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08-11-2019 | A Magurran 3 mins read

Database opens door to understanding biodiversity change

A European biologist has pioneered a new way of looking at biodiversity change, with the help of the European Research Council (ERC). A key result of this work has been the launch of an open-access biodiversity database, which will help researchers and conservation managers find sustainable solutions to protect wildlife.

21-10-2019 | © picture 4 mins read

Same past, different histories: Remembering the Jagiellonians across Europe

When you think of the Renaissance period in Europe, what springs to mind? Perhaps the Medici family in Italy where the Renaissance is said to have begun, or the discovery of the ‘New World’ by Europeans like Christopher Columbus or Abel Tasman. But have you heard of the Jagiellonians?

24-06-2019 | © Despoina Mavridou 2 mins read

Bacterial wars

Bacteria fight big. When they meet competitors, they are as aggressive and bloodthirsty as they come. ERC grantee Kevin Foster studies how bacteria wage war against each other. His aim is to understand what led to the evolution of such extreme competitive behaviours, and how to exploit them for our own health.

24-06-2019 | © picture 2 mins read

Wake-up call for soil microbes

Our soils are inhabited by millions of microorganisms; however, the majority of them lay dormant. In her ERC project, Prof. Dagmar Woebken explores the mechanisms that allow soil microorganisms to go into dormancy and thus survive unfavorable conditions. It is further the goal to reveal the environmental signals that lead to their resuscitation to perform important ecosystems functions.

24-06-2019 | © istockphotos.com 2 mins read

Life in the deep – microbes of the abyss

The deep seafloor covers around 70% of our planet’s surface and is home to a diverse community of microorganisms, mostly bacteria. These single-cell life forms inhabit some of the most extreme places in the world, with freezing waters, permanent darkness, high pressure and little food. ERC grantee Antje Boetius studies these microbes in the abyss and their important role for the Earth’s nutrient cycles.

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.

14-01-2019 | © Magdalen College Oxford Old Library © Marsilio Editori in Venezia © Marina Goldring 1 min read

La rivoluzione della stampa in Europa in mostra a Venezia

Sino alla metà del XV secolo, i libri venivano scritti a mano. Nel 1455 venne stampata la Bibbia di Gutenberg, cambiando per sempre la società. Negli anni successivi milioni di libri furono stampati in tutta Europa. Cosa si sa oggi di questi libri? Chi li leggeva? Chi li acquistava? Chi li annotava? Cristina Dondi è una ricercatrice dell'Università di Oxford e curatrice della mostra "Printing Revolution 1450-1500. I 50 anni che hanno cambiato l'Europa" aperta al Museo Correr di Venezia lo scorso settembre. Forte del successo ottenuto, con oltre 90 000 visitatori a dicembre 2018, la mostra è stata prolungata sino al 30 aprile 2019. Un percorso di scoperta attraverso libri antichi e moderni strumenti digitali, frutto di anni di rigorose ricerche finanziate dall'ERC, il Consiglio europeo delle Ricerche. Sentiamo in questa intervista come nasce la passione di Cristina Dondi per i primi libri a stampa e cosa ha scoperto con le sue ultime ricerche che l'hanno portata a collaborare con biblioteche di tutto il mondo.

20-12-2018 | © Magdalen College Oxford Old Library © Marsilio Editori in Venezia © Marina Goldring 4 mins read

On the trail of the first printed books, the beginning of the knowledge economy

Until the middle of the 15th century, books were copied by hand. After the printing of the Gutenberg Bible, in Mainz, printed books started to circulate in Europe marking the start of a new era. But what do we know about the first modern books? What were they about? Who wrote them, bought them, read them? Prof. Cristina Dondi is chasing these answers, following the breadcrumbs left by these incredible volumes.

09-08-2018 | © picture 4 mins read

Wild elephants under threat

Based on University of Turku's press release

For more than 3000 years, men have captured wild Asian elephants to use them for work or entertainment. In a new study published today in Nature Communications, ERC grantee Virpi Lummaa shows the harmful effects of these ongoing practices on wild-caught animals. The findings are based on detailed records from the past 100 years over a population of 5000 timber elephants from Myanmar.

22-05-2018 | © picture 6 mins read

Sailing the mysteries of old maps

Dr Joaquim Alves Gaspar is a man of the sea. After many years in the Portuguese Navy, he gave up plans to become an admiral in favour of pursuing a PhD in the History of Cartography. This second career led him to receive an ERC Starting Grant, the first awarded in this budding discipline. With his highly multidisciplinary team (he likes to say that, to work with him, one must be a mathematician fluent in Latin), and the experience obtained as a navigator and navigational instructor, Dr Gaspar hopes to understand how and when the first nautical charts were created. The MEDEA-CHART team is the best place in Portugal, and probably in the world, to study the history of nautical cartography, hoping that this work will provide the domain with its rightful recognition within world history.