Our newsletter is published six times a year and provides information on current research and development projects, publications and events at the aquatic research institute Eawag. In addition, two special newsletters a year provide in-depth information on a current research topic at Eawag.

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      Current Newsletter

      Newsletter No 02 2024

      Deficits in the ecological state of small Swiss streams
      Also: Impacts of invasive species transcend ecosystem boundaries

      To the newsletter of 7 May 2024

      Newsletter No 01 2024

      Eawag singled out for the Chemical Landmark distinction
      Also: Endangered underwater world in postage stamp format

      To the newsletter of 21 March 2024

      Archive Newsletter

      Newsletter 2023

      Newsletter No 06 2023

      Heavy metals in the rivers of Greenland
      Also: Eawag wishes you happy holidays

      To the newsletter of 14 December 2023

      Newsletter No 05 2023

      Underestimated diversity of toxins from cyanobacteria
      Also: genome recycling, water filters and sewage treatment

      To the newsletter of 7 November 2023

      Special No 01 2023

      Focus: Aquatic research for sustainable development

      To the special of 21 September 2023

      Newsletter No 04 2023

      Using satellite imagery to optimise urban cooling
      Also: insecticides, combined sewer system, antibiotic resistance

      To the newsletter of 29 August 2023

      Newsletter No 03 2023

      Lake Constance - Life under changing conditions
      Also: pollutants, glacial melt and DNA traces in groundwater

      To the newsletter of 27 June 2023

      Newsletter No 02 2023

      Interview with new Eawag Director Martin Ackermann
      Also: riverine fish, mine accidents, plankton, bioplastics, nanomaterials

      To the newsletter of 13 April 2023

      Newsletter No 01 2023

      Who done it? Searching for clues with sediments
      Also: Interview Martin Ackermann, nitrogen removal, groundwater fauna

      To the newsletter of 26 January 2023

      Newsletter 2022

      Newsletter No 06 2022

      Interview with Prof. Dr. Janet Hering: “The overarching challenge has remained the same”
      Also: practical knowledge, granulated activated carbon, antibiotic resistance

      To the newsletter of 15 December 2022

      Newsletter No 05 2022

      Green and blue food webs are wired differently
      Also: arsenic, alpine biodiversity, nanoplastics, amphibian, Forum Chriesbach

      To the newsletter of 7 November 2022


      Special No 02 2022

      Focus: Dynamics of water
      New tools, new opportunities

      To the special of 29 September 2022

      Newsletter No 04 2022

      Phylogenetic tree reveals: new species of whitefish have emerged in every lake
      Also: Legionella, Fluoride, SARS-CoV-2-mutations, virtual fish

      To the newsletter of 8 September 2022

      Newsletter No 03 2022

      The genome of 100,000 African species will be decoded
      Also: climate change, nanoplastics, App difficult decisions, experimental ponds

      To the newsletter of 30 June 2022

      Special No 01 2022

      Focus: Decentralised resource recovery from wastewater
      New approaches for the sewage system

      To the special of 5 May 2022

      Newsletter No 02 2022

      World Water Day: Swiss groundwater, how are you doing?
      Also: biodiversity, antibiotic resistance, black soldier flies

      To the newsletter of 18 March 2022

      Newsletter No 01 2022

      Citizen Science: Knowledge as a weapon in the fight for clean water
      Also: ground water network, hospital pathogens and wastewater treatment

      To the newsletter of 8 February 2022

      Newsletter 2021

      Newsletter No 06 2021

      Fish inventory in 35 lakes completed
      Also: Water-Timeline, articifial intelligence, toilettes, biodiversity

      To the newsletter of 14 December 2021

      Special No 01 2021, Focus: Biodiversity

      Biodiversity in the focus of Eawag research
      “I cannot imagine our life without biodiversity”

      To the special of 23 november 2021

      Newsletter No 05 2021

      Emergencies and humanitarian crises: Making sanitation decisions
      Also: shower water, glacial lakes, LéXPLORE, open science, vocational training

      To the newsletter of 21 september 2021

      Newsletter No 04 2021

      Aquatic life underground - Research with a Citizen Science approach
      Also: test with fish cells, microbial biodiversity, landfills in India

      To the newsletter of 13 July 2021

      Newsletter No 03 2021

      Noble gases used to sniff out the pathways of the Emmental’s groundwater
      Also: biomass production, handwashing station, blue green biodiversity

