Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash

Why are California’s redwoods and sequoias so big and tall?

California’s giant sequoias and redwoods are nature’s skyscrapers. Existing mostly in a few narrow pockets in Northern California (there are also some redwoods just over the border with Oregon and Washington State), these two tree species are wonders of the biological world. They are also some of the most magnificent things to behold on the planet.

Photo: Erik Olsen

Vasquez Rocks: Where Plates Collide and Captain Kirk Roamed

It’s not every day that you can drive down the highway and personally witness one of the great tectonic collisions in Earth’s history. But, if you happen to be motoring along Highway 14, the Antelope Valley Freeway, towards Palmdale near Santa Clarita, there they are:  great slabs of rock stretching skyward at steep angles out …

Read moreVasquez Rocks: Where Plates Collide and Captain Kirk Roamed

Bristlecone Pine

The Majesty and Mystery of California’s Bristlecone Pines

Bristlecones are the longest living organism on earth. Gnarled and oftentimes squat, especially when compared to the majestic coastal redwoods and giant sequoias living near the coast further west, they hardly seem like mythical beings. But to scientists, they are a trove of information, offering clues to near immortality and to the many ways that the earth’s climate has changed over the last 5,000 years.

White Abalone - NOAA

Saving the White Abalone is Part of a Much Bigger Story

The current effort to bring back the white abalone is one of numerous projects underway in California to revive the state’s once-thriving marine environment. If you grew up in Southern California in the 1970s, there were a few things that defined California: surfing, skateboarding, the Eagles (preferably on the radio while driving down the Pacific …

Read moreSaving the White Abalone is Part of a Much Bigger Story

luther burbank - Library of Congress

The genius of Luther Burbank, father of the most famous potato in the world

Luther Burbank created some of the most successful fruits and vegetables in the world, all from his California farm.

The little-known California scientist who may have saved millions of lives.

At Caltech, Clair Patterson’s relentless determination to understand the health impacts of atmospheric lead changed the world for the better.

Why bringing back California’s kelp is so important

Two centuries ago, the waters off the California coast were home to a vibrant ecosystem of plants and animals. Vast forests of kelp provided habitat for thousands of species of fish and invertebrates. Some of these kelp forests were so dense that light hardly penetrated to the seafloor. But now, along much of the coastline, …

Read moreWhy bringing back California’s kelp is so important

Exterior of the California Institute of Technology

This is how we’re going to solve climate change

Yesterday, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena made a major announcement: philanthropists and entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick gave the school $750 million to develop technologies to tackle climate change. The news of the announcement was somewhat lost in the craziness of the news cycle following the whistle-blower revelations of the Trump administration, …

Read moreThis is how we’re going to solve climate change

California sea life could be imperiled by new ocean “blob”

The “blob” is back.  Or so says a group of researchers from the NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California. The blob was a massive marine heatwave that caused record warming of ocean waters (up to nearly 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal) off the West Coast five years ago. It led to …

Read moreCalifornia sea life could be imperiled by new ocean “blob”

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