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25th anniversary of the MPIs for Biogeochemistry and Chemical Ecology in Jena

The two neighboring Max Planck Institutes on the Beutenberg Campus in Jena celebrate their 25th anniversary. We would like to use this as an opportunity to give you a brief inside into our current research with short podcasts. Have fun listening!

The best nose of all
Mate choice in moths, such as this male gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar), is controlled by the sense of smell. Researchers at the MPI for Chemical Ecology are studying the sense of smell in insects. They are also interested in the role played by the gypsy moth in its natural ecosystem.

Aiming high for the climate
The 325 m ATTO measuring tower was built in the remote Amazon rainforest. It is a unique platform for studying how the rainforest, atmosphere and climate influence each other.  This is important because the Amazon rainforest cycles vast amounts of energy carbon and water and therefore strongly influences regional and global climate. 

A firework of scents
The perception of scents changes the activity in the antennal lobe, the olfactory brain of the black-bellied fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Researchers at the MPI for Chemical Ecology are investigating how these structural changes influence the behavior of the flies and the activity of the nerve cells in the olfactory center of their brain.

Thaw instead of arctic frost
In northeastern Siberia, we are studying the stability of permafrost ecosystems, a mosaic of sub-areas that is constantly changing - depending on the climate. Permafrost soils of the northern hemisphere contain about half of the carbon stored in the soil worldwide; its stability and storage is ultimately ensured by the continuous permafrost status.

Cell diversity in the root
Researchers at the MPI for Chemical Ecology are studying genetically modified plants of the species Arabidopsis thaliana in the laboratory to find out what happens in the root cells and different cell layers when the plants are exposed to certain types of bacteria. The colored dots in the figure are fluorescent cell nuclei.

So close to the atmosphere
In the large ICOS network, with 40 measuring stations distributed across Europe, greenhouse gases are continuously recorded in the midst of various ecosystems including oceans. With the highly precise and standardized measurements, we support the prediction of future climate developments and political decision-makers.

Beetle with frog legs
The frog-legged leaf beetle Sagra femorata lives in the forests of Southeast Asia. The larvae of these beetles do not live on, but in the plant. The adult beetles, in turn, prefer plant sap to leaf food. Researchers at the MPI for Chemical Ecology are studying different species of leaf beetles. They are investigating the necessary adaptations of these insects to their vegetarian lifestyle.

On the trail of carbon
By burning solid samples at 1100°C, carbon and other elements such as nitrogen and sulfur are released and measured as gases. The quantification of such elements helps to understand the storage capacity of carbon in soils under different land uses and exchange processes on a regional and global scale.

Plant with bodyguard
The jungle plant Tococa forms a symbiotic relationship with ants. The spherical structure on the leaf petiole serves as a dwelling for ants. In return, the ants protect the plant from attackers. Researchers at the MPI for Chemical Ecology want to find out how the plants communicate with their animal partners via chemical signals.

Carbon turnover in Earth's ecosystems
Carbon cycles continuously through different spheres of our Earth, and this impacts – as green house gases like CO2 and methane - our global climate. We analyze how fast CO2 cycles in the vegetation of different ecosystems. Cycling is much faster in the rainy and warm tropics, in contrast to the Northern Hemisphere.
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