Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Jahr 2017

Scientists reveal core genes involved in honey bee immune system

An international team of researchers has identified a core set of genes involved in the responses of honey bees to multiple diseases caused by viruses and parasites. The findings provide a better-defined starting point for future studies of honey bee health, and may help scientists and beekeepers to breed honey bees that are more resilient to stress. Researchers from Martin Luther University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) contributed to the study that was recently published in "BMC Genomics".

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"Nature": No single protein determines queen development in honeybees

The proteins in the larval food of honeybees are not specific determinators to make the larvae grow into queens – that includes the protein royalactin, which had been previously claimed to be the "queen determinator" in a highly regarded study in 2011. This is the conclusion of a study carried out by researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and published in the internationally renowned journal "Nature".

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Heisenberg Professorship strengthens Oriental Research at the University of Halle

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) has filled another Heisenberg Professorship through the support of the German Research Foundation (DFG). The internationally renowned researcher of Oriental Christian Studies, Dr Cornelia B. Horn, will assume the professorship "Language and Cultures of the Christian Orient" starting in winter semester 2016/17. The appointment of Dr Horn by Rector Professor Udo Sträter further strengthens the unique position of the Institute of Oriental Studies at MLU which examines the Islamic, Oriental-Christian and Jewish traditions as part of its research and teaching.

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Heisenberg Professorship strengthens biosciences at the University of Halle

Developmental geneticist Christian R. Eckmann has received a Heisenberg Professorship from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The internationally recognised scientist, who previously received funding from the DFG as a Heisenberg fellow, has been conducting research at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) since 2015. His research focuses on molecular control mechanisms that govern the generation and differentiation of germ cells. The professorship "Developmental Genetics", which Eckmann will hold starting on 1 October, will be funded by the DFG until 2020; he will then be taken on by MLU on a permanent basis.

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Sweat bees on hot chillies: native bees thrive in traditional farming, securing good yield

Farming doesn`t always have to be harmful to bees. On the contrary, even though farmers on the Mexican peninsula of Yucatán traditionally slash-and-burn forest to create small fields, this practice can be beneficial to sweat bees by creating attractive habitats. The famers profit as well since they depend on these insects to pollinate their habanero chillies. This discovery by an international team of authors, headed by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), was recently published in the international "Journal of Applied Ecology".

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The diversity of resources determines the diversity of species

It is well-established that the more species that thrive in a habitat, the better it is at weathering a variety of events from floods to drought to fire. Now, an international study with strong ties to the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) is shedding new light on the effect of an increasingly common human-caused disturbance — the addition of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — on a wide range of grassland ecosystems around the world. Results are published in "Nature".

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Jahr 2016

Study: bees are more productive in the city than in surrounding regions

Bees pollinate plants more frequently in the city than in the country even though they are more often infected with parasites, a factor which can shorten their lifespans. These were the findings of a study conducted by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in conjunction with the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig and the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). The findings were recently published in the international journal "Proceedings of the Royal Society B".

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Woodlands in Europe: more tree species, more benefits

Forest homogenisation results in a lower ecosystem performance. This summarises the findings of an international team of scientists from 29 institutions, including researchers from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), Leipzig University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). The scientists were able to demonstrate that species-rich forest stands give rise to a higher number and more varied range of services than those with fewer species. 200 forests across six European countries were investigated as part of the study. The findings have now been published in the renowned scientific journal "PNAS".

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New evidence that diversity has a positive effect on biomass production

Communities rich in species are substantially healthier and more productive than those depleted of species. An international group of scientists has solved this long-standing ecological riddle using new scientific techniques for analysing complex data of grassland ecosystems worldwide. The study with participation of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg is published in the current issue of "Nature". It is the most comprehensive study up to now, which shows this effect in natural, un-manipulated ecosystems.

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Steintor-Campus: All moved in

Winter semester saw classes start up on the Steintor Campus for the first time. The campus is Halle University’s fourth largest after University Square, the Francke Foundations and Weinberg Campus with its nearby hospital. The idea of concentrating all of the humanities and social sciences departments in one location has been 15 years in the making.

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Humboldt Professorship for MLU and UFZ: Tiffany Knight bolsters biodiversity research

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) were successful in their nomination for Germany’s most highly endowed research award, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. Tiffany Knight, a US-American from Washington University in St. Louis, is set to strengthen biodiversity research in Central Germany. The Humboldt Foundation will provide five million euros in funding over five years. Biologist Tiffany Knight is the third Humboldt professor at MLU taking her place alongside physicist Stuart Parkin and Germanist Elisabeth Décultot.

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Study finds there is less knowledge about global species diversity than previously assumed

Many of the previous studies on global species diversity are inaccurate. These are the conclusions of an international research group, led by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in collaboration with the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research Halle - Jena - Leipzig (iDiv), which carried out a long-term study on biodiversity in the subtropical forests of China. The study shows that there might be an under- or overestimation of global biodiversity by up to 50 per cent when the survey is based on only a few taxa. The study’s findings were published in the journal “Nature Communications”.

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