Understand and manage ecosystems

Why does one species of toad live in ponds, while another prefers shingle banks? How does the flora and fauna in a mountain stream change when the glacier has melted away? And how do invasive species affect their new habitat? It is only by answering questions such as these that entire ecosystems can be understood and, to some extent, managed.


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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

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

Scientific publications

Spaak, J. W.; Baert, J. M.; Baird, D. J.; Eisenhauer, N.; Maltby, L.; Pomati, F.; Radchuk, V.; Rohr, J. R.; Van den Brink, P. J.; De Laender, F. (2017) Shifts of community composition and population density substantially affect ecosystem function despite invariant richness, Ecology Letters, 20(10), 1315-1324, doi:10.1111/ele.12828, Institutional Repository
Best, R. J.; Anaya-Rojas, J. M.; Leal, M. C.; Schmid, D. W.; Seehausen, O.; Matthews, B. (2017) Transgenerational selection driven by divergent ecological impacts of hybridizing lineages, Nature Ecology & Evolution, xx, doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0308-2, Institutional Repository
Schiessl, K. T.; Janssen, E. M. -L.; Kraemer, S. M.; McNeill, K.; Ackermann, M. (2017) Magnitude and mechanism of siderophore-mediated competition at low iron solubility in the Pseudomonas aeruginosa pyochelin system, Frontiers in Microbiology, 8, article 1964, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.01964, Institutional Repository
Harvey, E.; Gounand, I.; Ward, C. L.; Altermatt, F. (2017) Bridging ecology and conservation: from ecological networks to ecosystem function, Journal of Applied Ecology, 54(2), 371-379, doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12769, Institutional Repository
Alexander, T. J.; Vonlanthen, P.; Seehausen, O. (2017) Does eutrophication-driven evolution change aquatic ecosystems?, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 372(1712), 20160041 (10 pp.), doi:10.1098/rstb.2016.0041, Institutional Repository
To the library

Publications for practitioners

  • Factsheet: Invasive species spread by recreational boats transported overland [pdf, available in German and French]
  • Factsheet: River Corridors [pdf, available in German and French]
  • Factsheet: Facts about phosphorus in Lake Brienz [pdf, available in German and French]
  • River revitalisation: Focus on fish [pdf, available in German and French]
Weber, C. (2013) Schweizer Fließgewässer im Spannungsfeld zwischen Schutz und Nutzung, 259-268, Institutional Repository


Prof. Dr. Rik Eggen
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • micropollutants
  • surface water
Prof. Dr. Jukka Jokela
  • algae
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • fish
  • genetics
  • plankton
  • proteomics
Dr. Hans Peter Kohler
  • micropollutants
  • organic pollutants
  • drinking water
Dr. Blake Matthews
  • biodiversity
  • plankton
  • evolution
  • Ecosystems
Dr. Carsten Schubert
  • isotopes
  • surface water
Prof. Dr. Ole Seehausen
  • fish
  • genetics
  • ecology
  • evolution
Dr. Piet Spaak
  • plankton
  • sediments
Prof. Dr. Alfred Johny Wüest
  • aquatic ecology
  • water quality
  • Lake management