      To the newsletter of 21 May 2021

      Newsletter No 02 2021

      Interview with Janet Hering on World Water Day: “I find the sound of water to be very calming”
      Also: rare earth elements, climate change, copepods, corona …

      To the newsletter of 22 March 2021

      Newsletter No 01 2021

      Safe to cross: low risk of coronavirus infection from high-touch surfaces
      Also: Autarky, legionella, soldier flies, mercury, sediments

      To the newsletter of 4 February 2021

      Newsletter 2020

      Newsletter No 04 2020

      Research on COVID-19 at Eawag
      Also: environmental DNA, pesticides, natural sewage treatment plants

      To the Newsletter

      Newsletter No 03 2020

      Risks of COVID-19 in wastewater
      Also: microplastics, amphipods, blue-green algae and pesticides

      To the Newsletter

      Newsletter No 02 2020

      Mobile system measures water quality in real time
      Also: arsenic, revitalizations, pandemics and Diclofenac

      To the Newsletter

      Newsletter No 01 2020

      Interview on World Water Day on 22 March 2020
      Also: super wasps, legionella, humpback whales and blue-green biodiversity

      To the Newsletter

      Newsletter 2019

      Newsletter No 04 2019

      December 12, 2019

      Pesticides in sediments cause adverse effects on benthic organisms. This was shown by a monitoring study conducted by the Ecotox Centre and Eawag on five streams in agricultural areas. Crustaceans were particularly affected. Concentrations of several insecticides, including chlorpyrifos and the pyrethroid cypermethrin, exceeded effect thresholds, indicating impaired sediment quality.

      Read more
      December 2, 2019

      Invertebrates on the beds of water bodies are observed closely, for they serve as indicators for the ecological status of running waters. A new Swiss-wide study by the aquatic research institute Eawag shows which species are especially good indicators, and how the monitoring and management of surface waters can be further improved.

      Read more
      October 30, 2019

      What developments do urban water researchers and professionals see as important – or worthy of scepticism? A pioneering horizon scan conducted by Eawag scientists indicates that, for this community, digitalisation is a particular concern – in a positive and negative sense. In this interview, Frank Blumensaat, an environmental engineer at ETH Zurich and Eawag, discusses the opportunities and risks it creates in the urban water field.

      Read more

      Newsletter No 03 2019

      September 10, 2019

      Treating community wastewater takes a lot of energy. Eawag is currently supporting a project that not only presents an alternative to conventional treatment processes but is also designed to enabled increased throughput within a smaller amount of space. Read more

      September 3, 2019

      The energy strategy calls for a further expansion of hydropower. This puts pressure on Swiss water bodies and water landscapes. At today's Eawag Info Day, some 200 experts from practice, research and administration will discuss how the various interests in water can be met in a sustainable manner and where the competition between these interests calls for priorities to be set. The Eawag researchers will demonstrate that it is not only a question of technical solutions, but also of social acceptance, for example when measures in favour of water ecology lead to an increase in the price of electricity.

      Read more
      August 15, 2019

      Swiss groundwater contains numerous pesticide degradation products. This has been discovered by an extensive screening by Eawag and ETH Zurich. The transformation products (metabolites) originate predominantly from pesticides from agriculture.

      Read more

      Newsletter No 02 2019

      June 3, 2019

      Since the last ice age, stickleback have managed to emerge from the sea to colonise many freshwater waterbodies. Genetic analysis by Eawag researchers and colleagues from the University of Bern and the National Institute of Genetics in Shizuoka, Japan, now demonstrate that they achieved this thanks to additional copies of a metabolism gene. Read more

      May 14, 2019

      Cyanobacteria were among the first organisms to produce oxygen, which meant they were a significant milestone in the evolution of plants and animals. Countless species of cyanobacteria inhabit almost all habitats around the world. For her doctorate at Eawag, Marie-Eve Monchamp analysed sediment cores from ten different lakes around the fringes of the Alps, thus gaining an insight into the communities of cyanobacteria living over the past 100 years.

