Christopher Joyce

Christopher Joyce is a correspondent on the science desk at NPR. His stories can be heard on all of NPR's news programs, including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Joyce seeks out stories in some of the world's most inaccessible places. He has reported from remote villages in the Amazon and Central American rainforests, Tibetan outposts in the mountains of western China, and the bottom of an abandoned copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Over the course of his career, Joyce has written stories about volcanoes, hurricanes, human evolution, tagging giant blue-fin tuna, climate change, wars in Kosovo and Iraq and the artificial insemination of an African elephant.

For several years, Joyce was an editor and correspondent for NPR's Radio Expeditions, a documentary program on natural history and disappearing cultures produced in collaboration with the National Geographic Society that was heard frequently on Morning Edition.

Joyce came to NPR in 1993 as a part-time editor while finishing a book about tropical rainforests and, as he says, "I just fell in love with radio." For two years, Joyce worked on NPR's national desk and was responsible for NPR's Western coverage. But his interest in science and technology soon launched him into parallel work on NPR's science desk.

In addition, Joyce has written two non-fiction books on scientific topics for the popular market: Witnesses from the Grave: The Stories Bones Tell (with co-author Eric Stover); and Earthly Goods: Medicine-Hunting in the Rainforest.

Before coming to NPR, Joyce worked for ten years as the U.S. correspondent and editor for the British weekly magazine New Scientist.

Joyce's stories on forensic investigations into the massacres in Kosovo and Bosnia were part of NPR's war coverage that won a 1999 Overseas Press Club award. He was part of the Radio Expeditions reporting and editing team that won the 2001 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University journalism award and the 2001 Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Joyce won the 2001 American Association for the Advancement of Science excellence in journalism award.

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3:18am

Thu December 26, 2013
The Salt

More People Have More To Eat, But It's Not All Good News

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:03 am

The Brazilian agricultural sector exported for a value of $94,590 million in 2011. One of its largest exports is soybeans, like these in Cascavel, Parana.
Werner Rudhart DPA /Landov

Among the things to celebrate this holiday season is the fact that there are fewer hungry people in the world. Just how many? Well, since 1965, researchers in Europe have been tracking the world's food supply and where it's going.

The good news is: The percentage of the world's population getting what the researchers say is a sufficient diet has grown from 30 percent to 61 percent.

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8:18pm

Wed December 18, 2013
Shots - Health News

Mixing It Up 50,000 Years Ago — Who Slept With Whom?

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 1:39 pm

Research excavations like these in Siberia's Denisova Cave are yielding clues to the mating choices of early hominids.
Bence Viola Nature

In a remote cave in Siberia, scientists have found a 50,000-year-old bone from a toe that tells a story about life — and love — among some of the earliest humans.

They did it by analyzing DNA from that bone.

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7:52am

Fri December 13, 2013
Environment

Scientists Battle Over Fate Of Yellowstone's Grizzlies

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The North America's grizzly bear is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Its population was virtually wiped out in the lower 48 states. One group of bears, though, may soon lose that protection - the Yellowstone grizzly. Some scientists say that group is thriving. Others disagree. NPR's Christopher Joyce has more on the battle over the bear.

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5:48pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Environment

Long Island Wins Ultimate Faceoff Against Hurricane Sandy

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:50 pm

Sediment samples from the seafloor near Long Island.
UT Austin Institute for Geophysics

Hurricane Sandy last year did more harm to coastal cities and homes than any hurricane in U.S. history, except Katrina. Most of that damage has been repaired. But there's other damage that people can't see to the underwater coastline, known as the shore face.

Apparently, Long Island's shore face did remarkably well against the storm of the 21st century.

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6:09pm

Mon November 25, 2013
Environment

U.S. May Be Producing 50 Percent More Methane Than EPA Thinks

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 7:59 pm

The EPA tries to keep track of all sorts of methane producers — including herds of methane-belching cattle.
Emmett Tullos Flickr

Methane is the source of the gas we burn in stoves. You can also use it to make plastics, antifreeze or fertilizer. It comes out of underground deposits, but it also seeps up from swamps, landfills, even the stomachs of cows.

And while methane is valuable, a lot of it gets up into the atmosphere, where it becomes a very damaging greenhouse gas.

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5:05pm

Mon November 18, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines

How And Where Should We Rebuild After Natural Disasters?

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:27 pm

The wreckage in Tacloban, Philippines, on Nov. 16 was overwhelming, after Typhoon Haiyan plowed through.
David P. Gilkey NPR

The physical damage from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is catastrophic. Hundreds of thousands of people are now homeless.

Soon, though, people will start to rebuild, as they have after similar natural disasters.

How they do it, and where, is increasingly important in places like the Philippines. The island nation lies in a sort of "typhoon alley," and with climate change and rising sea levels, there are more storms in store.

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4:16pm

Mon November 18, 2013
The Salt

Meat Mummies: How Ancient Egyptians Prepared Feasts For Afterlife

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:25 pm

Anyone up for meat mummies? Above, a mummified beef rib from the tomb of Tjuiu, an Egyptian noblewoman, and her husband, the powerful courtier Yuya, circa 1386-1349 BC.
Image courtesy of PNAS

Meat mummies.

It's a word pairing that is, I dare say, pretty rare. Who among us has heard those two words together? What, indeed, could a "meat mummy" be?

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3:04am

Fri November 15, 2013
Environment

A Rancher And A Conservationist Forge An Unlikely Alliance

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:08 pm

Trout fishing is big business in Montana, bringing in tens of millions of dollars annually.
Tom Murphy Getty Images/National Geographic

Trout fishing is a magnet that draws people from around the world to places like Ovando, Mont. Just ask the owner of Blackfoot Angler and Supplies, Kathy Schoendoerfer.

"Every state in the nation has been through this little shop in Ovando, Montana, population 50," says Schoendoerfer with a mix of pride and perhaps a little fatigue. "And we've also had everybody from Russia, Latvia. We get a lot of Canadians, France, Finland, Brazil, Scotland, Germany, South Africa. We get a lot of business out here. You know, fly-fishing is huge."

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3:07am

Thu November 14, 2013
Science

As Climate Warms American West, Iconic Trout In Jeopardy

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:53 am

Native Westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout swim in the cool waters of the Flathead River near Glacier National Park, Montana.
Jonny Armstrong USGS

In the mountain streams of the American West, the trout rules. People don't just catch this fish; they honor it. And spend lots of money pursuing it.

But some western trout may be in trouble. Rivers and streams are getting warmer and there's often less water in them. Scientists suspect a changing climate is threatening this iconic fish.

I joined two such scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey as they drove up a mountain road in Montana, in the northern Rockies, a place dense with stands of Douglas fir and aspen trees and braided with mountain streams.

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5:46pm

Mon November 4, 2013
Research News

How'd They Do That? The Story Of A Giant Rock And A Road Of Ice

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 7:42 pm

The Large Stone Carving is the heaviest stone in the Forbidden City in Beijing. It was believed to have weighed more than 300 tons when it was first transported to the site between 1407 and 1420.
DEA/ W. Buss De Agostini/Getty Images

Great works of ancient engineering, like the Pyramids or Stonehenge, inspire awe in every beholder. But some onlookers also get inspired to figure out exactly how these structures were made.

Howard Stone, an engineer from Princeton University, had such a moment in Beijing's Forbidden City — a city-within-a-city of palaces and temples built in the 15th and 16th centuries. A carved, 300-ton slab that formed a ramp to one structure particularly caught Stone's eye. "How in the world did it get here?" he wondered.

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