Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Study shows how plants influence Europe’s climate

The climate regulates plant growth and yet the climate is also influenced by plants. A study by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), which was published in the journal "Global Change Biology", has found that ecosystems can have a strong impact on Europe's climate depending on their plant mix. The researchers combined satellite data with around 50,000 vegetation records from across Europe. A good five per cent of regional climate regulation can be explained by local plant diversity. The analysis also shows that the effects depend on many other factors. Plants are able to influence the climate by reflecting sunlight, or cool their surroundings through evaporation.

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Scientists develop novel RNA- or DNA-based substances to protect plants from viruses

Individually tailored RNA or DNA-based molecules are able to reliably fight off viral infections in plants, according to a new study by the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), which was published in the "International Journal of Molecular Sciences". The researchers were able to fend off a common virus using the new active substances in up to 90 per cent of cases. They also developed a method for finding substances tailored specifically to the virus. The team has now patented the method.

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Maths: Smart learning software helps children during lockdowns - and beyond

Intelligent tutoring systems for math problems helped pupils remain or even increase their performance during the Corona pandemic. This is the conclusion of a new study led by the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Loughborough University in the UK. As part of their work, the researchers analysed data from five million exercises done by around 2,700 pupils in Germany over a period of five years. The study found that particularly lower-performing children benefit if they use the software regularly. The paper was published in the journal "Computers and Education Open".

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Increasingly similar or different? Centuries-long analysis suggests biodiversity is differentiating and homogenising to a comparable extent

The tendency of communities and the species within them to become more similar or more distinct across landscapes – biotic homogenisation and differentiation – are approximately balanced, according to a new study published in Science Advances. Led by researchers at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the MLU, the researchers analysed 527 datasets collected from ecosystems like grasslands, shrublands, and coral reefs as far back as 500 years ago. The analysis is the first of its kind to provide a comprehensive assessment of how local and regional biodiversity changes combine across landscapes over centuries.

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Critical Habitats at Risk: Three-quarters of vegetation types in the Americas are under-protected

The study published in Global Ecology and Conservation found that three-quarters of these distinct habitats in North, Central, and South America fall below the Global Biodiversity Convention's target of 30% protection. The research led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) also highlights that over 40% of threatened bird and mammal species are mostly found in a single vegetation type, putting them at risk for extinction if these critical habitats remain unprotected.

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