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December 13, 2018

Michael Berg, Stephan Hug, Annette Johnson (in memoriam), Andreas Voegelin and Lenny Winkel from the Department of Water Resources and Drinking Water (W +T) at Eawag have been selected for the “Sandmeyer Award” from the Swiss Chemical Society (SCG) for their many years of work researching contamination of drinking water resources with geogenic elements. Read more

While wastewater treatment essentially represents a barrier to the spread of antibiotic resistance genes, these genes are enriched in relative terms at WWTPs. (Photo: Werdhölzli WWTP)
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

The amphipod crustacean Gammarus pulex chewing up fallen leaves in autumn. Nicole Munz’s samples contained mostly Gammarus fossarum as well as Gammarus pulex. (Photo: Eawag)
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

Reconstruction of the city of Aventicum on Lake Murten, former capital of Roman Switzerland. The picture is taken from the book “Aventicum — A Roman Capital City” by Daniel Castella et al (2015).
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

Wenfeng Liu received the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize 2018 at the official ceremony on 17 November 2018.
November 21, 2018

Once again, an Eawag doctoral candidate is awarded the Otto-Jaag Water Protection Prize: Wenfeng Liu was honoured for his dissertation "Modelling Global Water-Food-Environment-Trade Nexus in the Context of Agricultural Intensification". The Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize honours outstanding dissertations and master's theses at ETH Zurich in the field of water protection and hydrology. Read more

Philipp Dermond carries out a muscle and scale test and implants a chip in the stomach cavity of an anaesthetised sea trout. The researchers will then be able to track whether the fish from the stream migrate to the sea or whether they ... (Photo: FIBER)
November 20, 2018

There’s a new face at the fishing advisory office (FIBER) in Kastanienbaum: Philip Dermond is taking over from Sébastien Nusslé and is thus the new co-director with Corinne Schmid. Philip Dermond transferred in October from the Fish Ecology and Evolution department at Eawag to FIBER. Read more

When a herd of wildebeest cross a river, not all the animals will make it to the other side. (Photo: iStock.com / Jannie_nikola)
November 16, 2018

Scientists at Eawag and Zurich University have synthesised for the first time the amounts of carbon transported between many different ecosystems. According to this global synthesis, spatial flows of carbon can be very large – and their significance has previously been underestimated. Read more

Many viruses, like the Coxsackie virus pictured above, are transmitted to humans by way of liquids. (Photo: Shutterstock)
November 13, 2018

Many infectious viruses are transferred to humans from water or other liquids. A microbiologist at Eawag has now investigated how high the risk of infection is when someone comes into contact with polluted water. Read more

Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag
November 12, 2018

Michael Berg, head of the Eawag Water Resources and Drinking Water department, has been appointed adjunct professor with the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). His appointment is linked to becoming one of the members of the “UNESCO Chair on Groundwater Arsenic”, which is based at the USQ. Read more

Range of species used in the experimental protocol of the study on the dispersion of species. (Images: Julien Cote)
November 8, 2018

It is common among many species for individuals to move around during their lifetime in order to settle in better adapted habitats, a process known as dispersion by ecologists. In order to improve scientific predictions of the future of biodiversity in the face of global changes it is very important to understand the mechanisms of dispersion. Read more

Using tiny DNA fragments, even rare species are discovered in bodies of water (Photo: Pixabay).
November 6, 2018

Bits of genetic material in rivers make it possible to detect the organisms living in them – without having to collect these and examine them under the microscope. Researchers at Eawag, the ETH and the EPFL have now developed a computer model that with the help of single DNA measurements even simulates exactly where and how often the species are present in bodies of water. Read more

Gut bacteria Roseburia intestinalis stained with SYBR Green I and propidium iodide (SGPI). In bacteria with an intact membrane, only SG can penetrate and they thus appear green. (Photo: ETH Zurich, Lea Bircher)
October 30, 2018

Probiotics – live bacteria with beneficial effects on human health – are believed to hold out great promise for certain therapeutic applications. But do these bacteria remain viable when they are frozen or freeze-dried for storage? Eawag’s expertise in drinking water microbiology enabled to it provide valuable support for a study of gut microbes carried out in the Food Biotechnology Laboratory at ETH Zurich. Read more

