The European Research Council has awarded an ERC Starting Grant to Prof. Nico Eisenhauer, a scientist from the University of Leipzig and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). The grant, which is endowed with EUR 1.5 million over the next 5 years, is awarded to study the effects of European earthworms in North America. As an invasive species, these earthworms are influencing biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in many North-American ecosystems. Prof. Eisenhauer is the first young scientist in the Department of Biosciences, Pharmacy and Psychology at Leipzig University to be awarded this renowned scholarship.
Biological invasions by alien species are considered as being one of the main threats to biodiversity on earth. One of these invasions is taking place under the feet of the inhabitants of the USA and Canada.
Apart from a few refuges on the western coast of the USA and in the extreme south, there have been no native species of earthworms in North America for more than 10,000 years (as a result of the glaciation during the last ice age).
However, along with the plants they took from the old to the new world, European settlers also brought earthworms to North America starting in the 17th century. “Generally, earthworms are said to have a positive effect on the soil: They plough through the earth and, as a result, improve its aeration, the provision of nutrients and plant growth“, explains Nico Eisenhauer.
“However, the flora and fauna of the North American forests have adapted to thick organic soil layers which are now being eaten by the earthworms. So far, the effects of exotic earthworm species on eco-systems have not been properly examined in an experiment.”
With a powerful combination of observations, field and laboratory experiments, and meta-analyses, the new ECOWORM grant will fund the first systematic study on the impact of earthworms on plant communities and soil food webs. Moreover, to be able to predict the spread and the consequences of the earthworm invasion in North America, the team will use a global change experiment to examine the effects of higher temperatures and reduced summer rainfall on earthworm invasions.
In his capacity as the head of the "Experimental Interaction Ecology" research group, Prof. Nico Eisenhauer researches how biodiversity evolves, which impacts it has on the functioning of complex ecosystems and which protection measures are sensible and needed. The 35-year-old biologist has received numerous awards for his research activities, e.g. the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize and the Emmy Noether Scholarship of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. In 2014, Nico Eisenhauer became a professor at Leipzig University and iDiv. Prior to this, he worked at the universities of Jena, Munich, Minnesota, Göttingen and Darmstadt.
His special focus is on lab and field experiments examining biodiversity. This also includes the Jena Experiment studying diversity effects on grasslands. Today, Prof. Eisenhauer, as the speaker of the research group in Jena, manages one of the longest-running biodiversity experiments worldwide. Over the last ten years, he has published more than 118 articles and papers in international journals, including numerous publications in leading scientific magazines, such as Nature, Science, Nature Communications, PNAS and Ecology Letters.
The European Research Council (ERC) supports particularly promising young researchers with Starting Grants that provide up to EUR 1.5 million over a period of, at a maximum, five years in order to keep them in Europe in the years after their doctorate and to promote their career in science and research. The scholarship is awarded regardless of subject, nationality or gender.
Scientific excellence forms the only criterion for this grant. By securing this funding, Prof. Eisenhauer has succeeded in one of the most strongly contested European application procedures for funding. Only roughly 10 percent of the, in total, 2920 applications submitted were selected for funding in 2015.
Since its inception, the ERC has selected 5,000 top researchers from more than 50,000 applications and, as a result, it has supported more than 20,000 publications. The ERC awarded EUR 1.7 billion per annum over four different research subject areas in order to boost the dynamic development, creativity and scientific excellence required to strengthen research in Europe at the frontiers of knowledge.
Prof. Dr. Nico Eisenhauer
Professor for Experimental Interaction Ecology at the Leipzig University and Head of Experimental Interaction Ecology at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
as well as
Carsten Heckmann/ Susann Huster, Leipzig University Press Office
Tel.: +49-(0)341-97-35021, - 35022
Tilo Arnhold, iDiv public relations
Experimental Interaction Ecology at iDiv:
Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 2014
ERC Starting Grants
About the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
iDiv is a central facility of the University of Leipzig within the meaning of Section 92 (1) of the Act on Academic Freedom in Higher Education in Saxony (Sächsisches Hochschulfreiheitsgesetz, SächsHSFG). It is run together with the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, as well as in cooperation with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ.
The following non-university research institutions are involved as cooperation partners: the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI BGC), the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (MPI CE), the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI EVA), the Leibniz Institute DSMZ–German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB), the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) and the Leibniz Institute Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz (SMNG). http://www.idiv.de
Tilo Arnhold | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Radio astronomers score high marks in the competition for EU funding
12.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
Europe wide cooperation on spinal cord injury research receives 1.34 Million Euros grant
12.12.2016 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering