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Fish sampling at river Wigger (photo: EPFL)
October 27, 2017

In Switzerland – not to mention the rest of Europe and the United States – freshwater fish are falling victim to a deadly disease that is rampant in the summer and dormant in the winter. It is caused by a parasite that thrives in rivers and attacks salmonid fish in particular. Researchers from EPFL, Eawag and University of Bern have come up with a mathematical model for predicting outbreaks as part of a three-year joint research program. Read more

Pond snails are affected by temperature stress and exposure to micropollutants. (Photo: Marko Koenig, Imagebroker, Okapia)
October 16, 2017

In a laboratory experiment, Eawag ecologists studied how the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis is affected by heatwaves, which are expected to become more frequent as a result of climate change. Snails exposed to temperature stress showed a greater investment in reproduction, egg production increasing by 60 per cent on average.  Read more

Sampling at the Werdhölzli treatment plant in Zurich. (Photo: Eawag, Elke Suess)
October 10, 2017

A study just published by Eawag scientists shows that gold and silver each amounting to around CHF 1.5 million a year are lost via effluents and sludge from wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland. The concentrations measured do not pose risks to the environment – and recycling would not be economically worthwhile. However, the study also produced surprising findings on other trace elements in wastewater, including rare earth metals such as gadolinium and the heavy metal niobium. Read more

Collection of water samples from Lake Cadagno (canton of Ticino, 1920 m asl). (Photo: Eawag, Helmut Bürgmann)
October 5, 2017

Single-celled bacteria are capable of mixing water layers in lakes – not directly, by movement of their flagella, but by accumulating locally and thus increasing water density. The heavier water then sinks, creating circular currents. Researchers have now observed this process for the first time not just in the laboratory, but in a natural water body – Lake Cadagno (canton of Ticino). Read more

Fig.1: Scientists use electro-fishing to catch trout for their experiments. Photo: Petra Nobs, Eawag
October 3, 2017

Trout that live in stable ecosystems divide the prey spectrum among themselves and develop into specialists. In streams with instable food supply, however, the trout become generalists. Sticklebacks from different evolutionary lineages alter their environment by their feeding habits. This is deleterious to their descendants except they are hybrids. Understanding the interaction between species and environment is important for the effective protection of biodiversity.  Read more

Antifouling treatment protects submerged surfaces from attachment of unwanted organisms. Photo: Limnomar, CC-BY-SA 4.0
September 27, 2017

In order to protect ship hulls and other surfaces exposed to water from algae, molluscs and crustaceans, they are coated with so-called antifouling biocides. Such biocides do not only protect the surfaces, however, but are often leached into the environment and can harm other life forms.  Read more

The list of adverse effects caused by agriculture to waterbodies is a long one. Photo: Markus Zeh
September 5, 2017

Dried-up ponds, culverted streams, contamination with fertilisers and pesticides – the list of adverse effects caused by agriculture to water and waterbodies is a long one. Shortening this list is a major challenge, not only for agriculture but also for society as a whole. Supplying humanity with food is, after all, equally important. At the Eawag Info Day, experts demonstrated that the conflicts between use and protection can be addressed through objective dialogue, transparently stated goals and a broad raft of measures. Read more

Ipsach lake waterworks (photo : ESB, Oliver Oettli)
September 1, 2017

Will global warming force a shift in Biel’s drinking water intake? What caused the sudden turbidity of the water supply in the winter of 2009? Eawag has come up with answers to these and other questions for Energy Service Biel, and in the process, new questions have also emerged. Read more

July 19, 2017

Central Switzerland is shaped by Lake Lucerne, which offers not only rich landscape diversity but also habitats for numerous animal species. As part of the Swiss-wide “Projet Lac” study, the lake’s fish fauna was surveyed for the first time using standardized quantitative methods – producing some surprising findings. Read more

Surface temperatures in Lake Geneva on 1.7.2017: while in Geneva and on the southwest shore near Nyon, temperatures below 10 degrees were recorded, in Évian swimmers were enjoying 22 to 23-degree waters. (Source: meteolakes.epfl.ch)
July 13, 2017

If the wind blows away the warm surface waters of a lake, cold water flows in from the depths. As a result of this effect the temperature in Lake Geneva recently sank to 8 degrees. A project led by Eawag and EPFL had predicted this cooling event. Read more

