Jut Wynne

Roly-polies, book lice and bugs called springtails are among the 10 newly discovered insects that live only on the remote Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. Northern Arizona University Ecologist Jut Wynne found nine of these creatures; eight of them are eking out an existence in the limited entrances and skylights of caves.

Earth Notes: The Southwest’s Nutritional Wonder Tree

Nov 25, 2015

It's tough, spare, and spiny, but the common mesquite tree is a nutritional wonder of the Southwest. 


A fungus that’s been around for more than 400 million years is showing up in the roots of trees and grasses all over the world and helping plants grow. In a global study, Northern Arizona University Ecologist Nancy Johnson contributed samples of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi from the Serengeti. She says the findings are surprising.

Thomas G. Whitham

Northern Arizona University’s Southwest Experimental Garden Array will test out the idea of “prestoration”—a kind of ecological restoration that anticipates the expected future climate.

The name is practically as long as the animal itself: the “chisel-toothed kangaroo rat.” It lives in desert landscapes from Oregon and California through Utah and into northwest Arizona. 

Among well-known western writers, the name Wallace Stegner ranks right at the top. He grew up western, and consistently and eloquently captured the region’s sense of place.   

Ted Schuur

New climate change research from Northern Arizona University predicts frozen soils will release huge stores of ancient carbon as they warm.

The high plateau of Cedar Mesa in southern Utah is a stunning bit of scenery and archaeology. Early Puebloan farmers grew crops there and built stunning dwellings inside snug, dry sandstone alcoves. When they departed, they left behind tantalizing traces of their lives.

Spirits call out on the wind, and chains scrape the streets at night, or so go the ghost stories of Easter Island. Northern Arizona University archaeologist Britton Shepardson shifted his focus from studying the island’s mysterious and massive stone statues, to founding Terevaka Archaeological Outreach. The nonprofit organization involves local high school students in preserving the vanishing Rapa Nui oral history.

A walk in the woods doesn’t usually happen in a landscape of starkly beautiful desert mesas dotted with narrow-leafed yucca and rabbitbrush.