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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

Fig. 1: The blaze in Schweizerhalle resulted in catastrophic environmental pollution. Thirty years on, however, the overall picture in terms of water protection is a positive one.
October 31, 2016

On 1 November 1986, a chemical warehouse at Schweizerhalle near Basel was destroyed by a fire. Aquatic life in the Rhine suffered catastrophic damage as a result of inflows of toxic, red-coloured firefighting water. Read more

Fig. 1: The diverse demands placed on lakes were reflected by the wide variety of topics discussed at Eawag’s Info Day in Lucerne. (Photo: Peter Penicka)
September 16, 2016

Switzerland’s lakes are not only diverse ecosystems, but also recreation sites, fishing grounds and energy sources. At this year’s Info Day, the tensions between these competing interests were explored. It was concluded that sustainable management calls for an understanding of the complex interactions occurring in lakes – which in turn requires scientific data and appropriate methods of observation. Read more

Fig. 1: Gammarus alpinus preserved in alcohol: the distinctive morphological features of this amphipod species are only apparent under the microscope. (Photo: Roman Alther)
September 8, 2016

Biologists at Eawag have described a new amphipod species which is endemic to the Alps. While alpine lakes provide relatively undisturbed habitats for Gammarus alpinus, this species is being displaced by an invasive amphipod in Lake Constance. Read more

Scientist looking in the lake with an aquascope. Photo: Eawag, Aldo Todaro
September 6, 2016

Lakes are major ecosystems. Their secrets have been investigated in Switzerland for more than 100 years. Nonetheless, scientists and their partners at the federal and cantonal specialist departments can still be surprised. For example, a fish in Lake Constance that had been declared extinct, or the results of Roman forest clearing around Lake Murten or concentrated antibiotic-resistant genes in the vicinity of wastewater discharges in Lake Geneva. Read more

Bailed sample for DNA analysis (Photo: Eawag)
August 30, 2016

“We should soon be able to monitor biodiversity just as we can now assess water chemistry,” says Florian Altermatt of the Aquatic Ecology department. Genetic material is known to be continuously released into the environment (eDNA) – e.g. in faeces or skin cells – and the biologists now demonstrated the practicability of this approach. In one litre water from the Glatt river (Canton Zurich), they identified numerous species ranging from the mayfly to the beaver. The method can be automated. Read more

Current approaches often focus on the protection of rare or endangered species like the Kingfisher.  Photo: plainpicture/NaturePL
August 23, 2016

Despite extensive conservation efforts, the global loss of biodiversity is continuing. According to an article by biologists at Eawag and Zurich University, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, this is partly due to the inadequacy of existing conservation measures. Read more

Ole Seehausen has been researching the speciation of the cichlid for 25 years.
August 11, 2016

Ole Seehausen, Head of the Department of Fish Ecology and Evolution at Eawag in Kastanienbaum and Professor of Aquatic Ecology at the University of Bern has been awarded the “Kilham Memorial Award” by the International Society of Limnology (SIL). Last week, at the 33rd SIL Congress, he gave the Kilham Memorial Lecture in Turin. Read more