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Life Sciences - Environment - 10.12.2019
A love of parasites
A love of parasites
Broomrape, rattle, dodder. It's not only the wonderful-sounding names that these plants have in common - it's also the way they live, because they do so at the expense of other plants, robbing them of water and nutrients in order to secure their own existence. And, in doing so, they have exerted a fascination on Dr. Susann Wicke, an associate professor at the University of Münster.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 20.11.2019
Huge tsunami hit Oman 1,000 years ago
Huge tsunami hit Oman 1,000 years ago
A natural event of similar magnitude would have devastating consequences today, warn researchers 15-meter high waves that pushed 100 tons boulders inland: This is more or less how one can imagine the tsunami that hit the coast of today's Sultanate of Oman about 1,000 years ago, as concluded by a recent study by the universities of Bonn, Jena, Freiburg and RWTH Aachen.

Environment - Life Sciences - 14.11.2019
How Multiple Factors of Global Change Affect Soil
Scientists at Freie Universität Berlin study effects of multiple global change factors / Findings published in latest issue of "Science" No 343/2019 from Nov 14, 2019 A team of ecologists at Freie Universität Berlin studied soil and how it was affected by multiple factors of global change. The team led by Matthias Rillig conducted laboratory experiments that examined the effects of up to ten factors of global change by randomly adding an increasing number of such factors.

Environment - Life Sciences - 30.10.2019
Insect decline more extensive than suspected
Insect decline more extensive than suspected
Compared to a decade ago, today the number of insect species on many areas has decreased by about one third. This is the result of a survey of an international research team led by scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The loss of species mainly affects grasslands in the vicinity of intensively farmed land - but also applies to forests and protected areas.

Environment - Life Sciences - 24.10.2019
Higher local earthworm diversity in Europe than in the tropics
Higher local earthworm diversity in Europe than in the tropics
Global climate change could alter earthworm communities worldwide In any single location, there are typically more earthworms and more earthworm species found in temperate regions than in the tropics. Global climate change could lead to significant shifts in earthworm communities worldwide, threatening the many functions they provide.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 17.10.2019
Biodiversity Improves Crop Production
Biodiversity Improves Crop Production
10/17/2019 Around 20 percent of the world's agricultural areas yields less than it did 20 years ago. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, humans are the culprit: we have not done enough to protect biodiversity. In many respects, nature is an outstanding service provider for agriculture.

Environment - 26.08.2019
How Plants Measure Their CO2 Uptake
How Plants Measure Their CO2 Uptake
08/26/2019 Plants face a dilemma in dry conditions: they have to seal themselves off to prevent losing too much water but this also limits their uptake of carbon dioxide. A sensory network assures that the plant strikes the right balance. When water is scarce, plants can close their pores to prevent losing too much water.

Environment - Materials Science - 12.08.2019
Mapping the Energetic Landscape of Solar Cells
Mapping the Energetic Landscape of Solar Cells
A new spectroscopic method now makes it possible to measure and visualise the energetic landscape inside solar cells based on organic materials. It was developed by a research team led by Yana Vaynzof, a physicist at Heidelberg University. This novel visualisation technique enables scientists to study the physical principles of organic photovoltaics with extreme precision and to better understand processes such as energetic losses.

Life Sciences - Environment - 09.08.2019
Evolutionary Dynamics
Evolutionary Dynamics
The genotype determines not only the appearance, development, and adaptive strategies of the given individual. It also carries far-reaching information on past changes and adaptations of the phenotype. Researchers from Heidelberg University and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne have investigated this evolutionary change process using model organisms from the Brassicaceae plant family, focusing on leaf shape.

Health - Environment - 25.07.2019
HIV Spreads Through Direct Cell-To-Cell Contact
HIV Spreads Through Direct Cell-To-Cell Contact
The spread of pathogens like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is often studied in a test tube, i.e. in two-dimensional cell cultures, even though it hardly reflects the much more complex conditions in the human body. Using innovative cell culture systems, quantitative image analysis, and computer simulations, an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Heidelberg University has now explored how HIV spreads in three-dimensional tissue-like environments.

