mean that UK fisheries will face decreased profits by 2050, say NERC scientists investigating how different climate change scenarios could affect the fishing trade.
UK: Global warming to bring heavier summer downpours
Global warming could cause extreme summer downpours to become several times more frequent in the UK by 2100, a new study suggests.
Fossilised swimming hippos could help us understand dinosaur footprints
Fossil swim tracks in Kenya left by hippopotami may help scientists understand how the largest dinosaurs moved in water.