      Read more
      April 17, 2019

      By systematically collecting samples from Switzerland’s rivers, “Progetto Fiumi” has documented more than forty species of fish. In addition, within the various species, the Eawag research group has found a rich diversity that had not been fully assessed before. The project thus provides a basis for the protection of this genetic and ecological diversity. Read more

      Newsletter No 01 2019

      April 2, 2019

      Two studies by Eawag and the Ecotox Centre have once again shown that surface waters in agricultural catchment areas are heavily contaminated with plant protection products. Concentrations of individual substances persisting for several months pose a risk of chronic toxicity and, for extended periods, exceed the levels at which a risk of acute toxicity exists for aquatic plants and organisms. In most of the samples, 30 or more different active ingredients were detected. Studies of stream biodiversity and bioassays confirmed the threat posed by these mixtures of substances. Read more

      March 19, 2019

      In order to move from one host to another, certain parasites change their behaviour. The more effectively a parasite can manipulate its host, the greater its evolutionary advantage. It therefore passes on its characteristics to its descendants, as a new Eawag study has shown. Read more

      February 28, 2019

      Aquatic organisms are adapted to harsh conditions at high altitudes and are tolerant of a certain level of disturbances. However, according to a study conducted in the canton of Valais, frequent flushing of water intakes leads to a dramatic decline in populations of macroinvertebrates, such as insects or worms. Read more

      Newsletter 2018

      Newsletter No 04 2018

      December 12, 2018

      Antibiotic resistance genes are not completely eliminated by wastewater treatment. While some resistance genes are present in the influent, many others are found in activated sludge bacteria. A recent Eawag study shows that, rather than merely passing through, resistance genes are active and evolve within treatment plants. Read more

      December 3, 2018

      Amphipods in Swiss waters are exposed to insecticides, pharmaceutical residues and other trace substances, and accumulate these in their bodies. However, when water-treatment plants are upgraded, practically no trace substances are found in these organisms according to a new study carried out by Eawag researchers. Read more

      November 26, 2018

      When a population grows quickly and farms intensively, the environment often suffers. This is not only true today, but was also the case as early as Roman times. Evidence of this has been found by Eawag researchers in sediments in Lake Murten. Read more

      Newsletter No 03 2018

      September 18, 2018

      Clear mountain lakes could change with ever greater frequency into milky soup in the future. Climate change is the guilty agent. This has been shown by a new study led by the University of Lausanne in collaboration with Eawag and the French National Agricultural Research Institute using the example of a French mountain lake. Read more

      September 13, 2018

      In Lakes Thun and Brienz, evolutionary biologists from Eawag and Bern University have discovered a new whitefish species. The species, provisionally named “Balchen2”, is clearly differentiated – morphologically, ecologically and genetically – from the five Lake Thun whitefish species previously described. The only lake known to harbour a higher number of whitefish species is the 200 times larger Russian Lake Onega.

      Read more
      August 16, 2018

      Fluoride occurs naturally in groundwater. In small amounts, this is usually not a problem, but in India the concentration in many places exceeds the threshold at which is starts to present a health hazard. According to estimates by Eawag researchers, based on new computer models, more than a hundred million people are affected. Read more

      Newsletter No 02 2018

      May 28, 2018

      Microorganisms that live in symbiosis can sabotage biological methods of pest control by protecting their host from attackers, and host organisms can even pass on these beneficial “passengers” to their offspring. This phenomenon is one which has been paid little attention to date, but thanks to new research findings measures can now be taken to counteract it. Read more

      May 24, 2018

      Payment via mobile, replacement parts made on a 3D-printer, error messages via NFC-tag – Eawag doctoral student Caroline Saul has found some remarkable innovations in companies that market container toilets in developing countries. She sees great potential in making such technologies more widely available. Read more

      May 16, 2018

      Ultrafiltration is one of the techniques currently used for disinfecting water – viruses and bacteria are reliably retained by a membrane with extremely small pores. For more than ten years, Eawag has successfully been carrying out research to determine how this method can function using the effect of gravity on water instead of high pressure, cleaning and chemicals. These new discoveries are being applied in increasing numbers of ways. In addition to decentralised drinking water purification, Eawag is now researching uses in areas such as greywater recycling and pre-treatment of seawater for desalination.

      Read more

      Newsletter No 01 2018

      March 27, 2018

      Rubber ducks and crocodiles have always been popular bathtime companions. An Eawag study has now revealed the “dark side” of flexible plastic bath toys. Diverse microbial growth is promoted not only by the plastic materials but by bath users themselves.

