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  1. Testing early warning signals for crises, in lakes

    Press release
    Wouldn't it be great if we could tell the state of an ecosystem or the like - healthy or heading for a crisis - by keeping track of a few key signals? Thanks to the theory of ‘tipping points’, that’s not unthinkable. Now a team of researchers led by Alena Gsell of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) has tested early warning signals: in lakes. In the Early Edition of PNAS online, they conclude that predicting works...but not yet in all cases.
  2. Predicting plant-soil feedbacks from plant traits

    Press release
    In nature, plants cannot grow without soil biota such as fungi and bacteria. Successful plants are able to harness positive, growth-promoting soil organisms while avoiding the negative effects of others. Which plant traits can predict these interactions, or the success of a plant? Researchers and plant breeders would like to know. In a paper in the Journal of Ecology of August 24, a team from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Wageningen University and the Universität Leipzig tested exactly this and found thick roots to be a leading trait.
  3. Soil inoculation works!

    Press release
    Restoring nature, for instance on former farmland? That works a lot faster, more precise, and less disruptive via soil inoculation. Take a bit of healthy soil from a natural area close by and restore the desired type of nature within a couple of years. In the journal Nature Plants, the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Natuurmonumenten (Society for Nature Conservation) also solve a long-lasting subject of discussion: it’s the soil bugs that steer such nature restoration.
    Field exp photos
  4. Nocturnal light makes birds change their behaviour

    Press release
    Songbirds change their behaviour and timing when nestboxes are exposed to artificial light at night. "They become light sleepers, literally and metaphorically", says Maaike de Jong (NIOO-KNAW). She successfully defended her thesis on the effects of different colours of light at Wageningen University on Friday. The most surprising effect she's found? Some birds are forced to become more monogamous...
    Foto 3 stefan sand
  5. Predicting the impact of climate change on population size

    Press release
    How can we tell if climate change really affects the population dynamics of a species? "Changes to behaviour, weight or appearance don't always mean population numbers are de- or increasing." NIOO-researcher Martijn van de Pol presents a novel approach to answering the question in the June issue of Ecology Letters.
  6. Identifying plant and animal DNA switches much faster and cheaper

    Press release
    Epigenetics is a fast-growing field of research all over the world. Ecological epigenetics has now been further advanced thanks to the development of a new research technique. ‘This technique is cheaper and faster and enables research that was previously impossible to conduct.’ The time has come to look at how important epigenetic changes really are for dealing with climate change, plagues and other stress-factors. The research team led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is publishing its technique in the scientific journal Nature Methods.
  7. Pharmaceutical residues increasingly disrupt aquatic life

    Press release
    It's a hidden global change: away from the public eye, residues of medicines in water have been causing increasing disruption. They can kill aquatic animals, and play havoc with their food web and reproductive cycle. An international team of researchers led by the NIOO makes an urgent case for better wastewater treatment and biodegradable pharmaceuticals.
  8. Clever songbird's genome may hold key to evolution of learning

    Press release
    The great tit has revealed its genetic code, offering new insight into how species adapt to a changing planet. Initial findings suggest that epigenetics – what’s on rather than what’s in the gene – may have played a key role in the evolution of the ability to learn. And not just that of birds...
  9. Extinction of Pleistocene herbivores induced major vegetation and landscape changes

    Press release
    The extinction of large herbivores such as mammoths could explain massive prehistoric changes in vegetation and landscape structure, with major implications for our understanding of present-day ecosystems. Modern and paleo-ecologists joined forces in an international study led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). The results are being published online by PNAS this week.
  10. Dig in with us on Soil Animal Day!

    Press release
    What soil creatures are living right under our feet? Find out in your own backyard on 4 October - or in your local park, on your green roof or even your balcony (!) - as the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) organises the first-ever 'Soil Animal Day', together with the Centre for Soil Ecology (CSE).
  11. Wageningen to mark International Year of Soils with range of activities

    Press release
    The soil expertise found at Wageningen enjoys international recognition. So it is only fitting that in 2015, the International Year of Soils, numerous activities are taking place in Wageningen. On Monday 26 January, various Wageningen-based institutions and organisations laid a plaque in the Walk of Fame on campus to kick off the IYS. The gesture symbolises their collaboration in the new Wageningen Soil Network.
  12. Ecofactsheet: migratory birds & bird flu

    The strain of bird flu responsible for the recent outbreak in the Netherlands is a highly pathogenic form of H5N8.
    Een groep trekvogels in V-formatie in de lucht