From The Staff

Ongoing Water Issues

Here's a compilation of past content on freshwater topics to accompany our 2019 special issue on The Future of Water.

August 16, 2019

From The Staff Environment

In the 2019 special issue on The Future of Water, scientists address everything from draining aquifers and the loss of the ecosystems they harbor, to cleaning up contaminants in freshwater, to the use of water as a weapon. But there's a lot of research related to water that we simply could not fit in the special issue. Fortunately, American Scientist has a long history of covering water issues. If you'd like to read further on this important topic, we've gathered a selection of our recent print and online articles on water issues, organized by subject area.


  • Walking the Edge of the Earth
    Eve Mosher’s art project HighWaterLine takes climate science to the streets.
    Leila Christine Nadir

  • Spiral Jetty
    Changeable, perhaps even erasable, by time, how permanent should Earth art be?
    Robert Louis Chianese


Ad Right

Biology and Ecology

  • Where the Xingu Bends and Will Soon Break
    A hotly contested megadam threatens an incubator for evolutionary diversity in Brazil.
    Mark Sabaj Perez

  • Ecological Responses to Climate Change on the Antarctic Peninsula
    The peninsula is an icy world that's warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, threatening a rich but delicate biological community.
    James B. McClintock, Hugh Ducklow, and William Fraser

  • Renewed Hope for Coastal Marshes in Louisiana
    Before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, ecological monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico’s saltmarshes was minimal. Now we are learning what can be saved or restored.
    Paige Byerly, Bethann G. Merkle, Megan Hepner

  • Wetlands: Climate Change, Restoration, and Management
    As the climate changes, wetlands around the world experience major shifts in their functioning that can put biodiversity and ecosystem services at risk. Understanding these changes can enable better wetlands management and restoration.
    Katie L. Burke

  • Banking on Mitigation
    New regulations might change the landscape of national wetlands policy.
    Amos Esty

  • The Evolution of Cave Life
    New concepts are challenging conventional ideas about life underground
    Aldemaro Romero

  • Not Just Going with the Flow
    Modern visualization techniques show that aquatic animals can modify their fluid environment to increase the efficiency of swimming and food collection.
    Frank Eliot Fish, George Lauder

  • Tardigrades
    These ambling, eight-legged microscopic “bears of the moss” are cute, ubiquitous, all but indestructible and a model organism for education.
    William Randolph Miller

  • Aquatic Invasive Species: Lessons from Cancer Research
    Medicine’s successes offer a model for preventing the spread of harmful species
    Adam Joel Sepulveda, Andrew Ray, Robert Al-Chokhachy, Clint Muhlfeld, Robert Gresswell, Jackson Gross, Jeff Kershner

  • Amphibious Caterpillars
    Hawaii hosts the first-known insects that are equally happy living underwater or on dry land
    Fenella Saunders

  • Lessons of the Lost
    Amphibians are all but gone, bequeathing us lessons that must not be squandered
    Joseph R. Mendelson

  • The Phenotypic Plasticity of Death Valley's Pupfish
    Desert fish are revealing how the environment alters development to modify body shape and behavior.
    Sean C. Lima

  • Angling for Ancient Fish
    Gars and bowfins were once seen as trash fish, but are beginning to be appreciated by anglers and researchers.
    Solomon David

  • La Vie en Rose
    You might think that farming salmon would relieve pressure on wild populations. But, in fact, it only makes things worse.
    David Schneider


Engineering and Technology

Ethics, History, Sociology, and Policy


  • The Arctic’s Melting Ice
    Mark Serreze discusses the implications of warming in the Arctic and his thoughts on science communication while the U.N. climate talks in Paris continue.
    Katie L. Burke

  • Gifts and Perils of Landslides
    Catastrophic rockslides and related landscape developments are an integral part of human settlement along upper Indus streams
    Kenneth Hewitt


  • The Geology and Geography of Floods
    A Q&A with a research geologist on landscape evolution, flooding, and the intersection of landscapes and people.
    Katie L. Burke

  • That Sinking Feeling
    Dense development can complicate projections of land subsidence in coastal regions.
    Catherine Clabby

  • Jöklhlaup
    The spectacle of an Icelandic glacial flood
    David Schoonmaker

  • The Deadly Dynamics of Landslides
    They result from a simple mix of gravity, friction, and momentum, but take on a stunning variety of forms—with similarly diverse human consequences.
    Susan W. Kieffer

  • The Historic Turns of a River
    Laser-mapping technology makes visible the meanderings of Oregon's Willamette River over the past 12,000 years.
    Sandra J. Ackerman

  • If Not for Plants, Could Rivers Bend?
    Geologists strengthen the case that early rooted plants engineered the look of modern rivers
    Catherine Clabby

  • The Pump Don't Work
    "Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."
    David Schoonmaker

Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology, and Oceanography

Medicine, Public Health, and Toxicology

Meteorology, Atmospheric Science, and Climate Science


  • The Formation of Snow Crystals
    Subtle molecular processes govern the growth of a remarkable variety of elaborate ice structures
    Ken Libbrecht

  • Flowers and Ribbons of Ice
    Beautiful, gravity-defying structures can form when water freezes under the right conditions.
    James Richard Carter

  • A Fish of an Idea
    Analyzing swimming schools of fish inspired a California biophysicist to try to improve the performance of wind turbines
    Catherine Clabby


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