Earth: Exploring Our Planet

Reef. Sleep. Repeat.

In December, graduate students from the UNC Department of Marine Sciences spent 10 days transplanting corals on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in southern Belize. The data they collect from this research could impact coral reef conservation efforts in the future.

The Evolution of a Research Center

More than 225 students and scientists have received educational training and advanced their research at the Galapágos Science Center — a collaborative partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.

Speaking Math

Imagine a sentence so long that it would take an entire lifetime to read it — that’s the kind of problem Joaquín Drut faces every day. The UNC physicist works with numbers too large to compute in an effort to better understand the way our universe works.

Career Aquatic

At the end of his 40-year career at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, Dive Safety Officer Glenn Safrit reflects on the most important lessons he learned — and taught — in the ocean.

Generating Power Like Plants

When plants absorb sunlight, they convert carbon dioxide into energy-rich organic compounds. What if humans could do the same thing? What if we could pull CO2 out of the air and use it to build organic molecules? This revolutionary idea is still just that — an idea. But organic chemists at UNC are laying the groundwork for turning it into reality.

Go with the Flow

Streambeds act as natural water filters by trapping particles and pollutants. To better understand the dynamics of these small yet complex systems, a UNC hydrologist is creating (and clogging) her own stream.

A Day in the Life of a Dolphin Researcher

Since she was 14 years old, Liah McPherson has studied the lives of wild dolphins. This past summer, the freediving fanatic and UNC junior worked as a field assistant with The Wild Dolphin Project in the northern Bahamas — where she photographed and researched four generations of Atlantic spotted dolphins.

CURE-ious Chemistry

Chemistry undergraduates are developing their own research questions and projects in a new class at UNC, thanks to the drive and dedication of organic chemistry professor Nita Eskew.

Decades of Discovery

For 70 years, the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, located in Morehead City, has provided a home for Carolina scientists — from undergraduate students to tenured professors — to study the complex marine and coastal systems of North Carolina and beyond.

The Earth is Our Laboratory

UNC earth scientists have crossed oceans and traveled to far-away continents to pursue their research, as well as studied natural systems right here in North Carolina. In celebration of Earth Science Week, check out where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to.