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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

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: 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

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