Press releases

Each year, some 40 of our experts are in the news. From toxic cyanobacteria to soil biodiversity and bird personality. For press inquiries, please contact Froukje Rienks,  head of PR & Science Communication.

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  1. Nuisance growth of aquatic plants: to mow or not to mow?

    Press release
    Massive growth of submerged aquatic plants can be a nuisance, especially in summer. It's up to water managers to limit the inconvenience for swimmers, boats and fishermen in a way that is both responsible and cost-effective. Michiel Verhofstad defended his PhD thesis this week on the 'root' causes of the problem, and how best to tackle it.
  2. Polarised debate: polar bear blogs reveal dangerous gap between climate-change facts and opinions

    Press release
    Climate-change discussions on social media are very influential. A new study in BioScience shows that when it comes to iconic topics such as polar bears and retreating sea ice, climate blogs fall into two distinct camps. With little or no overlap between deniers and the available scientific facts. The study’s first author, NIOO-KNAW researcher Jeff Harvey says: “It’s time for scientists to counter the misinformation and engage directly with the public far more.”
    polarised-debate_large male looking
  3. What makes soil, soil? Researchers find hidden clues in DNA

    Press release
    Ever wonder what makes soil, soil? And could soil from the Amazon rainforest really be the same as soil from your garden? Researchers from the University of Manchester and the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) are using DNA sequencing to unlock the secrets of the world’s soils, and analyse ecological patterns and microbial communities on a global scale.
    Botswana soil crust Elliott
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. '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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.