Department Surface Waters - Research and Management

Current Projects

Wastewater is a source of antibiotic resistant bacteria. We study their dissemination in the aquatic environment, and strategies to remove them.
The MACRO project investigates lake and swamp sediments from Pacific Islands to search for traces of the settlement of Polynesians and Melanesians.
How do stream and lake water temperature change in Switzerland
We study the ecological stability of anammox biofilms, which are responsible for the autotrophic Nitrogen removal in mixed nitritation-anammox systems.
Buoyancy driven nearshore transport in lakes
A new multidisciplinary research platform for Lake Geneva
How to investigate the spatial variability in lakes?
How is nitrate removed from lakes?
We study the microbial community composition, identify the key players and their activity in the nitrogen transformation processes in freshwater lakes.
How to best monitor ice in Swiss lakes?
Niches and traits of methanotroph bacteria in stratified lakes are studied with the ultimate goal to improve process models.
What is the role of convective processes on early life growth in ice-covered lakes?
The intricacies of Lake Kivu and of the methane stored in its deep waters could easily keep an entire research institute busy. Our research aims at creating the knowledge needed to support a sustainable and safe exploitation of the methane resource.
The deepest lake of the world still hides many mysteries in its abysses. Some of them could be revealed thanks to long-term observations.
Drilliing sediment cores (~600.000 years) from the highly alkaline Lake Van in Anatolia to reveal the climate history.
Degradation and transformation of lacustrine organic nitrogen compounds.
Characterization of the reactivity of sedimentary organic matter with oxygen
Mineralization of organic matter in sediments produces reduced substances that consume oxygen in the bottom waters. Comparison of nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor lakes.
The implementation of a portable capillary electrophoresis instrument in environmental science
Climate change affects lake ecosystems. We investigate the complex interactions in the lake-climate system with global data analysis and local case studies.
The chemistry and biology of lakes is strongly influenced by physical transport processes. We use coupled physical-geochemical models to understand these complex interactions.
We assess the environmental impacts of hydropower plants to support a sustainable development of this energy resource.
Development of an electrochemical microtitrator for very small sample volumes
What happens if two lakes are connected by a pumped-storage system?
Lakes store large amounts of heat. To what extent can this heat be used to replace the use of fossil fuels or electricity for heating and cooling purposes?
The interactions of different chemical and microbial processes in lake sediments can be surprisingly complex. Numerical models help to shed light on these interactions.
How does such compromised bed-load transport affect fish in terms of their feeding and habitat? And what measures can be taken to restore a river's bed-load regime?
4’000 river kilometers will be rehabilitated in Switzerland over the course of the coming 80 years – a unique opportunity for learning!
Watercourses are among earth's most biodiverse ecosystems. However, they are also under severe pressure from construction work and hydropower generation, among other things.
The PALEOFARM project investigates sediments from 3 lakes across Switzerland, Russia and Greenland to search for traces of early farming impact.


A user-friendly software for the calculation of chemical equilibria was developed at Eawag and can be downloaded for free including a manual.
A tool for modelling diagenetic processes in lake sediments
A one-dimensional physical lake model that can be coupled to biogeochemical models