      Read more
      February 8, 2018

      When a person wearing a bright-orange protective suit and carrying a laptop climbs out of a sewer shaft, it could well be an employee of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). Especially if this happens in Fehraltorf. Since 2016, Eawag has been constructing an internationally unique net of sensors that document water circulation in residential areas. Read more

      January 24, 2018

      A research team from the Surface Waters Research and Management Department is investigating the earliest traces of human life in the tropical Pacific. In July 2017, the team undertook an expedition to Vanuatu in Melanesia. The researchers took sediment cores from the lakes and marshes on seven islands in order to test these for indications of the earliest human activities. Read more

      Newsletter 2017

      Newsletter No 04 2017

      December 11, 2017

      The composition of cyanobacterial communities in peri-alpine lakes has become increasingly similar over the past century. Climate warming and a period of eutrophication have favoured in particular potentially toxic species which can adapt rapidly to environmental changes. These are the findings of an Eawag-led study analysing DNA extracted from sediment cores.

      Read more
      December 4, 2017

      Inadequate access to safe sanitation in developing and emerging countries is one of the most pressing global challenges in the water sector, according to Eawag Director Janet Hering, who is interviewed in the latest issue of Aqua & Gas.  Read more

      November 21, 2017

      As part of the artists-in-labs programme run by the Zurich University of the Arts, two artists from Saudi Arabia are currently artists-in-residence at Eawag for three months. Zahrah Alghamdi is working in the Aquatic Ecology department and is looking at running waters and their physical properties as well as their emotional and poetical aspects, while Muhannad Shono is a guest of the Environmental Microbiology department, where he is exploring parallels between microorganisms and humans. Read more

      Newsletter No 03 2017

      October 10, 2017

      A study just published by Eawag scientists shows that gold and silver each amounting to around CHF 1.5 million a year are lost via effluents and sludge from wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland. The concentrations measured do not pose risks to the environment – and recycling would not be economically worthwhile. However, the study also produced surprising findings on other trace elements in wastewater, including rare earth metals such as gadolinium and the heavy metal niobium. Read more

      October 3, 2017

      Trout that live in stable ecosystems divide the prey spectrum among themselves and develop into specialists. In streams with instable food supply, however, the trout become generalists. Sticklebacks from different evolutionary lineages alter their environment by their feeding habits. This is deleterious to their descendants except they are hybrids. Understanding the interaction between species and environment is important for the effective protection of biodiversity.  Read more

      July 26, 2017

      The emergence of new technologies requires conditions tailored to specific industrial sectors. Social scientists at Eawag have developed a conceptual framework describing the relevant innovation drivers. This should make it possible to identify factors hindering innovation and to design industry‑specific support programmes.  Read more

      Newsletter No 02 2017

      June 28, 2017

      Flow cytometry has revolutionised the bacteriological assessment of water quality, and with its automation the revolution is progressing even further. Following his successful basic research into this area, a researcher at Eawag has become an entrepreneur. Read more

      June 1, 2017

      Micropollutants enter rivers and streams in effluents discharged from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). As well as having adverse impacts on individual species, these substances appear to alter aquatic ecosystem functions, such as litter decomposition. This was shown by a research project launched by Eawag in view of the planned upgrade of selected Swiss WWTPs to reduce micropollutant loads. The effects of the first upgrades are already evident. 

      Read more
      April 27, 2017

      If drinking water or wastewater containing bromide is treated with ozone to remove micropollutants, bromate – a potentially carcinogenic substance – is formed. Eawag scientists have developed a new process which makes it possible to minimize bromate formation during ozonation. This is achieved by transferring ozone to the water in small doses through the pores of PTFE membranes.  Read more

      Newsletter No 01 2017

      March 29, 2017

      Changing people’s behaviour is no easy matter. Having developed a method that has been shown to promote behaviour change, Hans-Joachim Mosler of Eawag’s Environmental Social Sciences department has now set up a consulting firm – attracting considerable interest among development cooperation professionals in particular.  Read more

      March 9, 2017

      The water footprint indicates how much water is used to produce consumer goods. A study by Eawag scientists shows that there is a need for standardization in assessments of the grey water component. Comparability is impaired, for example, by the use of different water quality standards.  Read more

      February 21, 2017

      As a result of climate change, concentrations of the trace element selenium in soils are likely to decrease. Because the selenium content of crops may also be reduced, the risk of selenium deficiency could be increased in many regions of the world. This was shown by a recent study which used data-mining to model the global distribution of selenium.

      Read more

      Archive Eawag News

      Old issues of the former publication Eawag News (until 2016).