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Space weather and its effects on Earth

Space weather on Earth is chiefly influenced by magnetic storms and emissions of energy particles, in both cases caused by enhanced fluxes of protons and ions. these accelerated plasmas are called solar energetic particles (SEPs). They can be caused by two phenomena: impulsive SEP events caused by magnetic reconnection manifested as solar flares and gradual SEP events accelerated by strong shocks associated with coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
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To mow or not to mow?

The problem of climate change is no longer limited to complex scientific models and researchers’ predictions. It is reflected in a number of phenomena which are beginning to have significant impact on our everyday lives. We are facing such dangers as the creeping loss of biodiversity in our immediate environment or the catastrophic draughts caused by rising air temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns. These threats are global, but countermeasures against them can also be undertaken locally. Can changing the approach towards mowing lawns help the environment, and, if so, is it a feasible solution? Dr Joanna Kajzer-Bonk and Dr Justyna Kierat from the JU Faculty of Biology shed more light on this issue.
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What did our ancestors eat? Researchers investigate the diets of the past

We now know more about the diet of our ancestors living in the area now known as Poland as far back as the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Early Iron Age. An analysis of carbon and nitrogen isotopes found in bones and remains of cultivated plants. Such research projects are carried out by various research centres around the world, including the Jagiellonian University. In the article below, Dr hab. Marek Nowak, Prof. UJ from the JU Institute of Archaeology shares some of his team’s findings.
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Evolutionary purpose of bacterial sex

If there is one thing we learned from over 150 years of studies on the evolution of sex it is that more sex is not always better. So why some bacteria exchange genetic material more frequently than others? Read the article by Dr Rafał Mostowy from the JU Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology Microbial Genomics Mostowy Lab to learn more about the reproductive mechanisms in bacteria and what they mean for evolutionary biology in general.
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Dropping like flies

About 66 million years ago, the age of dinosaurs came to an end when a massive asteroid hit the Earth. An enormous shockwave and raging wildfires caused thick clouds of smoke and dust to obscure the sun, changing the global climate and killing off around three quarters of all existing life. We are aware of at least several comparable or possibly even greater mass extinction events that happened in the history of our planet. Unfortunately, it seems that we’re about to experience another one. Dr Justyna Kierat and Dr Piotr Łukasik from the JU Faculty of Biology have taken a closer look at the chilling issue of mass animal die offs.
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What do plants hear?

The natural world is full of sounds: from the buzzing of bumble bees to the murmur of streams and the whistling of wind. Each of them provides us with important information, for instance, about a source of water, an impending danger, or an upcoming change in weather. And what about plants? Are they able to listen to the world around them? If so, where do they have ears? Dr Paweł Jedynak from the JU Department of Physiology and Plant Biochemistry gives us some insight into plant polyphony.
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The price of coronavirus

Since late December 2019, the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in central China has led to the deaths of nearly 500 people, thereby bringing the number of victims of the virus closer to the death toll caused by SARS in 2002/2003. The ongoing crisis will undoubtedly have serious consequences, not only for health care, but also society, politics and economy. We asked Adrian Brona from the JU Institute of the Middle and Far East to diagnose the signs of coronavirus infection in the Chinese economy.
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