Photo: Ilja Tschanen, module plus
October 24, 2018

Yesterday, the Ecotox Centre Eawag-EPFL celebrated its tenth anniversary in the City Hall of Berne. Around 80 guests from politics, administration, science, and practice toasted the successful establishment of the Centre and the milestones achieved over the past 10 years. Read more

Local residents carrying a Water Wall through Mukuru, an informal settlement in Nairobi, where this earlier model was field-tested in 2015. (Photo: EOOS)
October 22, 2018

Even though the water we’ve used for washing our hands is barely contaminated, it usually disappears down the drain, never to be used again. A newly developed system allows handwashing water to be recycled, thus not only saving water, but also helping to prevent infectious diseases in developing countries. Read more

Aquatic ecosystems – such as the microbial community pictured here – are often highly diverse. (Photo: E. Mächler/F. Altermatt)
October 18, 2018

Species-rich ecosystems are more resistant to disturbances such as droughts, heatwaves or pesticide inputs – that, at least, is the view widely held by scientists and non-scientists alike. In fact, the situation is more complex, as ecologists from Eawag and Zurich University have now discovered. Under certain environmental conditions, increased species diversity can also lead to an ecosystem becoming more unstable. Read more

The USA is the largest exporter in the world of agricultural products, and therefore of virtual water. The image shows a field being watered in California (Image: Flickr)
October 15, 2018

Global trade is saving water on balance. In principle, this is a good thing. However, the water budget has its dark side – a fact which Eawag researchers have now brought to light. Read more

Stonefly larva (Photo: Silvana Käser, Eawag)
October 11, 2018

Mountain rivers swollen by heavy rainfall deposit large amounts of sediment in reservoirs. To prevent the loss of storage capacity, some reservoirs are equipped with bypass tunnels which convey sediment-laden waters to downstream reaches. The fact that such tunnels offer ecological benefits as well as economic advantages was shown, for example, by a study carried out on the Solis reservoir in Graubünden. Read more

This satellite photo shows Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela on 7 February 2011. The green areas in the lake represent plankton; primarily blue algae, growing under the surface. (Photo: ESA)
October 4, 2018

When does the poisonous blue alga reach its critical point and how does the lake react to heat waves? In the future, satellite pictures will answer these questions in real time. This is demonstrated by an Eawag researcher’s new dataset.  Read more

Photo: Eawag, Aldo Todaro
October 2, 2018

Research in low- and middle-income countries is an important component of Eawag’s mission. The Eawag Partnership Programme (EPP) was developed to strengthen research and research ties with students and academic institutions in the Global South. 10 years and over 80 fellows from 28 different countries later, EPP celebrates the successful building of bridges and transfer of scientific knowledge. Read more

This decentralised wastewater treatment installation in the Canton of Schwyz treats the wastewater produced by one family. (Photo: Mariane Schneider)
September 27, 2018

Dealing with wastewater right where it is being produced, instead of in central treatment plants, can be more flexible and economical depending on the location. In Switzerland, however, there are very few such decentralised wastewater treatment plants – although, as Eawag researchers have established, there is a surprisingly strong market potential for them.  Read more

Photo: Eawag, Aldo Todaro
September 25, 2018

Research in low- and middle-income countries is an important component of Eawag’s mission. The Eawag Partnership Programme (EPP) was developed to strengthen research and research ties with students and academic institutions in the Global South. 10 years and over 80 fellows from 28 different countries later, EPP celebrates the successful building of bridges and transfer of scientific knowledge. Read more

Jimenez and his colleague Benedict Borer during a moment of zero gravity. (Image: Eawag)
September 21, 2018

In the future, astronauts on long missions in space will have to take care of their own farming. But will that even work? An unusual experiment by Eawag researcher was designed to find some of the answers. Read more

September 20, 2018

In autumn 1993, Eawag launched a series of courses under the "PEAK" brand (practice-oriented Eawag courses). Read more

Photo: Marie-Elodie Perga
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

Photo: Eawag, Aldo Todaro
September 14, 2018

Research in low- and middle-income countries is an important component of Eawag’s mission. The Eawag Partnership Programme (EPP) was developed to strengthen research and research ties with students and academic institutions in the Global South. 10 years and over 80 fellows from 28 different countries later, EPP celebrates the successful building of bridges and transfer of scientific knowledge. Read more