In the juvenile stage, the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) still has a transparent skin – hence the name “glass eel”. Photo: European Eel Foundation
June 21, 2017

European eels (Anguilla anguilla)  take three years to migrate from the spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea (east of Florida) to the coasts of Europe, where they grow to maturity. En route, they are guided by subtle local differences in the Earth’s magnetic field. Read more

The "Rainbow Biosystem" team with Severin Schwan (Roche) and Bundesrat Johann Schneider-Ammann (Photo: Alessandro Della Bella)
June 20, 2017

A new business idea – the “Rainbow Biosystem” – developed by researchers at Eawag received the 3rd prize in the business plan category at the award ceremony for the »venture» start-up competition on 19 June. Read more

In the fish room at Eawag: A spawning tray is placed into a tank in order to obtain zebrafish eggs for the FET (Fisch Embryo Toxicity) test.
June 13, 2017

Environmental toxicologists at Eawag have developed new methods to allow tests on new chemicals to be carried out without the need for animal experiments. In place of the conventional experiments using adult fish, the team is now working with fish cells and fish embryos. These alternative methods have numerous advantages, and are seeing increasing demand in industry. This has given rise to an Eawag spin-off. We spoke to its founders. Read more

Rotsee, © Eawag
June 7, 2017

In freshwater lakes, large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are oxidized by bacteria before it can be emitted into the atmosphere. A study in Lakes Rotsee and Zug has now shown that the bulk of this work is done, not by “classical” methane consumers, but by filamentous bacteria previously known only as contaminants of water supplies. Read more

Fig. 1: The scientists investigated water chemistry and biology in reaches upstream and downstream of WWTPs. (Photo: Eawag)
June 1, 2017

Micropollutants enter rivers and streams in effluents discharged from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). As well as having adverse impacts on individual species, these substances appear to alter aquatic ecosystem functions, such as litter decomposition. This was shown by a research project launched by Eawag in view of the planned upgrade of selected Swiss WWTPs to reduce micropollutant loads. The effects of the first upgrades are already evident.  Read more

At Tiefencastel (Canton Graubünden), a bypass tunnel built in 2012 ensures that, rather than accumulating in the Solis reservoir, sediments are transported downstream during high flows. Photo: ewz-Medienarchiv, Matthias Kunfermann
May 18, 2017

Bypass tunnels designed to reduce sediment deposition in reservoirs also have beneficial effects on ecological conditions in downstream receiving waters. This was the conclusion of a study carried out on the Solis reservoir in Graubünden by biologists from Eawag and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW).  Read more

Carpanak close to Van was until the years of 1960 a peninsula, accessible by foot. Photo: Yama Tomonaga
May 16, 2017

The sediments of Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia (Turkey) are a valuable climate archive. Now, using the salinity measured in sediment porewater, scientists have reconstructed the huge lake-level fluctuations that occurred over the past 250,000 years. This approach – based on simple physical concepts – is likely to be more widely applied in the future. Read more

Fieldwork on Lake Victoria
May 2, 2017

A conflict is developing in Africa’s Lake Victoria between fish farming in cages and the “normal” fishing industry. Added to that are other factors such as invasive species, wastewater pollution, pesticides and dam construction are putting the unique ecosystem under increasing pressure.  Read more

In 2016, the hydropower company Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG opened a retention basin at Innerkirchen to mitigate unnatural discharge fluctuations in the Hasliaare. Photo: Markus Zeh
November 8, 2016

Hydropeaking operations at storage hydropower plants affect hydrological processes and have adverse impacts on river ecosystems. For example, rapid and intense fluctuations in discharge can cause fish and macroinvertebrates to be flushed downstream or stranded. Read more

Photo: Aldo Todaro
June 29, 2016

In recent decades, Swiss water protection efforts have focused on reducing nutrient inputs; today, one of the main concerns is controlling micropollutants. Read more

Fig. 1: Juvenile whitefish prior to their release from a hatchery into Lake Thun. (Photo: Emanuel Ammon, Ex-Press)
April 21, 2016

In the last century, the natural reproduction of whitefish and Arctic char in several Swiss lakes was adversely affected by high levels of nutrient inputs. So far, stocking measures have been implemented in efforts to support fish populations and maintain yields. The effectiveness of these measures varies according to the particular species and lake. Read more