Forces of Change

Nearly every scientific and social issue confronting us today involves change: climate change, ecological change, cultural change. What forces drive these changes? What is the tempo and mode of these changes? Are these changes natural or the result of human tampering? Are they to be feared or welcomed? How do we - and all life on this planet - adapt to these changes? Come and explore the answers to these and other important questions with us.


Play the Greenhouse Gas Calculator Play the Greenhouse Gas Calculator - Test your ability to balance soil productivity, food production, and greenhouse gas emissions in this fun new soil game.

Ginkgo biloba What does Ginkgo biloba have to do with climate change? Ginkgo biloba, a hardy tree commonly found along city streets, is considered a “living fossil.” It is giving scientists important information about climate change.

Dr. Patrick Megonigal, Soil Ecologist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Meet Pat Megonigal, Soil Ecologist How are soils connected to earth's global ecosystems? How are wetland soils threatened by climate change and pollution? Dr. Pat Megonigal explores these questions and more.

Mosman Council Australian Dust Storm - September 2009. Australians were affected by the country's worst dust storm in seven decades. Learn about atmospheric transport >>

NASA satellite imageSatellite Images Show Evidence of El Niño - July 26, 2009. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center reported that ocean temperatures in Pacific had shifted into El Niño conditions.

Click to visit the Atmosphere site Atmosphere: Change is in the Air
An exhibit that explores Earth's Atmosphere - a thin envelope that surrounds us and makes Earth habitable for life.

Click to visit the Arctic site Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely
An online exhibit that explores changes in the Arctic, the Earth’s northernmost region, and how they are monitored by scientists and polar residents alike.

Click to visit the Soils web site! Dig It! The Secrets of Soil
We are building an exhibit about soil - a world under our feet and teeming with life! Open at the Natural History Museum through January 3, 2010.


Eighty thousand new bark beetles in the Museum's collection
December 21, 2010

Bark Beetles, Photo (c) Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History recently acquired an 80,000-specimen collection of bark beetles donated by the late Stephen L. Wood, Brigham Young University professor of Entomology, and former reigning expert on the bark beetles.

The Stephen L. Wood collection brings the collection of bark beetles held in the Natural History Museum’s Department of Entomology to an impressive 180,000 specimens, making it one of the most extensive collections in world.

“The Smithsonian’s collection is arguably the most important bark beetle collection in the world,” says David Furth, entomology collections manager at the Natural History Museum. “We are proud to have the S. L. Wood beetles join our collection.”