News Portal

January 20, 2022

Switzerland has around 800 municipal wastewater treatment plants. A recent study by Eawag researchers reveals the burden these plants place on the climate, and explores how emissions of climate-damaging nitrous oxide can be reduced.

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January 18, 2022

Eawag researchers investigated this question in two extensive pilot studies at the Furt-Bülach and Glarus wastewater treatment plants. The findings: Granular activated carbon filtration efficiently removes micropollutants, is technically feasible and is an equal alternative to other processes.

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January 14, 2022

Moritz Gold and Aryeh Feinberg have been awarded the 2021 ETH medals for their outstanding doctoral theses. The topics of the two dissertations were the utilization of organic waste for breeding the larvae of the black soldier fly, and the modelling of atmospheric sulphur and selenium cycles.

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January 12, 2022

All living organisms that respire have to get rid of electrons. In oxygen-free environments, microorganisms deploy special molecules which act as extracellular electron shuttles to transfer the electrons from cells to minerals. A group of researchers has now discovered what determines the electron transfer efficiency of these “taxi” cars: the energy differences of the transported electrons.

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January 4, 2022

The honourable Natural Research Society of Zurich has just published its 224th New Year's Bulletin. It is devoted entirely to the eight square kilometre Greifensee, which Eawag is also researching intensively.

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December 9, 2021

In the "Projet Lac" research project, 35 lakes in the Alpine region were systematically examined for their fish populations for the first time: In Switzerland alone, 106 fish species were detected. With almost 20 percent of all known fish species in Europe, Switzerland is one of the hotspots for fish species diversity. The results are now the basis for measures for sustainable fishing and the protection of this still preserved diversity.

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December 8, 2021

It makes sense to study land and water habitats together, according to the initial findings of the Blue-Green Biodiversity initiative.

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December 7, 2021

With around 200 pictures and texts, the new Water Timeline takes you through 200 years of the eventful history of Swiss water protection. It aims to show how shifts towards more sustainable management of natural resources can be shaped. 

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December 2, 2021

Researchers from 90 scientific institutions worldwide have stated that freshwater biodiversity research and conservation lag far behind the efforts carried out in terrestrial and marine environments. In a new publication in Ecology Letters, they propose a research agenda with 15 priorities aimed at improving research on biodiversity in lakes, rivers, ponds and wetlands. This is urgently needed, as biodiversity loss is taking place much faster in inland waters than on land or in the oceans.

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November 29, 2021

Eawag scientist Christopher Robinson is one of the main editors of this book on the biological and hydrological characteristics of more than 180 of the highest profile rivers in Europe.

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November 26, 2021

In the latest episode of the Papers to Practice Podcast, Dorothee Spuhler talks with Charles Niwagaba about his published article on the microbe-associated health risks involved in using faecal sludge in Ugandan agriculture. This is the second part of the podcast series, which she started with Laura Kohler.

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November 25, 2021

Eawag intends to further develop artificial intelligence methods to enable their increasing use in water research. One current application is the monitoring of plankton communities in lakes. With the help of machine learning methods, it has been possible to implement an automatic classification of the microorganisms.   

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November 23, 2021

Researchers Christoph Vorburger and Florian Altermatt talk about the importance and state of aquatic biodiversity in Switzerland and Eawag’s commitment to conserving natural biodiversity.

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November 22, 2021

ETH Zurich has awarded the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize to environmental engineer Elisa Calamita for her doctoral thesis “Modelling the effects of large dams on water quality in tropical rivers.” The price honours outstanding dissertations and master theses from ETH Zurich in the field of water protection and hydrology.

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November 19, 2021

Rising temperatures, invasive species and other factors have changed the composition of species in Lake Constance over the last century. Researchers are trying to understand how this could have happened and what it means for the lake.

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November 18, 2021

A flood causes stress for organisms living in a watercourse. Their survival depends on factors such as whether there are refuge habitats to which they can retreat. Researchers at VAW and Eawag studied how river widening as part of restoration measures improves potential refugia availability. They showed that refugia provision and thereby the protection of biodiversity depends crucially on the supply of bedload.