Life Sciences - Environment - 25.07.2019
Poisonous grasses: new study provides reassurance
Poisonous grasses: new study provides reassurance
07/25/2019 Stories of mass poisoning incidents of livestock due to toxic grasses made headlines especially overseas. Animal ecologists from Würzburg have studied whether this hazard is also lurking on German pastures. "Dangerous Pastures: Deadly Grass Puts Horses at Risk" - Such dire warnings on the websites of horse owners and horse lovers may cause people to see their environment in a whole new light.

Environment - Life Sciences - 18.07.2019
How climate change disrupts relationships
How climate change disrupts relationships
07/18/2019 Plants rely on bees for pollination; bees need plants to supply nectar and pollen. Scientists from the University of Würzburg have studied how climate change affects these mutualistic interactions.

Environment - Computer Science - 16.07.2019
Tracking down climate change with radar eyes
Tracking down climate change with radar eyes
"The Arctic is a hotspot of climate change," explains Prof. Florian Seitz of the German Geodetic Research Institute at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). "Due to rising temperatures, the glaciers of Greenland are receding. At the same time sea ice is melting. Every year, billions of liters of meltwater are released into the ocean." The enormous volumes of fresh water released in the Arctic not only raise the sea level, they also have the potential to change the system of global ocean currents - and thus, our climate.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 12.07.2019
New Findings on Early Bombardment of the Earth and Moon and Their Development
Freie Universität Researchers Contribute to International Study Published in Nature No 215/2019 from Jul 12, 2019 How did the Earth evolve from a fireball about 4.5 billion years ago to a habitable world? The key to this question lies in the early history of our planet, when the bombardment with cosmic bodies slowly declined.

Environment - 02.07.2019
The secret of mushroom colors
The secret of mushroom colors
In nature, specific colors and patterns normally serve a purpose: The eye-catching patterns of the fire salamander convey to its enemies that it is poisonous. Red cherries presumably attract birds that eat them and thus disperse their seed. Other animals such as chameleons use camouflage coloring to protect themselves from discovery by predators.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.07.2019
Scientists alarmed by bark beetle boom
Scientists alarmed by bark beetle boom
Bark beetles are currently responsible for killing an unprecedented number of trees in forests across Europe and North America. Researchers are therefore urging to step up research into bark beetles - also in view of climate change. "Bark beetles lay waste to forests" - "Climate change sends beetles into overdrive" - "Bark beetles: can the spruce be saved?": These newspaper headlines of the past weeks covered the explosive growth of bark beetle populations and its devastating impact on timberlands.

Environment - 13.06.2019
Bitcoin causing CO2 emissions comparable to Hamburg
Although Bitcoin is a virtual currency, the energy consumption associated with its use is very real. For a Bitcoin transfer to be executed and validated, a mathematical puzzle must be solved by an arbitrary computer in the global Bitcoin network. The network, which anyone can join, rewards the puzzle solvers in Bitcoin.

Life Sciences - Environment - 21.05.2019
Microbial Systems Open a New Chapter in Biosphere Research
A New Study from Freie Universität Berlin in Cooperation with the University of Virginia No 139/2019 from May 21, 2019 In a recent study, biologists from Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Virginia (USA) examine ideas about closed ecological systems and how to further develop them. The goal of the study is to establish concepts that will make it possible to conduct experiments with self-sustaining ecosystems.

Environment - 20.05.2019
Size is everything
Size is everything
Ecologist Ulrich Brose develops a new method to predict the vulnerability of ecosystems. Predators play a key role. Natural ecosystems are as vulnerable as they are diverse. Environmental changes such as climate change, pollution or the spread of alien species can easily throw an ecosystem off balance.

Physics - Environment - 20.05.2019
Carbon Dioxide As Geothermometer
For the first time it is possible to measure, simultaneously and with extreme precision, four rare molecular variants of carbon dioxide (CO2) using a novel laser instrument. It is thus able to measure the temperature during the formation of CO2-binding carbonates and carbonaceous fossils completely independently of other parameters.