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  1. Importance of biological clock can only be seen in the wild

    Press release
    The impact of biological clocks on nature and our lives is enormous. Jet lag, mating, bird migration: so much depends on the keeping of time in our bodies and those of other organisms. The latest issue of the world's oldest scientific journal is dedicated entirely to the topic. Featuring researchers from the Netherlands.
  2. Spiders and earthworms overtake woodlice in Dutch gardens

    Press release
    Woodlice have for the first time been dethroned as the most spotted soil animals in Dutch gardens. The third edition of the nationwide Soil Animal Days saw arachnoids seize the top spot, with earthworms a close second. A probable explanation for the shift is the extremely wet weather at the onset of autumn. Fortunately, that didn't stop some 600 enthousiasts from counting the soil animals in their gardens.
  3. Evolution in your back garden – great tits may be adapting their beaks to birdfeeders

    Press release
    British enthusiasm for feeding birds may have caused UK great tits to have evolved longer beaks than their European counterparts, according to new research. The findings, published in Science, identify for the first time the genetic differences between UK and Dutch great tits which researchers were then able to link to longer beaks.
  4. 'It depends': soil organic matter doesn't automatically increase crop yield

    Press release
    More organic matter in the soil may be beneficial for the climate, but contrary to what's been assumed it doesn't automatically increase crop yield. The amount is not the only factor, concludes research by NIOO's Stijn van Gils: it also depends on the context.
  5. Frisian lapwings fan out across Europe in winter

    Press release
    Northern lapwings are easy to spot during the breeding season, with their noisy aerial acrobatics. But as research led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) shows, lapwings that breed virtually next to each other in spring may spend their winters thousands of kilometres apart. As a survival strategy, it's not enough to stop the species' ongoing decline.
  6. Red light has no effect on bat activity

    Press release
    Artificial light at night can have a disruptive effect on bats, but not if the light is red. Switching to red light may therefore limit or prevent habitat loss for rare, light-shy bat species. The latest issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B publishes results from five years of pioneering research led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW).
    Lantaarnpaal rood licht
  7. Restoring nature the fast way

    Press release
    Restoring nature is not for the impatient: it takes a lot of time before the right plant species establish themselves. But experiments show there's a way to speed up the process, from decades to just a few years. A new website from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) tells you everything you need to know. Meanwhile, one of the researchers working on this pioneering approach defended his PhD thesis this week.
  8. Extreme weather has greater impact on nature than expected

    Press release
    An oystercatcher nest is washed away in a storm surge. Australian passerine birds die during a heatwave. A late frost in their breeding area kills off a group of American cliff swallows. Small tragedies that may seem unrelated, but point to the underlying long-term impact of extreme climatic events. In the special June issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, NIOO researchers launch a new approach to these 'extreme' studies.
  9. Can barnacle geese predict the climate?

    Press release
    The breeding grounds of Arctic migratory birds such as the barnacle goose are changing rapidly due to accelerated warming in the polar regions. They won't be able to keep up with these climatic changes unless they can somehow anticipate them. A team of researchers from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) employed computer models to assess the prospects of the geese and their young. The results can be found in the scientific journal Global Change Biology.
  10. The world's most spoken language is...Terpene

    Press release
    If you’re small, smells are a good way to stand out. A team of researchers led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) has demonstrated for the first time that two different types of micro-organisms – bacteria and fungi – use fragrances, known as terpenes, to hold conversations. And that’s not all. “We actually believe that terpenes are the most popular chemical medium on our planet to communicate through.”
  11. Exotic species aren't all bad

    Press release
    When it comes to their role in aquatic ecosystems, exotic water plants are generally no different than indigenous species. In fact, they can be an asset, argues Bart Grutters (NIOO-KNAW) in his PhD thesis. That doesn't mean all exotic species should be given free rein. But they can be managed more effectively if you focus on their properties and not their place of origin.
    Persbericht Bart Grutters
  12. Micro-organisms will help African farmers

    Press release
    Sorghum is the fifth most important cereal in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, many farmers rely on this grain for food and feed. But Striga, a parasitic weed, can have a devastating impact on crop yield. With an 8-million-dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an international team will now explore the potential of soil microbes to offer crop protection. The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is coordinating this 5-year project.
    Working in a sorghum field