Gully erosion is evidence of landscape destruction in the agricultural steppes of Southern Siberia
© Manfred Frühauf
27.02.2012 in Featured, Research, Science

Putting life back into the steppes

Of all places, Russia’s most important bread basket lies in the remote Western Siberian Steppe. The area is crucial for the government of this giant realm as it ensures harvests and safeguards the country from expensive imports. Yet the area is endangered. For decades the steppe’s soil has been destroyed by improper farming techniques and strong climate fluctuations. How and if it is possible to use the area more sustainably in the future while, at the same time, increasing yields is what Halle’s geo-ecologist, Professor Manfred Frühauf, is hoping to find out in the next five years as part of a joint research project. Read more

Corn leaves emit volatile terpenes when injured by caterpillars. These, in turn, attract parasitoid wasps which are the natural enemy of caterpillars. !
© Ted Turlings
30.06.2011 in Research, Science

Odour signals entice the enemy’s enemy

Plants are not mute. They possess a special language and reveal themselves to be exceedingly inventive when using it. Their vocabulary consists of an abundance of odours which they emit into their environment. They can even produce aromatic signals to call for help. Prof. Dr. Jörg Degenhardt, a pharmacist from Halle, is interested in these substances. His investigations includes how and why plants emit certain odours. Read more

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