Niwot Ridge

10 reasons to be optimistic this Earth Day

April 20, 2021

In celebration of Earth Day’s 51st anniversary, CU Boulder Today explores 10 research-related discoveries that have the potential to positively change the way we live and soften humanity’s imprint on our precious planet.

A fly visiting the flowers of alpine false springparsley

Common plants and pollinators act as anchors for ecosystems

April 19, 2021

New research finds that common plants and pollinators—from the house fly to the humble yarrow weed—could be crucial in helping ecosystems weather current and future environmental change.

The Iberá Seedeater, an endangered songbird, acting aggressively toward a fake bird as part of the behavioral experiment conducted by Sheela Turbek. (Photo provided)

Endangered songbird challenging assumptions about evolution

April 13, 2021

By looking at this newly emerged bird, a CU Boulder-led research team found an ‘evolutionary shortcut’ for speciation.

A stock image the sky with clouds and the sun

Solar geoengineering research: Proceed with caution

April 5, 2021

Given the urgency of the risks posed by climate change, the U.S. should pursue a research program for solar geoengineering—in coordination with other nations, subject to governance and alongside a robust portfolio of climate mitigation and adaptation policies, according to a new report co-authored by Lisa Dilling.

A researcher at the MoSAIC study site (Photo by Lianna Nixon)

Frozen in ice, frozen in time

April 5, 2021

A CU team froze their ship in Arctic ice in the name of science and storytelling. The crew conducted groundbreaking research, studying everything from the atmosphere above their heads to the sea ice beneath their feet during the largest-ever expedition of its kind.

Snow on mountains

Increased winter snowmelt threatens western water resources

April 5, 2021

More snow is melting during winter across the West, a concerning trend that could impact everything from ski conditions to fire danger and agriculture, according to a new CU Boulder analysis of 40 years of data.

Agricultural irrigation

Research on soil moisture aims to improve irrigation models

March 29, 2021

Irrigated agriculture is the planet's largest consumer of freshwater, producing more than 40% of food worldwide. Yet the exact amounts of water being used in irrigation remains largely unknown. Finding answers would provide insight into the global water balance.

Crops being harvested

Heat waves could cause 10 times more crop damage than now projected

March 29, 2021

Heat waves, which are projected to become more frequent and intense as the century progresses, could cause as much as 10 times more crop damage than is now projected, a team of researchers led by CU Boulder has found.

A cluster of bees seen up close

Bees form scent-driven phone tree to pass along messages

March 25, 2021

Think of it as a testament to a honeybee's love for its queen: Bees build what looks like a telecommunications network to pass messages, in the form of pheromones, from their queen to other members of a colony.

American Bushtit at the Carpinteria salt marsh, one of the three salt marshes studied (Channel City Camera Club/Flickr).

Extinction cascading through ecosystems could spell trouble for humans

March 19, 2021

Ecosystem services might be more vulnerable to extinction than previously thought, a new study finds.