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Photo: Markus Zeh
April 4, 2017

Small watercourses are contaminated with large numbers of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. A study commissioned by the Federal Office for the Environment and published today shows that the legal requirements specified for water quality are not met in any of the five Swiss streams investigated.  Read more

Lake Constance: sustainable thermal use is possible in the case of deep Swiss lakes (Photo: plainpicture/Westend61/Holger Spiering)
March 16, 2017

Switzerland’s surface waters contain vast amounts of thermal energy which could be used for heating or cooling. Based on numerous studies, Eawag scientists have now estimated the ecological impacts of thermal use.  Read more

Assessments of the ecotoxicity of pharmaceuticals focus on parent compounds because data on transformation products is generally unavailable. (Photo: Caro/Sorge)
March 14, 2017

Over 8000 pharmaceuticals, with more than 3000 active substances, are currently authorized in Switzerland. Transformation products – arising from biological and chemical degradation processes – can sometimes be more toxic to aquatic organisms than the parent compounds; they may also be problematic as a result of their higher mobility.  Read more

Biodiversity can promote ecosystem efficiency
February 16, 2017

Humans influence evolution. In the case of whitefish in Swiss lakes, one consequence of this is replacement of a diversity of specialised species by fewer generalists. A recent analysis now suggests that communities of diverse specialists utilise trophic resources more efficiently. Read more

Sediment was retrieved with a Multicorer to allow for a detailed analysis of sediment biogeochemistry and its inhabitants along a transect of oxygen concentrations. (© R. North, Eawag, Switzerland)
February 10, 2017

Periodic oscillations of bottom-water oxygen concentrations can alter benthic communities and carbon storage for decades, reveals a new study published in Science Advances. This is particularly relevant as low oxygen conditions are on the rise in the world’s oceans. Read more

Kreuzung zweier Arten liess Artbildung explodieren
February 10, 2017

No less than 500 new species of cichlids, brightly coloured perch-like fish, evolved in Lake Victoria (East Africa) over the past 15,000 years – a record in the animal and plant world. This evolutionary puzzle has now been solved by scientists from Eawag and Bern University. Read more

Fig. 1: Cyanobacterial bloom: the proliferation of cyanobacteria can produce allergic reactions in humans and animals. Pictured here: the Zwischenahner Meer, a lake in Lower Saxony (Germany). Photo: Peter Duddek, Visum
December 15, 2016

In the past, Lakes Zurich and Greifen have repeatedly been affected by blooms of potentially toxic cyanobacteria. This was confirmed by an analysis of sedimentary DNA carried out by Eawag scientists. Read more

Source: ZHAW, Andi Hofstetter
November 17, 2016

The residual flow in the Sarine River is insufficient to maintain its dynamic flow. Research is currently being carried out as part of the “Energy Turnaround” National Research Programme (NRP 70), to ascertain whether hydropower can be made more environmentally friendly through controlled experimental flooding. The first experimental flood event has taken place, and researchers are now analysing all the data and records that have been collected. 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

Fig. 1: The section of the Linth Canal at Benken (Canton of St Gallen) restored as part of the “Linth 2000” flood protection project is popular with swimmers. But how does nature benefit from river enhancement? (Photo: Markus Forte/Ex-Press/FOEN)
November 3, 2016

Stream and river restoration measures may be showcase projects for conservationists, but – in the absence of systematic monitoring – it is often unclear what benefits they provide for ecosystems. Read more