Ecosystems

Understand and manage ecosystems

Why does one species of toad live in ponds, while another prefers shingle banks? How does the flora and fauna in a mountain stream change when the glacier has melted away? And how do invasive species affect their new habitat? It is only by answering questions such as these that entire ecosystems can be understood and, to some extent, managed.

News

December 17, 2020

Europe still has barely any downstream passage facilities that guide fish past the turbines of run-of-river power stations unharmed. Now, an interdisciplinary team of engineers from ETH Zurich and fish biologists from Eawag have developed a rack that uses pressure and flow differences to guide fish out of the main flow and into the safe fish passage. Laboratory tests have shown that the system, which works by influencing fish behaviour, is particularly effective for cyprinid fish and salmon parr.

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December 1, 2020

The analysis of DNA fragments and their assignment to individual species – an increasingly well‑established approach – is transforming biodiversity assessment. Samples collected from waterbodies permit rapid biomonitoring of aquatic ecosystems. However, environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is not without pitfalls. For this reason, guidelines for practitioners have now been developed by a group of experts – including Eawag scientists – coordinated by the Federal Office for the Environment. These guidelines, covering the whole process from sampling to data interpretation, should help to ensure that eDNA applications produce reliable results.

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Scientific publications

Carraro, L.; Mächler, E.; Wüthrich, R.; Altermatt, F. (2020) Environmental DNA allows upscaling spatial patterns of biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems, Nature Communications, 11, 3585 (12 pp.), doi:10.1038/s41467-020-17337-8, Institutional Repository
Swann, G. E. A.; Panizzo, V. N.; Piccolroaz, S.; Pashley, V.; Horstwood, M. S. A.; Roberts, S.; Vologina, E.; Piotrowska, N.; Sturm, M.; Zhdanov, A.; Granin, N.; Norman, C.; McGowan, S.; Mackay, A. W. (2020) Changing nutrient cycling in Lake Baikal, the world's oldest lake, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America PNAS, 117(44), 27211-27217, doi:10.1073/pnas.2013181117, Institutional Repository
Rodríguez-Verdugo, A.; Ackermann, M. (2020) Rapid evolution destabilizes species interactions in a fluctuating environment, ISME Journal, doi:10.1038/s41396-020-00787-9, Institutional Repository
Burdon, F. J.; Bai, Y.; Reyes, M.; Tamminen, M.; Staudacher, P.; Mangold, S.; Singer, H.; Räsänen, K.; Joss, A.; Tiegs, S. D.; Jokela, J.; Eggen, R. I. L.; Stamm, C. (2020) Stream microbial communities and ecosystem functioning show complex responses to multiple stressors in wastewater, Global Change Biology, 26(11), 6363-6382, doi:10.1111/gcb.15302, Institutional Repository
Coll, C.; Bier, R.; Li, Z.; Langenheder, S.; Gorokhova, E.; Sobek, A. (2020) Association between aquatic micropollutant dissipation and river sediment bacterial communities, Environmental Science and Technology, 54(22), 14380-14392, doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c04393, Institutional Repository
To the library

Publications for practitioners

Factsheet: Frequently asked questions on road salt [pdf, available in German and French]

Factsheet: Invasive species spread by recreational boats transported overland [pdf, available in German and French]

Factsheet: River Corridors [pdf, available in German and French]

Factsheet: Facts about phosphorus in Lake Brienz [pdf, available in German and French]

Factsheet: Water power and ecology [pdf, available in German and French]

Ecotox Centre Info sheet: Microplastics in the environment [pdf, available in German and French]

FIBER Brochure: Small Watercourses: Ecological Function and importance for fishes [pdf, available in German and French]

FIBER Brochure: River revitalisation: Focus on fish [pdf, available in German and French]

Experts

Dr. Marco Baity Jesi
  • modeling
  • Computational methods
  • machine learning
  • data science
Prof. Dr. Rik Eggen
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • micropollutants
  • surface water
Dr. Philine Feulner
  • biodiversity
  • fish
  • genetics
  • comparative genomics
Dr. David Johnson
  • biodiversity
  • Ecosystem services
  • Metagenomics
  • Metabolic specialization
  • Experimental evolution
Prof. Dr. Jukka Jokela
  • algae
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • fish
  • genetics
  • plankton
  • proteomics
Dr. Hans Peter Kohler
  • micropollutants
  • organic pollutants
  • drinking water
Dr. Blake Matthews
  • biodiversity
  • plankton
  • evolution
  • Ecosystems
Dr. Carlos Melian
  • biodiversity
  • modeling
  • ecology
Dr. Anita Julianne Tricia Narwani
  • genetics
  • ecology
  • plankton
Dr. Christopher Robinson
  • algae
  • biodiversity
  • field studies
  • river restoration
  • ecology
  • hydropower
Prof. Dr. Carsten Schubert
  • isotopes
  • surface water
Prof. Dr. Ole Seehausen
  • fish
  • genetics
  • ecology
  • evolution
PD Dr. Piet Spaak
  • plankton
  • sediments
Dr. Colette vom Berg
  • fish
  • molecular ecotoxicology
Prof. Dr. Alfred Johny Wüest
  • aquatic ecology
  • water quality
  • Lake management