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.
Deep-sea asphalt mounds found off West African coast
Scientists have discovered a large area of the deep seabed strewn with mounds of asphalt off the coast of Angola, hosting rich animal life.
Trawling makes for skinny flatfish
Trawling the seabed doesn't just remove some of the fishes living there; it also makes some of the survivors thinner and less healthy by forcing them to use more energy finding less nutritious food.
Bottlenose dolphins use specific whistles as names
Bottlenose dolphins in Africa use signature whistles to identify each other, say scientists investigating the animals communication.
Microscope hack could offer cheap disease testing
A new solution to measure cell movement could save scientists hundreds of thousands of pounds, says the researcher who developed the method to save himself time and money in the lab.
Hungarian red mud spill did little long-term damage
The aftereffects 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.
Seabed study shows inhabitants' diversity
The tiny creatures that live in seabed sediments are far more genetically varied than we thought – and they're spread around the oceans according to similar rules to those governing the distribution of ...
Scientists probe leak risk from seabed CO2 stores
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 ide ...
Honeybee homing hampered by parasite
Honeybees infected with a common parasite have a much lower chance of making it back from foraging trips, say scientists.
Changes in farming and climate hurting British moths
Britain's moths are feeling the pinch – threatened on one side by climate change and on the other by habitat loss and harmful farming methods. A new study gives the most comprehensive picture yet of trends ...
Abandoned landfills are polluting UK rivers
Abandoned landfill sites throughout the UK routinely leach polluting chemicals into rivers, say scientists.
Pollen on birds shows feeding grounds
Encrusted pollen on migrating birds' heads can shed light on where they've taken a break from migration to refuel, scientists say.
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.