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05-02-2020 | © Yann Hello 4 mins read

Diving ‘mermaids’ could tell us what the Earth and the ocean look like from within

An ERC grant motivated Prof. Guust Nolet to move back to Europe to develop small underwater robots that could help us understand our planet’s structure. Ten years later, thanks to an industrial partnership funded by an additional ERC grant, these robots are also employed to monitor the health of our oceans.

05-02-2020 | © Yann Hello 5 mins read

Des robots-sirènes pour observer les profondeurs de la Terre et de nos océans

Une bourse du Conseil européen de la recherche (ERC) a permis au professeur Guust Nolet de retourner en Europe pour développer de petits robots sous-marins qui pourraient aider à comprendre la structure de notre planète. Dix ans plus tard, grâce à un partenariat industriel financé par une subvention supplémentaire, ces robots sont aussi utilisés pour surveiller la santé de nos océans.

27-11-2019 | © Guenter Albers, Shutterstock 3 mins read

Richer understanding of terrestrial carbon cycles aids more accurate climate change modelling

Quantifying the carbon storage potential of terrestrial ecosystems will have to take account of the relative contributions of photosynthesis and respiration to the global carbon cycle. The SOLCA project developed an ambitious approach to tackle this challenge.

24-06-2019 | © picture 2 mins read

Honey bees – what’s in their guts?

Honey bees are an important species for ecology and economy, but their population has shrank worryingly. Prof. Philipp Engel focuses on gut microbiota, a critical factor for bee health, to understand how it evolved and diversified over time. His study addresses timely questions about evolution, ecology, microbiology and could eventually contribute to new strategies for managing bee colonies’ health.

12-07-2018 | Image:©Shutterstock 2 mins read

Putting the CRISPR back in bacteria

CRISPR is a widely used molecular biology tool exploiting an immune process discovered in bacteria. Dr David Bikard studies CRISPR in bacterial cells, in conjunction with different DNA repair systems, to create even newer tools. He hopes to gain insight into bacterial genetics, and develop increasingly effective medical treatments.

08-03-2018 | © C. Maitre INRA 2 mins read

Bottom up climate change research

The increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere as a result of human activity is impacting the natural carbon cycle, modifying how the element travels between land and atmosphere. How will our future climate impact this exchange? How will ever-growing concentrations of greenhouse gases influence future biosphere CO2 fluxes? The answer may lie at our feet; in the soil beneath us.

15-07-2016 | © picture 2 mins read

Minerals reveal the flow patterns inside the Earth

The Earth is made of layers, just like a big onion, composed of different materials. However, the compounds forming these layers are not static, flowing from one stratum to another, following patterns still not entirely understood. Prof. Patrick Cordier tries to model the real conditions minerals are subjected to beneath the Earth’s crust. His aim is to understand the forces driving tectonic plates so we can better comprehend phenomena like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

12-07-2016 | Researcher picture ©Olga NAGY 2 mins read

Evolution of species: different, but not so different

Through her work with the fruit fly Drosophila santomea, Dr Virginie Orgogozo aims to answer one of the most challenging questions of modern evolutionary biology: how do observable characteristics change between species and yet remain stable in a given species?

26-04-2016 | Illustration © Eifel forest near the Viktoriaquelle water well. - Photo © Centre de Recherches Petrographiques et Geochimiques 2 mins read

A trace gas analysed in mineral spring water in Germany gives clues on the origins of the Earth

Researchers supported by the ERC have sampled magmatic gases derived from the Earth's mantle in the Eifel region in Germany. Their analysis of xenon, a rare and inert gas, sampled in bubbling mineral water could bring new insights into the origin of volatile elements, water and gases, that allowed life to develop on Earth.

21-03-2014 | Portrait ©Julia Frey | Image ©Alain Anglade / ©shutterstock - Littlesam 5 mins read

A hot topic for mermaids

To study something in detail you need to look at it from all directions, whether it is the Venus de Milo statue in the Louvre Museum, a car you are thinking of buying, or when using a CAT-scanner to image inside the human body. In the ERC-funded GLOBALSEIS project Professor Guust Nolet is doing this on a truly global scale, by developing a worldwide network of marine-based seismic-wave sensors that can give a much better picture of deep-earth structures and resolve a major paradox in geoscience.