In this issue...

  • The Big Thaw
    WHAT DEGRADING PERMAFROST MEANS FOR THE ARCTIC—AND FOR THE WORLD
August 2011 issue

About the Cover: The membrane that surrounds a cell is a protective barrier that allows the cell to create and maintain a life-sustaining environment, as well as a structural boundary that provides anchor points for the cell's internal skeleton and hundreds of different proteins. The cell membrane is also a functional element that can regulate the behavior of surface receptors and other proteins. Thus it is both rampart and sentry, doorway and gatekeeper. The cover illustration by Donald Montoya depicts this active cell membrane, about which we still have much to learn..

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Only a few weeks after New Mexico's Las Conchas wildfire, the charred and blackened grasslands of the Valles Caldera National Preserve, encouraged by summer rains, are already returning to a healthy-looking green.

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