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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

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

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

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

Photo: Eawag / Plancton
April 11, 2017

Although chemical micropollutants are known to affect the ecology of natural waters, it has remained unclear how they do so. An Eawag study has now shown that increasing concentrations of pharmaceuticals and personal care products reduce the diversity of algae in a lake, giving rise to more homogeneous communities with a reduced capacity to adapt to fluctuations in environmental conditions. Read more

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

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