Department Surface Waters - Research and Management

Current Projects

Research on surface water processes

Wastewater is a source of antibiotic resistant bacteria. We study their dissemination in the aquatic environment, and strategies to remove them.
How do calcite particles form in lakes, and how do they affect the surface colour?
We study the ecological stability of anammox biofilms, which are responsible for the autotrophic Nitrogen removal in mixed nitritation-anammox systems.
How is nitrate removed from lakes?
Buoyancy driven nearshore transport in lakes
Mineralization of organic matter in sediments produces reduced substances that consume oxygen in the bottom waters. Comparison of nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor lakes.
Niches and traits of methanotroph bacteria in stratified lakes are studied with the ultimate goal to improve process models.

Anthropogenic influences, revitalization & remediation

What do we get from enhancing river structure and function?
Collaborative learning for hydropeaking mitigation
Do fish and invertebrates like the Rolling Stones?
We assess the environmental impacts of hydropower plants to support a sustainable development of this energy resource.
Wastewater is a source of antibiotic resistant bacteria. We study their dissemination in the aquatic environment, and strategies to remove them.

Climate

How do stream and lake water temperature change in Switzerland
The MACRO project investigates lake and swamp sediments from Pacific Islands to search for traces of the settlement of Polynesians and Melanesians.
Climate change affects lake ecosystems. We investigate the complex interactions in the lake-climate system with global data analysis and local case studies.
The PALEOFARM project investigates sediments from 3 lakes across Switzerland, Russia and Greenland to search for traces of early farming impact.

Energy

We assess the environmental impacts of hydropower plants to support a sustainable development of this energy resource.
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 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.
Watercourses are among earth's most biodiverse ecosystems. However, they are also under severe pressure from construction work and hydropower generation, among other things.

Data Collection, Remote Sensing & Analytics

A new multidisciplinary research platform for Lake Geneva
Modern satellite and computer infrastructures enable the timely retrieval of problem-specific information.
Development of an electrochemical microtitrator for very small sample volumes
The implementation of a portable capillary electrophoresis instrument in environmental science
Environmental monitoring satellites provide a unique view on the state of surface waters worldwide.
How to investigate the spatial variability in lakes?

Modeling

The chemistry and biology of lakes is strongly influenced by physical transport processes. We use coupled physical-geochemical models to understand these complex interactions.
The interactions of different chemical and microbial processes in lake sediments can be surprisingly complex. Numerical models help to shed light on these interactions.
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