Extrasolar planets are candidates for life in Outer Space. Astronomers and astro-biologists use high resolution telescopes to detect traces of life on planets outside our solar system. More than 400 planets have been identified meanwhile most of them consisting of gas. Some of them have the size of Jupiter, the biggest planet which orbits our sun. Surprisingly some of these planets consist of hard and stony material maybe allowing earth-like atmospheres, a kind of "Super-Earth".
The tiger. The protection of big allrounders like tiger, wolf or lion may play a key role in ecosystem stabiltiy (photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Computer models can contribute to the understanding of complex systems in nature. Ecosystems belong to complex systems which are influenced by numerous correlated factors. Food chains for example are part of ecosystems and difficult to investigate in all with the methods of field ecology. It is known that food webs are stable over long time periods, the interactions between different species (predators and prey) are constant. Yet when ecologists try to calculate models of such correlations they face some obstacles: they have to reduce usually many factors to get reasonable scientific output from their models. So still conclusions drawn from results are still constrained. Now scientists from Austria, Germany and the US revealed fundamental legalities of stability in ecosystems: the more diversified the prey species are on which a predator at the top of a food chain feeds the more stable is the ecosystem in which it lives. Accordingly a food chain is most stable if the prey species in the center of a food web or a food chain have various predators. The scientists used a new method  developed by a workgroup of the Max-Planck-Institute of the Physics of Complex Systems.

The International Congress of Psychology starts today in Berlin from 20th July until 25th July 2008.

Next year from the 27th to the 30th of April, Granada in Spain will be hosting a conference, which aims to shed more light on the risks and counter-measures, which can be taken against catastrophic asteroid impacts on our planet.

The Society for Experimental Biology hold its Annual Main Meeting from the 6th of July to the 10th of July in Marseille, France. The meeting has 4 main topic sessions. 1) Animal, which among others include sessions on biomechanics, predator/prey interactions and insect homeostatis. 2) Cell, which among others include sessions on circadian clocks and climate change: from genes to ecosystem. 3) Plant, whicng include sessions on ubiquitination, green products and developments in plant biology. 4) education, which include sessions on science communication, a young scientist event and a debate on bioenergy.


There is, furthermore, a cross sectional session on systems biology with an accompanying workshop. Deadline for abstracts is on the 31st of March 2008.


More info at the website: http://www.sebiology.org/meetings/Marseille/Marseille.html