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Researchers discover liquid quasicrystal with dodecagonal tiling pattern

An unusual quasicrystal has been discovered by a team from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the University of Sheffield and Xi'an Jiaotong University. It has a dodecagonal honeycomb structure that has never been seen before. Until now, similar quasicrystals were only known to come in a solid - not liquid - form. The team presents its results in the scientific journal "Nature Chemistry".

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New ideas for biodiversity research: ecologist Jonathan Chase receives ERC Advanced Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) announced that Prof. Dr. Jonathan Chase will be awarded one of the prestigious ERC Advanced Grants. The scientist will receive almost 2.5 million euros over the next five years to fund his research project "MetaChange". With this project, he plans to develop new concepts, tools and analyses for a better understanding of biodiversity and its change. Chase has been conducting research and teaching at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig since 2014.

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Widespread species are gaining even more ground, new study shows

Widespread animal and plant species benefit from human impacts on nature and can spread even further. In contrast, species with a small range retreat even further. This is shown in a new study by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), which was published in "Nature Communications". The team analysed data from over 200 studies and was able to show that protected areas can mitigate some of the effects of biodiversity change and slow down the systematic decline of less common species.

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Global climate data insufficiently explain composition of local plant species

The global climate influences regional plant growth – but not to the same extent in all habitats. This finding was made by geobotanists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) after analysing over 300,000 European vegetation plots. Their conclusion: No general prediction can be made about the effects of climate change on the Earth's vegetation; instead, the effects depend to a large degree on local conditions and the habitat under investigation. The findings were published in "Nature Communications".

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Why are mammals more likely to go extinct on islands than on the mainland?

Islands are "laboratories of evolution" and home to animal species with many unique features, including dwarfs that evolved to very small sizes compared to their mainland relatives, and giants that evolved to large sizes. A team of researchers from the German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) has now found that species that evolved to more extreme body sizes compared to their mainland relatives have a higher risk of extinction than those that evolved to less extreme sizes. Their study, which was published in Science, also shows that extinction rates of mammals on islands worldwide increased significantly after the arrival of modern humans.

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