News - Current Eawag contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

October 7, 2022

October 7, 2022A high fraction of the endemic biodiversity of the Alps is very old. The endemics – species found only in a confined area – have developed over the past millions of years during the cycles of glacial and interglacial periods or even before these cycles began. Fish, however, are an exception: most endemic fish species emerged only after the end of the last ice age about 15,000 years ago.

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September 23, 2022

September 23, 2022Insects that live entirely or partly in freshwater have a much lower proportion of invasive species than insects that live on land. This is shown in a study by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology Eawag and an international team of researchers.

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September 22, 2022

September 22, 2022The smallest of all plastic particles have remained largely unexplored until now, because they could not be detected in the environment. Now researchers at Eawag show: Nanoplastics stick to slimy biofilms, which can for example be found on stones in streams or rivers. When freshwater snails feed on the slime, the nanoplastics are taken up.

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September 1, 2022

September 1, 2022For a long time professional fishermen have known that there is not just one whitefish species in Switzerland, but a whole range of species each with their own specialization and local name. Researchers have now analysed the entire genome of the various whitefish and shown how specialists have all developed independently of each other in each lake region.

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July 18, 2022

July 18, 2022As part of a new national research programme that aims to replace animal experiments in research, the National Science Foundation is supporting a project at Eawag. This opens up new possibilities for determining the toxicity of chemical substances based solely on tests with cultured cells and computer models. Animal experiments could thus be replaced.

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June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022Africa is home to a large part of the world's biodiversity. Many species are native only to this continent. So far, the genome of only a tiny proportion of them has been decoded, but this is an important prerequisite for their protection. The large-scale African BioGenome Project, in which Eawag researchers are also involved, now aims to change this.

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June 27, 2022

June 27, 2022A facility with experimental ponds for field trials is located on the Eawag site in Dübendorf. The current experiment is investigating how the water lily aphid - a herbivore that lives both on land and on water - influences the development of the biocoenosis in water bodies.

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June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022Lake Greifensee is almost on Eawag’s “doorstep” and is therefore used extensively for its water research. Last Friday, interested visitors learned about how the researchers work and what they have discovered about the lake during an enjoyable boat trip. There will be another opportunity for this in autumn.

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June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022Using DNA data, researchers from ETH and Eawag have examined seawater to find not only new species of bacteria, but also previously unknown natural products that may one day prove beneficial as they report today in the journal Nature.

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June 16, 2022

June 16, 2022It is no secret that climate change has a serious impact on the quality and ecology of aquatic environments. Researchers at Eawag have revealed that human responses to climate change are just as impactful on our water systems – for example, in the areas of agriculture and hydropower.

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June 14, 2022

June 14, 2022In the future, drones could open up new possibilities for taking water samples fully automatically in remote areas. To this end, Eawag researchers tested a drone model developed at Empa and Imperial College.

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May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022As of 1 May 2022, Andrin Krähenbühl will head the FIBER fisheries advisory service at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) in Kastanienbaum. The biologist and angler brings with him experience from research and association work. And he is convinced that it serves everyone if the institutions work well together: fisheries, research and biodiversity.

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May 5, 2022

May 5, 2022Eawag researchers Sabine Hoffmann, Kai Udert and Lisa Deutsch are committed to a sanitation and nutrient transformation. They use an example to explain why a transformation is needed and why collaboration with politicians in particular is a challenge.

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May 4, 2022

May 4, 2022What has been a purification process in wastewater treatment plants for decades can also be used decentrally or semi-centrally as a recycling process for nutrients. Early separation of "solid and liquid" plays a key role here. It allows for flexible solutions in terms of process technology, especially in the treatment of urine. New studies also show that the processes can be used not only for human urine, but also for that of cows or pigs.

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April 11, 2022

April 11, 2022Monitoring freshwater ecosystems by means of environmental DNA methods offers new opportunities for detecting invasive species. An Eawag study has shown that an invasive jellyfish is more widespread in Switzerland than previously thought.

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March 29, 2022

March 29, 2022Artificial floods mimick natural flows to mobilise and transport sediment downstream, reshape the river and reinstate important habitats for native aquatic insects and fish. Improved outcomes can occur when these artificial floods converge with natural flows and sediment delivery from unregulated tributary streams further down the valley.

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March 24, 2022

March 24, 2022New research findings, and a resulting fact sheet, provide insights into the problematic spread of the invasive quagga mussel in Switzerland. The authors of the fact sheet are concerned that the aggressive spread of this mussel species will have a substantial detrimental effect on lake ecosystems.