View of Lakes Thun (left) and Brienz. (Photo: Carmela Dönz)
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

Air-stripping installation for nitrogen recovery at the Opfikon wastewater treatment plant. (Photo: Eawag, Aldo Todaro)
September 11, 2018

Wastewater smells foul and is full of pathogens. For these reasons it is usually removed and disposed of quickly. The out-of-sight-out-of-mind strategy is, however, costly and opportunities are lost. At Eawag’s Info Day, experts in practice come together with researchers who are seeking new answers – for example, on how nutrients or heat can be recovered from wastewater. Read more

Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag
September 7, 2018

Eawag has a long history of innovation in the field of source separation technology. To understand this history, its collaborations and contexts, the directorate engaged historian Luke Keogh. His work resulted in the recently published “Flows of Science”, an intimate story of scientists at work. Read more

Thermal energy in lake water is often revealed in autumn: the water is markedly warmer than the air and evaporates – the lake thus becomes especially photogenic. (Photo: Adrien Gaudard, Eawag)
September 5, 2018

Climate warming is not the only cause of temperature changes in lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. The use of waterbodies for heating and cooling also leads to increases or decreases in water temperature. There has been little research to date, however, on how this affects aquatic ecosystems. This lack of understanding has been highlighted by a recent literature review carried out at Eawag and the University of Bern. Read more

Artists in Labs: “Land Art” in the Roseg Valley (Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag)
September 3, 2018

In 2017, two artists from Saudi Arabia spent some time at Eawag as part of the Artists in Labs (ail) project and were inspired by research into artistic interpretations, Zahrah Alghamdi and Muhannad Shono. Now ail has created a video for both projects.  Read more

Cichlids of the genus Astatotilapia in Lake Chala (Photo: Florian N. Moser)
August 24, 2018

Cichlids belong to one of the largest fish families, with new species emerging all the time. These colourful, shimmering fish evolve so fast that Eawag researchers have now been able to practically observe them in the process of their evolution. Read more

Photo: pixabay
July 27, 2018

Knowledge brokering is a technical term used to describe activities to facilitate mutual learning between researchers, practitioners and policy makers. While frameworks exist for assessing academic impact, few equivalent tools are available for assessing the contributions of knowledge brokers at the interface between research, policy and practice.  Read more

Photo: Kiara Worth
July 26, 2018

Roy Brouwer was invited to be part of a panel discussion during the 2018 session of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York Mid-July. Brouwer is Executive Director of the Water Institute and Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and visiting Professor at Eawag. Read more

Plastic mulch films characterize the agricultural landscape in many places. (Photo: Luca Lorenzelli, Shutterstock)
July 26, 2018

Thin mulch films made of polyethylene are used in agriculture in numerous countries, where they cause extensive soil contamination. Researchers at ETH Zurich and Eawag have now identified an alternative: films made of the polymer PBAT biodegrade in soils.  Read more

On the surface of various Swiss lakes, the water periodically turns a turquoise colour. This is due to calcite precipitation. (Photo: Sentinel-2 data provided by ESA, 2017)
July 19, 2018

Thanks to Copernicus – the EU Earth Observation Programme initiated in 2014 – environmental researchers now have access to vast amounts of high-quality satellite data. As this is also invaluable for aquatic research, Eawag is currently expanding its capacity in the area of remote sensing. Read more

Almost 100 million plastic spheres reduce evaporation losses from the Los Angeles Ivanhoe reservoir. (Photo: Junkyardsparkle, CC0 1.0)
July 17, 2018

Black plastic balls, which aim to reduce evaporation losses from open-air reservoirs under drought conditions, are not quite as efficient as previously assumed. Considerable quantities of water are already used in their production.  Read more

Water samples for the measurement of glyphosate in Lake Greifen were collected by the Zurich Office for Waste, Water, Energy and Air (AWEL) as part of a cantonal water monitoring programme. (Photo: Sebastian Stötzer)
July 12, 2018

Researchers from Agroscope and Eawag have discovered that, under certain conditions, the herbicide glyphosate is rapidly degraded in Lake Greifen (Greifensee). The evidence strongly suggests that this is due to cyanobacteria using the substance as an alternative source of phosphorus. Read more

On the Blinnenbach stream near Reckingen (canton of Valais), connectivity is disrupted by the weir of the Wannebode hydropower plant. (Photo: Eawag)
July 5, 2018

Small hydropower plants are often constructed on alpine streams, where they may have adverse impacts on sensitive ecosystems. Little is known, however, about the particular effects of individual plants, or the cumulative effects of multiple plants within the same river system. The current state of knowledge has now been reviewed in a study by Eawag researchers.  Read more

Prof. Janet Hering re-elected by the Federal Council (Photo: ETH)
July 4, 2018

Janet Hering will take up her fourth term as Director of Eawag in 2019. Today, the Federal Council re-elected her based on the recommendation of the ETH Board. One of Janet Hering's important goals is that Eawag can integrate and synthesize knowledge from a wide variety of areas and thus make it useful in practice.  Read more

Aurin – Fertilisers from urine (Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag)
June 28, 2018

Aurin is now authorized by the Federal Office for Agriculture to be used as a fertiliser for every type of plant. Valuable nutrients from human urine are processed into high-quality liquid fertiliser — the upshot of Eawag’s “VUNA” research project. The Eawag spinoff of the same name as the project is now forging ahead with its urine recycling model. Read more

Clostridium bacteria make spores and occur frequently in intestinal flora. (Source: Annie Cavanagh https://wellcomecollection.org/works/ct6qa6fw?query=clostridium)
June 20, 2018

Antibiotic resistance is widespread in bacteria spores and preserved for years, as shown by experiments at Eawag and the University of Neuchâtel. Read more

June 19, 2018

Nanomaterials consist of tiny particles of different composition. They are used, for example, in textiles and can enter aquatic systems directly from the factory, while being worn or disposed of. For years, research groups at Eawag have been investigating the effects of artificially manufactured nanoparticles on human beings and the environment. Their preliminary conclusion: nanoparticles have a reputation worse than they deserve. Read more

Sometimes dry, sometimes flooded: bodies of flowing water that do not carry water permanently contribute considerably to global CO2 turnover. (B. Launay)
June 5, 2018

Biological processes in rivers and brooks emit CO2, partly as a result of decaying plant litter that is deposited in the watercourses from surrounding land. Flowing water thus contributes more to the natural carbon cycle than would a terrestrial ecosystem covering the same area. Up until now, global carbon measures have only taken account of rivers that flow continuously. But about half of the world’s river networks consist of streams that are only periodically flooded. Their CO2 turnover has now been examined for the first time by 94 research institutes from all over the world, among them Eawag and the University of Zurich. Read more

Tropical rainforest in Indonesia
June 1, 2018

Southerly countries are rich in genetic resources. The companies that exploit this natural treasure commercially are very often from the northern, developed world, however. The Nagoya Protocol was created in order to ensure fair use of genetic resources and appropriate compensation.  Read more

The elimination of aquatic environments of adequate size (here on the Doubs near la Motte / JU) is controversial in many areas (Photo: Foen, Ex-Press, Herbert Böhler & Flurin Bertsch).
April 5, 2018

Financial support and the further increase in hydroelectric power, negative effects of plant protection agents and the destruction of aquatic environments were the major themes in Swiss water policy in the year 2017. Read more

Trout were caught and studied in various brooks above and below wastewater treatment plants in order to determine whether and how they react to harmful chemicals (Photo: Eawag).
April 4, 2018

Monitoring the effects of chemicals on environmental systems with many species has always been a challenge. On behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Eawag and the Ecotox Centre-EPFL investigated how the regulation of genes in fish and in single fish cells allow scientists to deduce water quality and fish health. Read more

A lake overgrown with aquatic plants in Vanuatu, July 2017.
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

Photo: Aldo Todaro
June 29, 2016

In recent decades, Swiss water protection efforts have focused on reducing nutrient inputs; today, one of the main concerns is controlling micropollutants. Read more

Fig. 1: Juvenile whitefish prior to their release from a hatchery into Lake Thun. (Photo: Emanuel Ammon, Ex-Press)
April 21, 2016

In the last century, the natural reproduction of whitefish and Arctic char in several Swiss lakes was adversely affected by high levels of nutrient inputs. So far, stocking measures have been implemented in efforts to support fish populations and maintain yields. The effectiveness of these measures varies according to the particular species and lake. Read more