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ERC provides millions for biodiversity research
Date:10/29/2009

This release is available in German.

Leipzig: A group of researchers led by ecological modelling experts Dr Thorsten Wiegand and Dr Andreas Huth and funded by the European Research Council (ERC) has begun work at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. The researchers will receive over EUR 2 million in research funding from the ERC over the next five years to investigate the composition and dynamics of species-rich communities. Advances in this area are important for biodiversity conservation in connection with climate and land use change, and for calculating carbon balances.

The European Research Council awards the ERC Advanced Grant to provide established, innovative and active researchers an opportunity to pursue frontier research of their choice. The formation of the ERC puts Europe's top researchers into direct open competition for the first time. The first call of the ERC Advanced Grants in life sciences received applications from 766 scientists worldwide. Seventy-eight projects were awarded on the sole criterion of excellence, with only 11 being selected from Germany.

The UFZ had already received a Starting Grant from the ERC in 2008. The group of new researchers led by microbiologist Prof. Lorenz Adrian is researching bacteria that convert chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons. This makes the UFZ the first Helmholtz centre to have been awarded both a Starting Grant and an Advanced Grant from the ERC.

Over the coming years, the researchers in Thorsten Wiegand and Andreas Huth's team will be investigating why so many species are able to coexist in ecological communities like forests. Their SPATIODIVERSITY project ('Towards a unified spatial theory of biodiversity'), combines high computing power with the latest methods of spatial pattern analysis, individual-based forest simulation models and model
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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