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November 17, 2021

The separation toilet save! has won the Design Award Switzerland 2021. This is also a milestone for Tove Larsen. She is a member of the Eawag Directorate and has been researching for almost 30 years how the nutrients in wastewater can be recovered in a useful way. In this interview on the occasion of World Toilet Day 2021, she explains how crucial our handling of wastewater is for climate change and for achieving the SDGs sustainability goals.

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November 17, 2021

Together with a team of researchers and designers, Kai Udert has designed a toilet system that makes it possible to recycle nutrients from wastewater on-site. As a result, valuable nutrients can be recovered and used as fertilisers so that they no longer end up in lakes and oceans where they do a lot of damage. Now he wants to make the system ready for market together with industry partners.

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November 16, 2021

Researchers Juliane Hollender, Bernhard Truffer and Urs von Gunten from the aquatic research institute Eawag are among the "highly cited researchers 2021".

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November 12, 2021

A new EU project is building bridges between experts from academia and industry in the field of urban drainage. The aim of the project is primarily to make local research infrastructure available to partners throughout the EU – including Eawag's urban water observatory (UWO) in Fehraltorf.

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November 9, 2021

This year’s Global Science Film Festival (GSFF) will be taking place in Zurich and Bern between 19th and 28th November. Alongside the full-length and short films by international film makers, shorts by Swiss scientists are also showcased at the event. Five researchers from Eawag are taking part in the festival with their respective submissions.

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November 8, 2021

A new special publication is dedicated to the American scientist Jim Morgan, whose work in the field of aquatic chemistry also left its mark on Eawag.

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November 4, 2021

Changing temperatures and varying winds over the seasons cause great fluctuations in Lake Geneva. The LéXPLORE research platform monitored the movement of water within the lake for a year to learn more about how natural factors influence the lake’s mixing. The resulting analysis now paints a fuller picture of mixing in large lakes, which had previously only been studied over shorter time periods.

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November 3, 2021

Like many land plants, seagrasses live in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen and Eawag now show that seagrass in the Mediterranean Sea lives in symbiosis with bacteria that reside in their roots and provide the nitrogen necessary for growth. Such symbioses were previously only known from land plants. The study was published in the journal Nature.

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November 2, 2021

Our lakes, rivers and streams are teeming with the smallest creatures, plants and bacteria that are barely visible to the naked eye, if at all. An underwater camera makes it possible to observe and identify the species of these creatures in real time.

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October 29, 2021

Whether a hydroelectric power plant is built, a pesticide is banned or a moor is placed under protection – a wide variety of political decisions have an impact on biodiversity. But does biodiversity play any role at all in such decisions? Researchers at Eawag and WSL have investigated this question and examined Swiss policy over the past 20 years.

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October 26, 2021

Microplastics, owing to their chemical properties, can carry micropollutants into a fish’s digestive system where they are subsequently released through the action of its gastric and intestinal fluids. Scientists of EPFL and Eawag, working in association with other research institutes, have studied this process by looking specifically at progesterone – often pointed to as an endocrine disrupter.

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October 18, 2021

The environmental chemist Barbara F. Günthardt and the two environmental engineers Matthew Moy de Vitry and Marius Neamtu are awarded the ETH Medal for their doctoral theses. Plant toxins, urban flooding and complicated flows were the topics. Congratulations!

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October 14, 2021

Heatwaves and heavy local rainfall will increase with climate change, pushing traditional urban drainage systems to their limits. These problems can be addressed using the blue-green infrastructure approach. With careful planning, solutions of this kind can also increase biodiversity and improve the quality of urban life.

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October 12, 2021

Europe has relatively low biodiversity compared to most other continents because many species became extinct during the ice ages. In subterranean ecosystems, however, which were shielded from climatic turbulences, a great diversity of ancient species were able to survive. This is the conclusion of a study on the amphipod genus Niphargus.

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October 5, 2021

Evolution plays a crucial role in ecosystem tipping points, as shown in two recently published studies by Eawag researchers. If this influence is taken into account, ecosystem collapses can be better predicted in the future. At the same time, the studies reveal how the risk of ecosystem collapse can be reduced and the chances of recovery increased.

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October 2, 2021

At the EPFL’s “Magistrale” graduation ceremony this year, Kristin Schirmer was recognised for her teaching work at the institution. In this interview she explains what this work means to her.

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