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Johannes Hellmann, head of field work (left), and his colleague fish in a mountain stream, the Rein da Cristallina, in Ticino. (Photo: Eawag)
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

Collection of samples on the Eschelisbach, Thurgau (Photo: Eawag Esther Michel)
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

Planktothrix rubescens in Lake Hallwil (Photo: Sabine Flury, Eawag)
March 26, 2019

Freshwater lakes are teeming with blue-green algae that produce a heady cocktail of substances. Little is known as yet about the health risks associated with these substances, although a review of the literature by Eawag scientist Elisabeth Janssen has now revealed some potentially harmful effects. Read more

Photo: Amritansuh Sikdar, Unsplash
March 22, 2019

Today's Unesco World Water Day has the theme "Leave no one behind". Many people still do not have access to safe water and sanitary facilities for various reasons. But access to clean water alone is not enough, knows behavioural psychologist Hans-Joachim Mosler of the Department of Environmental Social Sciences. Read more

The parasitic tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus has targeted this three-spined stickleback. (Photo: Nina Hafer-Hahmann)
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

To obtain more reliable estimates of illicit drug use based on wastewater analysis, Christoph Ort and Ann-Kathrin McCall are studying the stability of drug residues in sewers. The detection of these substances in wastewater is a complete task.
March 14, 2019

Consumption of cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines and methamphetamines is increasing all over Europe according to the latest findings of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). In Swiss cities, the consumption of cocaine and ecstasy certainly appear to have remained at a high level. Read more

Rainbow trout (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
March 14, 2019

A new device developed at Eawag now allows Scientists to determine whether, and to what extent, fragrances in the environment are absorbed in fish without using animals. This is possible thanks to the use of a mirror-polished stainless steel chamber and a permeable membrane with a layer of intestinal fish cells. Read more

The revolutionary interior of the "save" toilet cannot be seen from the outside. (Photo: Laufen)
March 11, 2019

It’s no secret that urine contains valuable nutrients – or that diluting them with water which is then flushed into sewers is not the most sustainable way of managing this resource. But how can urine be kept out of wastewater? Eawag has been investigating this question for many years, and one answer is to use a urine-diverting toilet to separate it “at source”. What may sound simple turned out in practice to be a tricky task, and several generations of toilets were needed to optimise the source separation technology to the point where it can be more widely deployed.  Read more

Judit Lienert (Photo: Peter Penicka)
March 6, 2019

Political questions on environmental issues are multi-faceted and can often face several conflicting objectives at once. The solutions are therefore seldom simple, and seldom satisfy all stakeholders. Environmental social scientist and biologist Judit Leinert is investigating with her research group how such conflicting objectives can best be handled. Read more

Pesticides from agriculture finish up in water bodies and harm microorganisms. (Photo: Eawag)
March 4, 2019

A new study by an interdisciplinary team from Eawag has shown that substances from agriculture affect living organisms in rivers and streams to a greater extent than treated wastewater, which has less impact on the species composition of microorganisms.  Read more

A water intake in the Borge d’Arolla (Photo: Chrystelle Gabbud)
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

Clear or turbid? Shallow lakes can suddenly reach their tipping point. (Photo: International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD – Experimental Lakes Area ELA, Canada)
February 26, 2019

When ecosystems tip abruptly out of balance, this can be catastrophic for humans and for biodiversity. Astonishingly little is known about the role of evolution in such processes. A research team including Eawag scientists has now published approaches to investigating such complex questions in the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution”. Read more

The "LéXPLORE" platform on Lake Geneva (Photo: Natacha Pasche)
February 20, 2019

As of this week, “LéXPLORE”, a 100 metre research platform, is afloat on Lake Geneva. On board are countless radiosondes and sensors which should enable researchers at Eawag, EPFL and the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva to gain a better understanding of the ecological processes at work in Lake Geneva as well as the interactions between the water and the atmosphere. Read more

The black soldier fly. (Photo: Sandec/Eawag)
February 19, 2019

The larvae of black soldier flies feed on organic waste matter. This has the potential not only to alleviate the waste problem in many countries, but also cut greenhouse gas emissions from waste disposal by around half. Read more

Dry period at the Klöntalersee: dryness and regional water scarcity were a recurring hot topic in the media in summer 2018. (Photo: Pixabay)
February 14, 2019

A study by environmental social scientist Mario Angst shows that reports in the media do not always reflect the issues that most concern organisations, public sector agencies, cantons and communities on a day-to-day basis.  Read more

The research station on the Jungfraujoch, where researchers collected rainwater every week for two years. (Image: flickr)
February 11, 2019

Selenium is a difficult mineral to research, as it has a complex chemistry and is only found in the environment in the tiniest amounts. However, scientists at Eawag and ETH Zurich have now developed new methods of chemical analysis that, when combined with atmospheric models, allow assumptions to be made for the first time on the origins of selenium. Read more

A restored reach of the Emme in the Bernese Oberland (Photo: Markus Bolliger, Shutterstock)
February 8, 2019

In the coming decades, many rivers in Switzerland are to be restored to a natural state. To identify those river reaches where restoration would be ecologically most valuable, Eawag scientists have developed a new assessment procedure. Read more

Researcher Denise Mitrano works in the laboratory of the ETH Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering during the synthesis of nano-size plastic particles with a minute amount of palladium. (Photo: Andri Bryner, Eawag)
February 4, 2019

More than 98% of the smallest plastic particles from sewers are retained in sludge. Researchers have been able to prove this by incorporating the precious metal palladium as a tracer in artificial nanoplastics. This innovative method has great potential for keeping track of the behaviour of nanoplastics in technical systems as well as in environmental situations. Read more

The FE tunnel. Visible in the foreground is a waste canister which, thanks to an integrated heating element, mimics the thermal behaviour of a future canister containing spent fuel. (Photo: Nagra)
January 31, 2019

In collaboration with Nagra and Bern University, Eawag scientists have studied the gas dynamics in an experimental tunnel simulating the disposal of radioactive waste. While some of the findings are surprising, the overall safety assessment is positive. Read more

Federal councillor Guy Parmelin at the presentation of the Aquascope underwater microscope by Dr. Francesco Pomati (Photo: Simone Kral)
January 24, 2019

“Innovation from Switzerland, for Switzerland” is the theme of a special feature at this year’s World Economic Forum, where Eawag, as part of the ETH Domain will have the opportunity to discuss and share ideas with guests from the Swiss political arena as well as from the public and private sectors. Read more

Florian Altermatt and doctoral student Elvira Mächler take water samples in Chriesbach
January 24, 2019

The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) has appointed Florian Altermatt President of the Biodiversity Forum as of January 2019. Previously he held the office of Vice President. The biologist heads the "Spatial Dynamics" research group at Eawag and holds an associate professorship in Aquatic Ecology at the University of Zurich. Read more

Christoph Lüthi at his TedTalk in Munich (Source: TedX München)
January 22, 2019

3 billion people worldwide live in cities without sewers or wastewater treatment plant infrastructure. This forces them to dump their waste into open waters, contaminating the drinking water for others downstream. Christoph Lüthi shows how we could harness nutrients in wastewater instead of harming human and environmental health. Read more

Also included in the study: River in Ecuador. (Photo: Scott Tiegs)
January 15, 2019

Climate factors determine the carbon cycles of river ecosystems. These factors are increasingly influenced by humans. A large-scale study is now for the first time showing globally comparable patterns and thus providing a basis for future assessment of the consequences of climate change.  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

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