Center for Ecology, Evolution and Biogeochemistry

The Center for Ecology, Evolution, and Biogeochemistry
(CEEB) in Kastanienbaum brings research groups together that link biodiversity, understood within an evolutionary context to the structure and processes of aquatic ecosystems. This research is both fundamental and applied, where the latter serves as the basis for transdisciplinary projects, expert consulting and outreach.

The CEEB incorporates activities of two Eawag departments: Fish Ecology and Evolution and Surface Waters - Research and Management. Both departments share a common interest in understanding the principles of the functioning of aquatic ecosystems and their susceptibility and adaptability to changing environments, and a common concern for sustainable management of ecosystems and biodiversity. The complementary strengths of the two departments provide a basis for the investigation of ecological and environmental dynamics at different levels of integration, ranging from genes to ecological communities on the one hand, and from geo-physical and geochemical processes to organic matter flow on the other hand, and scaling-up to aquatic ecosystem and biodiversity dynamics. Each department aims at contributing cutting edge science to the development of theory in ecology, evolution and environmental sciences. Building on the synergies that emerge between these fields, the CEEB aspires to contribute to a future synthesis of evolutionary biology and ecosystem science.


7.30 pm
Eawag Kastanienbaum, Mehrzwecksaal Seeheim

Öffentlicher Abendvortrag - Forschung am See


Seestrasse 79
6047 Kastanienbaum

Tel. +41 (0)58 765 21 11
Fax +41 (0)58 765 21 68


The CEEB is a competence centre, which is supported by 14 research groups.

The following research groups are dealing with the area ecology:

The following research groups are dealing with the area evolution:

The following research groups are dealing with the area biogeochemistry:

The following research groups are dealing with the area aquatic chemistry:

The following research groups are dealing with the area aquatic physics and sediments:

The following research groups are dealing with the area system analysis:

The following research groups are dealing with the area management:

The following research groups are dealing with the area conservation:

The following research group is dealing with the area behaviour:


One thematic focus of several CEEB research groups are effects of global and regional environmental change on biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems (climate change, changes in nutrient fluxes, changes in management schemes).

Core strength of the CEEB is the establishment and use of rare ecological long-term data series and mechanistic as well as evolutionary models for a number of lakes in Switzerland and elsewhere, including Lake Baikal, Lake Victoria, Lake Kivu and several tropical reservoirs.

Current Projects of the CEEB

One important long-term goal is to couple biodiversity and ecosystem models to non-biological models of global and regional change. Projects in this direction are funded by the Competence Centre of Environment and Sustainability CCES, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the European Science foundations and include:

Do fish and invertebrates like the Rolling Stones?
Almost two-thirds of the native fish species of Switzerland are threatened by extinction. To preserve or specifically enhance aquatic biodiversity and habitats ...
Assessing biodiversity from genes to communities in Swiss river fish
The intricacies of Lake Kivu and of the methane stored in its deep waters could easily keep an entire research institute busy. Our research aims at creating the knowledge needed to support a sustainable and safe exploitation of the methane resource.


The center coordinates a sabbatical program with grant applications to ETH and Eawag. Requests by international researchers who would like to spend some time at the CEEB and contribute to the CEEB research are welcome.



Dr. Helmut Bürgmann Microbial Ecology Tel. +41 58 765 2165 Send Mail

Surface Water - Research and Management

Fish Ecology and Evolution


The lake shore site of the CEEB offers excellent opportunities for field-based research, education, and outreach. Research infrastructure includes

  • A fleet of portable and stationary research boats
  • A fleet of cars
  • State-of-the-art aquarium systems for cold water fish
  • State-of-the-art aquarium systems for tropical fish
  • State-of-the-art laboratories for analytical chemistry, organic geochemistry, and stable isotope geochemistry
  • A large set of physical and chemical sensors for field applications
  • State-of-the-art laboratories for molecular genetics including one 18-capillary ABI sequencer
  • A large mesocosm garden for experimental work with plankton, invertebrates and fish
  • Two very large outdoor fish tanks with glass walls for behavioural research on large fish 

Check the departments' websites for more details and pictures:
Facilities of Fishec / Equipment of Surf

The CEEB is networked with the Eawag headquarters in Dübendorf and the ETH library, and has electronic access to most international journals in ecology, evolution and environmental sciences and engineering. Fast video conferencing facilities are also available between Dübendorf and Kastanienbaum. The CEEB’s course rooms are ideal for courses, Summer Schools, practical training sessions, retreats, conferences or other type of meetings. Guests can be accommodated at the Eawag’s guest house “Seeheim” and at five shared guest apartments.



The CEEB hosts two weekly seminar series with external and internal speakers during the spring and fall semesters. They are open for visitors.

PEAK Courses

The practice-oriented Eawag courses PEAK are designed for specialists from nature conservancy, industry, administration and engineering or environmental consultancies. Each year, 2-3 courses are held at the CEEB.

Master & PhD

Educational activities at the CEEB, including the supervision of student research at the undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. levels, are performed in collaboration with partner institutions, specifically ETH Zürich, EPF Lausanne and the University of Berne.

Summer Schools

CEEB is hosting Summer Schools since 2009 in which up to 20 students can live and breath the air of high standing research on the shore of the Lake Lucerne. Lectures combined with lab work lead to a special education with insight into the research taking place at the CEEB.

University Teaching

Many of the CEEB staff are teaching at Universities, especially at ETHZ and the University of Berne.


The applied research and expert consulting of CEEB is especially visible in the scientific and technical staff working here, who are approached frequently by local, national, and international governmental units and by private individuals.

The CEEB is home to the Swiss Fisheries Advisory Office (FIBER).

Experts of the CEEB

Name Research area
Bouffard Damien Physical processes in lakes, reservoirs and rivers
Brodersen Jakob Ecology and evolution of fish in riverine ecosystems
Bürgmann Helmut Microbiology
Dubois Nathalie Lake sediments
Feulner Philine Biodiversity mainly of fish, genetics, comparative genomics
Janssen David Chemistry, nutrients and heavy metals in aquatic systems
Krähenbühl Andrin Fisheries Advisory Office
Matthews Blake Ecosystem ecology
Melian Carlos Theoretical ecology & evolution
Schmid Martin Modeling of processes in lakes and rivers and system analysis
Schubert Carsten Methane in aquatic systems
Seehausen Ole Evolution, ecology and conservation of fish diversity
Weber Christine River restoration, river ecology


All publications of the three CEEB departments are listed on their publications websites: