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River “Sense” close to Zumholz, FR (Photo: Markus Zeh)
March 19, 2018

“A rolling stone gathers no moss.” This is the saying credited with giving the famous British rock band its name…but does it hold true from an ecological or hydraulic engineering perspective?  Read more

Dendritic branched river network (Photo: Paul Bourke/Google Earth fractals)
March 5, 2018

River networks are dendritic and have a physical direction. The influence of these spatial preconditions on the dispersal of species and the dynamics within metacommunities has been the focus of research for a number of years.  Read more

Outlet of the Rhone into Lake Geneva near le Bouveret: tributaries have a cooling effect on the predicted temperature increase of lakes due to climate change. Photo: Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr
February 19, 2018

If the climate heats up, the temperature in the uppermost layer of lakes will increase, the thermic layering will become more stable and last longer, and less oxygen will reach the depths – this is the present theory on the effect of climate change on lakes. Read more

January 17, 2018

How much thermal energy from Swiss lakes can be exploited without having an impact on their ecosystems? Eawag was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to estimate the potentials with the larger lakes and rivers. Read more

Sampling invertebrates (Photo: University of Leeds, Lee Brown)
December 18, 2017

River invertebrates react the same way to decreasing glacier cover wherever in the world they are, say scientists who have evaluated more than one million of them in diverse regions with shrinking glaciers, to determine the impact of global environmental change. Their findings are published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Read more

DNA sampling from a sediment core in the safe lab (Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag)
December 11, 2017

The composition of cyanobacterial communities in peri-alpine lakes has become increasingly similar over the past century. Climate warming and a period of eutrophication have favoured in particular potentially toxic species which can adapt rapidly to environmental changes. These are the findings of an Eawag-led study analysing DNA extracted from sediment cores. Read more

All the way down: researchers used a submersible robot to measure oxygen concentrations throughout the water column in Lake Geneva. Photo: EPFL
November 27, 2017

Although nutrient inputs to Swiss lakes are today much lower than they were before the introduction of phosphate precipitation at wastewater treatment plants and the ban on phosphates in detergents, many lakes are still affected by oxygen depletion – especially in the deeper waters. Read more

Drain controllers limit outflows from a stormwater basin in Trimbach (canton of Solothurn). Photo: Stebatec AG
November 24, 2017

During heavy rainfall, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are often unable to cope with the volumes of water arising, and some wastewater may then be discharged untreated into surface waters.  Read more

Restoration of the Chriesbach stream in Dübendorf. Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag
November 22, 2017

According to a survey conducted by Eawag, around 45 per cent of all actors in the Swiss water sector are concerned in some way with river restoration.  Read more

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

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