Tiny Marvelous Creatures

What makes a forest grow? A photographer and biologist put microscopic fungi, roots, and slime molds from Germany’s Black Forest under a scanning electron microscope—and found creatures like this astounding tardigrade (above) among the forest’s essential, and often overlooked, life forms.

This discovery in the moss on a tree trunk, magnified 2,400 times, marked a newfound species among the 1,300 known types of tardigrades, says photographer Oliver Meckes. “We always thought we knew a lot about the cycles of life and what happens to a tree when it falls and decays,” Meckes tells our NatGeo French edition colleague Marie-Amélie Carpio. “But what we learned with this assignment was how complex these processes are, and the myriad creatures involved!”

Would be a terrific pet.

Arctic warming 4 times faster than rest of planet

The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the rest of the planet during the last 40 years, according to research published on Thursday that suggests climate models are underestimating the rate of polar heating.

“We present evidence that during 1979–2021 the Arctic has been warming nearly four times as fast as the entire globe,” the authors said in the study.

“Thus, we caution that referring to Arctic warming as to being twice as fast as the global warming, as frequently stated in literature, is a clear underestimation of the situation during the last 43 years since the start of the satellite observations.”…

As well as profoundly impacting local communities and wildlife that rely on sea ice to hunt, intense warming in the Arctic will have worldwide repercussions.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you!