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.
Save the seagrass
Seagrass meadows provide the ideal place for young fish to thrive, say NERC-funded scientists researching the importance of these habitats for commercial fishing.
Young smooth snakes rely on reptiles
A new way of using DNA analysis to find out what reptiles have been eating has revealed that the UK's rarest snake species may be under pressure because it needs very different kinds of food at different ...
Humans leaving a permanent mark on deep Earth
Human forays deep underground, such as boreholes, mines and nuclear bomb tests, are leaving a mark on the planet's geology that will last for hundreds of millions of years, say scientists.
Sex and age-biased nematode prevalence in reptiles
Rising testosterone levels in male slow worms at breeding season may make them more susceptible to infections, say NERC-funded scientists.
Coastal defences could contribute to flooding with sea-level rise
A combination of coastal defences and rising sea levels could change typical UK tidal ranges, potentially leading to a higher risk of flooding, say scientists.
Treat sofas like electronic waste, say scientists
Waste from soft furnishings like curtains, cushions and sofas should be discarded with the same caution as electronics, say scientists.
Underground amphibians evolved unique ear
Caecilians have developed an oversized organ in their ears to help them sense underground vibrations, say scientists.
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.