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Microbes rule in ‘knee-high tropical rainforests’

Tropical forests are home to about 50 percent of all the Earth’s plant species. The Jurien Bay shrublands in Australia are another area of very high plant diversity.

Otterly engaging: Zoo enrichment

What’s an Asian small-clawed otter’s favorite enrichment toy? Anything it can get its paws on! This species’ dexterous, partially-webbed digits are adept at feeling for food and manipulating objects in the environment.

Uncovering the Moon’s Secrets

The Moon and its surface provide insight into the early history of the solar system in this video from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Farthest Milky Way stars might be ripped from another galaxy

The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way’s spiral disk.

Measuring trees with the speed of sound

Tomogram showing areas of wood decay in a tree with an irregularly shaped trunk, based on sonic tomography with the PiCUS 3 Sonic Tomograph.

New exhibit examines explosive growth of Latino communities in four U.S. cities

“Uprising Against ICE,” 2014 by Rosalia Torres-Weiner, Charlotte, N.C. North Carolina’s influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America and resultant deportations inspired this piece.

Our Galaxy’s Black Hole is Spewing Planet-size “Spitballs”

This artist’s conception portrays a collection of planet-mass objects that have been flung out of the galactic center at speeds of 20 million miles per hour (10,000 km/s).

Dormant Orchids Need Fungi to Rise Again

Small whorled pogonia orchid, Isotria medeoloides. (Photo by Melissa McCormick/SERC) If you are a plant, when life aboveground turns harsh, you have few options.

How Are Those New Year’s Resolutions Going?

Scouting for Girls: Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts Inc., 1920; Smithsonian Libraries If getting more exercise was one of your new year’s resolutions, take a page from the 1920 Scouting for Girls: Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts, which is in the Smithsonian Libraries’ collections.

Newly named, Hawaiian tree species already critically endangered

“Melicope oppenheimeri” and its habitat. (Photo by H. Oppenheimer) A newly discovered Hawaiian tree recently had the distinction of being added to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Critically Endangered Species in the same scientific article in which it was named.

Restoration of the Ohkay Owingeh Tribe’s historic pueblo

Ohkay Owingeh from Adventure Pictures on Vimeo. Currently featured in the exhibition “By the People” at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City through February, this short film tells the story of the decade-long restoration of the Ohkay Owingeh Tribe’s historic pueblo and new housing construction.

The incredible marine diversity under boat docks

Coastal marine environments are impacted by human disturbance. Dock pilings allow MarineGEO researchers to study these impacts in a standardized way around the world to understand whether biodiversity serves to stabilize ecosystems in the face of disturbance.

Speical Delivery

Carriers had fun with the idea of “mailing” babies and staged these photographs. This image is a part of a collection of Smithsonian photographs on Flickr and the most popular photograph from the Institution in that collection.

One-Stop Shopping for Federal Scientific Collections

A tray of bumble bees from the National Museum of Natural History’s bee collection awaits digitization.

Happy Holidays from the National Air and Space Museum

Happy Holidays from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum! The post Happy Holidays from the National Air and Space Museum appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

Pan-STARRS Releases Largest Digital Sky Survey to the World

This view of the entire sky visible from Hawai’i by the Pan-STARRS1 Observatory is the result of half a million exposures, each about 45 seconds in length, taken over a period of 4 years.

Snow puppies

“Puppies in the Snow,” Isoda Koryūsai (1735–1790), Woodblock print, the Anne van Biema Collection, Smithsonian’s Arthur M.

American Art Museum Acquires Major Collection of Self-Taught American Art

James Castle, “Untitled,” found paper, color of unknown origin, and soot. (Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton on USA Today TV

The post Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton on USA Today TV appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

Henry Clay Anderson’s photographs

“Indoor portrait of a young girl at Christmas,” by Henry Clay Anderson (Collection National Museum of African American History and Culture) This portrait of a young girl enjoying Christmas in Greenville, Miss., was taken by Henry Clay Anderson (1911- 1998) and is one of hundreds of images by Anderson in the photography collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.