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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

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2010-06-22 12:10:21

Until recently, the disastrous scale of the threat posed by salmon farms to the fauna and National Park of the Ays©n region of southern Chile was entirely unknown. The unexpected discovery was made by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the University of Göttingen, who were studying acoustic communication among the native whales in the region. The researchers not only discovered that the salmon industry is rapidly spreading to the...

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2010-06-16 10:05:02

How postpartum depression arises and how it could be prevented Within the first week after giving birth, up to 70 percent of all women experience symptoms of the baby blues. While most women recover quickly, up to 13 percent of all new mothers suffer from symptoms of a clinical-level postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is defined as a major depressive episode starting within 4 weeks after delivery and is a significant public health problem. Postpartum blues represents a major risk...

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2010-06-06 07:08:01

High testosterone in house sparrows darkens their bill. The size of the black breast bib - the badge - and bill color of male House Sparrows change over the course of the year. Such ornaments usually signal quality and dominance of a male to his conspecifics and are correlated with his testosterone levels. These levels are generally higher before and during breeding season than for example during moult in autumn. A team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen,...

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2010-06-03 07:38:06

Scientists from Tbingen reveal an evolutionary dilemma: plants that are more resistant to disease grow more slowly and are less competitive than susceptible relatives when enemies are rare Individuals of one and the same plant species often differ greatly in their ability to resist pathogens: While one rose succumbs to bacterial infection, its neighbor blissfully thrives. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology in Germany have tracked down an explanation for this...

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2010-05-19 13:20:54

Communication across species boundaries by echolocation calls in bats Bats can distinguish between the calls of their own and different species with their echolocation calls, report scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen. This applies even for species closely related and ecologically similar with overlap of call frequency bands (The American Naturalist online, May 11th 2010). As opposed to bird song or the human voice, echolocation calls are primarily used for...

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2010-05-12 13:35:00

The downside of marriage for women: the greater a wife's age gap from her husband, the lower her life expectancy Marriage is more beneficial for men than for women - at least for those who want a long life. Previous studies have shown that men with younger wives live longer. While it had long been assumed that women with younger husbands also live longer, in a new study Sven Drefahl from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, has shown that this is not...

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2010-05-11 10:00:00

Supermassive black holes with the mass of many millions of stars have been detected at the center of many large galaxies. A super-massive black hole acts like a lurking "monster" at the center of the galaxy which swallows the surrounding material through the intensity of its gravitational pull. X-ray observations indicate that a large amount of energy is produced by the in-fall of matter into a black hole, and ejected in powerful jets. Astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for...

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2010-04-26 12:50:59

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research identify the active regions on the surface of comets Studying comets can be quite dangerous - especially from close up. Because the tiny particles of dust emitted into space from the so-called active regions on a comet's surface can damage space probes. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany have now developed a computer model that can locate these regions using only the information...

2010-04-21 13:50:27

The results of genetic studies on migratory birds substantiate the theory that in the case of a continued global warming, and within only a few generations, migratory birds will - subject to strong selection and microevolution - at first begin to fly shorter distances and at a later stage, stop migrating, and will thus become so-called "residents". In a selection experiment with blackcaps from southwest Germany, Francisco Pulido and Peter Berthold at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology...

2010-03-31 16:42:44

Space and time are intertwined in our thoughts, as they are in the physical world. For centuries, philosophers have debated exactly how these dimensions are related in the human mind. According to a paper to appear in the April, 2010 issue of Cognitive Science, children's ability to understand time is inseparable from their understanding of space. To probe the relationship between space and time in the developing mind, MPI researcher Daniel Casasanto and colleagues at the Aristotle...