News Portal

December 5, 2019

The lakes of East Africa are home to a surprising number of different cichlid species. This level of biodiversity has developed partly due to hybrids that managed to take over new ecological niches in their habitats, according to recent research carried out by scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Eawag, and the University of Bern.

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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.

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November 19, 2019

It's World Toilet Day today. What may sound curious is intended to draw attention to a serious problem. Because worldwide, one in three people lack access to appropriate sanitation. In the Blue Diversion Autarky project, researchers are developing an off-grid toilet, with on-site treatment allowing valuable resources to be recovered.

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November 18, 2019

ETH Zurich has awarded Stefan Achermann the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize for his dissertation entitled "Exploring linkages between micropollutant biotransformation reactions and microbial community characteristics in activated sludge". This prize is awarded to outstanding dissertations and master theses at ETH Zurich in the field of water protection and hydrology. In his work, Stefan Achermann combined chemical-analytical and molecular-biological methods to investigate the degradation pathways of micropollutants in wastewater treatment plants.

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November 13, 2019

There may be hundreds of species of char living in Greenland’s lakes and rivers, according to a team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the University of Bern, that has discovered the largest known diversity of char species in the catchment area of the Eqaluit River.

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November 4, 2019

The measurement of trace concentrations of pyrethroid and organophosphate insecticides – now possible thanks to a newly developed analytical method – shows that these compounds can pose a greater threat to aquatic organisms than all other pesticides.

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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.

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October 23, 2019

One of the most popular drugs in Central and Southern Europe is cocaine, according to the new European drugs report. In Eastern Europe however, it’s methamphetamine — more commonly known as crystal meth — that is the drug of choice.

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October 16, 2019

In aquatic ecosystems, both mussels and macrophytes increase water clarity and generally help to prevent excessive algal growth. However, according to a study carried out at Eawag’s experimental pond facility, these stabilizing effects can be disrupted when the co‑occurrence of species gives rise to complex interactions.

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October 8, 2019

Daphnia can adapt rapidly to changing environmental conditions. This was shown by a study carried out by scientists from Eawag and Cornell University in Oneida Lake (NY, US). This adaptation influences daphnia population density, thus affecting the entire lake food web.

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October 4, 2019

Besides research and consultancy, teaching is the third major aspect of Eawag’s work. Around 140 master’s students are supervised every year at the Institute, some of whom are directly involved in research projects. This integration of teaching and learning, along with the flat hierarchies and Eawag’s interdisciplinary culture together create a unique environment that is greatly valued by students and supervisors alike, and which results again and again in outstanding master’s dissertations.

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October 2, 2019

Rapid changes in the genome of two closely interlinked species cannot be explained only by processes such as evolutionary pressure. Equally important is the role played by ecological processes, for example the dynamics of population size. This has been shown for the first time experimentally by an international team of researchers under the direction of Eawag and the University of Konstanz with an alga and a virus. The study will be published today in the magazine Science Advances.

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September 27, 2019

River sediment normally acts as a sink for hormones that are dissolved in the water. However, if they are disturbed, for instance when flooding occurs, these substances can end up back in the water column – with potentially negative consequences for the whole ecosystem.

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September 23, 2019

New species can evolve rapidly after adapting to new niches, a process called ecological speciation. But mutations are rare, so how is such rapid ecological speciation possible? Recently evolved lake and stream ecotypes of stickleback from Lake Constance reveal an unexpected answer.

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September 17, 2019

Implementation of the Montreal Protocol has successfully prevented depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer and associated increases in levels of UV-B radiation at the Earth’s surface. But many questions remain to be answered – for example, how does climate change affect the exposure of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to UV radiation? This is one of the questions discussed in a review article, co-authored by former Eawag scientist Barbara Sulzberger, which was recently published in Nature Sustainability.

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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.

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September 9, 2019

Awareness of sustainable groundwater consumption is increasing in importance because of changing land use and climate change. As a result, the desire to better understand the natural and anthropogenic processes that have an influence on groundwater quality is growing.

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September 4, 2019

The 3RCC award has been conferred on two Eawag researchers by the 3R Swiss Competence Centre (3RCC) for their outstanding research work. For the first time ever, the researchers managed to obtain ISO certification for a toxicity test using cultured fish gill cells, thanks to their project work in this area. This represents a milestone in the promotion of alternatives to animal experiments. The prize was awarded on September 2nd in Bern.

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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.

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August 30, 2019

On 1 September 2019, Benoît Ferrari will take over as interim director of the Ecotox Centre. Benoît Ferrari is an expert on the ecotoxicity of sediments and has been group leader for sediment and soil ecotoxicology at the Ecotox Centre in Lausanne since 2013. The current director, Inge Werner, will remain with the Ecotox Centre on a part-time basis until 2021.

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