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March 23, 2022

March 23, 2022Among aquatic insects in Swiss streams, those species that like it warm and can cope well with pesticide exposure are on the rise. This is shown by a joint study by WSL and Eawag using data from biodiversity monitoring between 2010 and 2019. The results indicate a possible influence of climate change.

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February 24, 2022

February 24, 2022Nearly a hundred year old tissue samples from Lake Constance have enabled Eawag researchers to compare genetic material of an extinct whitefish species with that of extant co-occurring species. Their investigation showed that fragments of the genome of the extinct species have survived in today’s species. This could potentially facilitate the recolonization of the currently not occupied deep-water habitat.

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February 10, 2022

February 10, 2022Eawag researchers have won a competition organised by Britain’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3R). The prize money is awarded for use in research to develop technologies to replace animal testing.

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February 1, 2022

February 1, 2022Scientists from 48 countries initiated the “European Reference Genome Atlas” at the start of 2021. Within this project, around 600 researchers aim to decode the genetic repertoire of all species of the continent by generating reference genomes for the roughly 200,000 eukaryotic species. The hope is to strengthen the foundations for conservation of biodiversity.

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January 28, 2022

January 28, 2022A river with chemically polluted sediments at its bottom is missing a crucial habitat. However, until now there has been no uniform method for monitoring the quality of sediments. On behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment, experts from the Ecotox Centre and Eawag have now developed a proposal for this.

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December 8, 2021

December 8, 2021It makes sense to study land and water habitats together, according to the initial findings of the Blue-Green Biodiversity initiative.

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November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021Rising 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

November 18, 2021A 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

November 17, 2021The 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

November 17, 2021Together 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 2, 2021

November 2, 2021Our 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

October 29, 2021Whether 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

October 26, 2021Microplastics, 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 12, 2021

October 12, 2021Europe 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

October 5, 2021Evolution 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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September 23, 2021

September 23, 2021The "gene scissors" CRISPR/Cas9 can be used to precisely modify genes in order to study their function in an organism. A researcher at Eawag has now succeeded for the first time in establishing the gene scissors for a fish cell line of rainbow trout. This means that, as of now, genetically modified cell lines can be produced. These allow alternatives to ecotoxicological tests on living animals.

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August 5, 2021

August 5, 2021Blue-green algae and other phytoplankton are very important for the proper functioning of aquatic ecosystems. When they accumulate in high quantities, however, they can be harmful to people and animals because some blue-green algae species produce toxic chemicals. For this reason, the aquatic research institute Eawag is currently working on methods to improve the prediction of bloom events.

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July 8, 2021

July 8, 2021Eawag’s practice-oriented courses (known as PEAK) provide training for professionals. Isabelle Schläppi of the PEAK Office looks back over a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021The OECD gives the green light to the fish cell line assay developed at Eawag. This paves the way for companies and authorities around the world to determine the environmental toxicology of chemicals without having to resort to animal testing.

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June 18, 2021

June 18, 2021Bacteria from an Indian landfill could help eliminate contaminated chemicals. The focus is on pesticides such as lindane or brominated flame retardants, which accumulate in nature and in food chains. Researchers at Eawag and Empa used these bacteria to generate enzymes that can break down these dangerous chemicals.

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June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021Formerly widespread, native crayfish in Switzerland are now highly endangered. With support from Eawag, experts are doing everything they can to preserve the secretive river dwellers.

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June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021With the latest analytical methods, potentially toxic substances can be detected even at very low concentrations. However, the aim of research is not merely to document such contamination but also to understand how it occurs in streams and groundwater, and to propose mitigation measures.

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June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021Microbes self-organise to grow into fascinating and complex patterns. The diversity of these patterns depends on a previously unknown factor, as researchers at Eawag have discovered. This might re-define how we view the concept of microbial biodiversity.

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March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021Ecotoxicological tests need to be extremely accurate – which often poses challenges in research and practice. Eawag has now developed a computer model that enables even more accurate testing at high throughput; the model is simple, widely applicable and saves resources.

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February 9, 2021

February 9, 2021Beavers are master builders that reshape aquatic landscapes with their dams and lodges. The environments they inhabit experience an increase in the biodiversity of aquatic organisms, for example. Now, for the first time, an Eawag study from the wine-growing region known as “Zürcher Weinland” has shown that this is also true for streams in areas given over largely to agriculture. The rodents could therefore be interesting partners when it comes to enhancing bodies of water.

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January 29, 2021

January 29, 2021For three months, an extended family in South Africa tested the standalone Autarky toilet cubicle. Everyone was very happy with the quiet hideout.

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Simone Kral Head of Communication Tel. +41 58 765 6882 Send Mail

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