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Life Sciences - Environment - 15.11.2022
Active lipids enable intelligent swimming under nutrient limitation
Biophysicists from the University of Luxembourg have uncovered how microplankton - key photosynthetic organisms which produce nearly 50% of the oxygen we breathe - adopt a thrifty lifestyle when nutrients turn limiting. They strategically harness internal lipids to regulate swimming properties to maximise their fitness.

Environment - 14.11.2022
Unknown mangrove forest
Study is first to predict impact of climate change on mangrove distribution in South Africa A team of scientists from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Nelson Mandela University, the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and the University of the Western Cape has been able to show for the first time that ocean currents and coastal geomorphology may continue to hold back the spread of mangrove forests along the South African coast, even as global warming creates a more ideal climate for them.

Life Sciences - Environment - 23.08.2022
Yellow color provides more efficient mating in locust swarm
Yellow color provides more efficient mating in locust swarm
An international team of researchers led by Professor Jozef Vanden Broeck (KU Leuven) discovered why adult male desert locusts in a swarm have a yellow color, in contrast to their brownish, female counterparts. This color difference ensures that male locusts can recognize fertile females during mating in a large swarm and avoid ending up with another male or with an already formed pair.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 30.06.2022
Climate change in oceanwater may impact mangrove dispersal
Climate change in oceanwater may impact mangrove dispersal
An international research led the VUB Biology Department examined 21 st century changes in ocean-surface temperature, salinity, and density, across mangrove forests worldwide. The study suggests that changes in surface-ocean density may impact the dispersal patterns of widely distributed mangroves species, and more likely so in the Indo-West Pacific region, the primary hotspot of mangrove diversity.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 19.05.2022
Mycorrhizal fungi: heroes of a hidden biodiversity
Mycorrhizal fungi: heroes of a hidden biodiversity
Thursday, May 19, 2022 — The wood wide web has been a hot topic among biologists in recent years. Trees and plants are interconnected and not only share information, they also support each other by passing on signals or food. They do this by means of mycorrhizal fungi that live in symbiosis with the roots.

Health - Environment - 11.05.2022
You don’t cut down an old tree: KU Leuven study demonstrates connection between large urban trees and human health
Not every type of greenery in an urban environment has the same positive effect on people. One large tree with a robust crown has more impact than ten young trees. That is the conclusion of a large-scale study by KU Leuven that was published today in the influential journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Environment - Architecture - 20.01.2022
Sustainable, affordable housing is possible with adaptable houses
VUB research explores potential of low-cost, low-carbon, flexible living spaces Sustainable building and affordable housing: two concepts that seem mutually exclusive.

Life Sciences - Environment - 11.01.2022
How can we know how animals synchronise their behaviour?
How can we know how animals synchronise their behaviour?
Koen de Reus of VUB's Artificial Intelligence Lab and the Comparative Bioacoustics Group at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands: "Failure of a non-human animal to synchronise in an experiment designed to test humans does not mean they are incapable of synchronising. It could also mean that the experiment was not appropriately designed to test a particular species." VUB researcher Koen de Reus is part of an international team exploring the best way to study how animals synchronise behaviours such as moving, vocalising, and breathing.

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.12.2021
Protecting ecosystems is better done regionally than locally
VUB biologists find missing link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning Biologists from VUB and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have demonstrated for the first time that it is not the local biodiversity in a specific place that is essential for maintaining a properly functioning ecosystem, but the biodiversity of the entire region.

Environment - 19.12.2021
50 years of science, citizen activism and policy making on air pollution
In the past few months, the billboards of CurieuzenAir, the research project involving citizen participation to measure air pollution, have appeared all over Brussels.

Social Sciences - Environment - 16.12.2021
Loneliness within older adults is more than the stereotype
In recent years, a lot of attention has been paid to loneliness in old age. Recent international studies show that 25% to 62% of elderly people experience occasional feelings of loneliness. However, the issue does not suddenly appear when one is old. Lise Switsers' doctoral research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel showed the importance of looking at loneliness from a life-course perspective: "It's one of the many stereotypes that only older adults are lonely.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.12.2021
Belgian research cracks mangrove puzzle
Belgian research cracks mangrove puzzle
VUB research uncovers factors that prevent mangroves from spreading in South America Mangrove ecosystems are distributed around the world, along tropical and subtropical coastlines. However, they do not extend beyond certain latitudes, even though the sites seem suitable for them. VUB researcher Ari Ximenes, with researchers from ULB and UCLouvain, has now cracked this question among mangrove bio-geographers, by studying sites off the eastern coast of South America.

Life Sciences - Environment - 02.12.2021
City butterflies keep flying for longer
A new study led by VUB biologist Thomas Merckx shows that because of the warmer urban environment in which they live, butterflies and moths display a longer flight season than those in the surrounding countryside. The experiments he and colleagues conducted demonstrate for the first time that urban populations are evolutionarily adapted to start their overwintering state later in the year.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.12.2021
VUB establishes Global Change Biology
Brussels and other cities as a living lab of ecological change and evolutionary adaptation The Vrije Universiteit Brussel has a new research specialisation in biology.

Environment - 28.10.2021
What’s your Climate Future?
VUB leads global team to launch personal climate projection website #MyClimateFuture Young generations are severely threatened by climate change. This intergenerational inequality was highlighted by an international research team led by VUB climate scientist Professor Wim Thiery in Science. The same group of researchers has now created a simple tool - via the VUB website My Climate Future - where everyone on the planet can find out how many more extreme climate events they will face across their lifetime compared to a world without climate change.

Environment - 04.10.2021
The cooling effect of European forests mapped for the first time
The cooling effect of European forests mapped for the first time
A team of scientists from KU Leuven, UAntwerp and Ghent University have mapped the temperatures of all European forest tracts. The results show that the summer temperatures in certain forests can cool down by as much as 10°C compared to the surrounding area. This cooling function is important in the battle against climate change.

Environment - 27.09.2021
The kids aren’t alright
VUB led Science publication shows how climate change is disproportionally affecting children International research led by Prof. Wim Thiery of the VUB research group BCLIMATE shows that children are to face disproportionate increases in lifetime extreme event exposure - especially in low-income countries.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.07.2021
Size doesn’t matter in ecosystem resilience, study in PNAS shows
Mangrove forests were once dominant in the tropics, but they have disappeared at alarming rates around the world. Little is known, however, about the impact of this deforestation on the functional diversity and resilience of resident fauna. A team including Farid Dahdouh-Guebas of VUB's Ecology & Biodiversity Research Unit Researchers addressed this question and found that mangroves have among the lowest faunal diversity of any of the planet's ecosystems, making them especially vulnerable to environmental change.

Environment - 30.06.2021
New vegetable fat enables improvement of cholesterol-lowering products
New vegetable fat enables improvement of cholesterol-lowering products
Olive oil and other unsaturated fats are liquid, but researchers have now developed an unsaturated fat that still remains solid at room temperature. Their product can help food companies to develop healthy alternatives to existing high-fat products. Olive oil and other unsaturated fats are liquid, but KU Leuven researchers have now developed an unsaturated fat that still remains solid at room temperature.

Environment - Paleontology - 10.06.2021
Dinosaurs lived in greenhouse climate with hot summers
New climate reconstruction method provides precise picture of climate 78 million years ago Palaeoclimatologists study climate of the geological past. Using an innovative technique, new research by an international research team led by Niels de Winter (VUB-AMGC & Utrecht University) shows for the first time that dinosaurs had to deal with greater seasonal differences than previously thought.
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