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Environment - Life Sciences - 05.12.2019
Hybrids increase fish biodiversity in lakes of East Africa
Hybrids increase fish biodiversity in lakes of East Africa
When two individuals from different species mate, the offspring is known as a hybrid. As a result of the genomes being mixed, sometimes phenotypes are produced that deal with new environmental conditions better than the two parent species. Very often, hybrids are not able to reproduce, but there are quite a number of exceptions to this, including the cichlids.

Environment - Social Sciences - 02.12.2019
Improved health check for running waters
If one turns a stone over in a river or stream, it swarms with tiny animals: caddisflies, water beetles, freshwater shrimp, and snails. The invertebrates living on the beds of water bodies that can be seen with the naked eye, called macroinvertebrates, are rather unimposing, but for science and the protection of surface waters they are of great importance.

Environment - Politics - 02.12.2019
What's driving erosion worldwide?
What’s driving erosion worldwide?
ETH Zurich researchers are reexamining the causes of soil erosion around the world - and have found that countries themselves have a surprisingly strong influence on their soil. This country effect was previously undetected. Soil erosion is a global problem that threatens food security and the functioning of ecosystems.

Environment - 20.11.2019
When grown right, palm oil can be sustainable
When grown right, palm oil can be sustainable
Turning an abandoned pasture into a palm tree plantation can be carbon neutral, according to a new study by EPFL and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).

Environment - Innovation - 15.11.2019
EPFL creates a solar cooker with solid potential in Switzerland
EPFL creates a solar cooker with solid potential in Switzerland
EPFL scientists have developed a glass-paneled solar cooker that delivers exceptional performance. Their patented design can operate an average of 155 days a year in Switzerland's cloudiest regions and up to 240 days in its sunniest.  Solar cookers - or solar-powered ovens - can be used to cook foods at low temperatures (60-120°C) for anywhere from 30 minutes up to four hours.

Health - Environment - 15.11.2019
During epidemics, access to GPS data from smartphones can be crucial
During epidemics, access to GPS data from smartphones can be crucial
A new EPFL and MIT study into the interplay between mobility and the 2013 and 2014 dengue outbreaks in Singapore has uncovered a legal void around access to mobile phone data - information that can prove vital in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.  Researchers from EPFL and MIT have shown that human mobility is a major factor in the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue even over short intra-city distances.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.11.2019
Unevenly distributed plankton activity
Unevenly distributed plankton activity
An international research consortium with ETH participation demonstrates that marine plankton is more diverse in warm oceans than in polar seas, both in terms of species count and the biological activities of the plankton communities. Climate change could lead to a redistribution of plankton in the world's oceans.

Environment - 14.11.2019
Rubber in the environment
Rubber in the environment
The tread on the tyre is worn out, new tyres are needed. Everyday life for many drivers. But where do these lost centimetres of tyre tread "disappear" to? As micro-rubbers, they mainly end up in soil and water and, to a small extent, in the air. And the amount of these particles in our environment is anything but small, as Empa researchers have now calculated.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 13.11.2019
Large storage potential in future ice-free glacier basins
Large storage potential in future ice-free glacier basins
Glaciologists at ETH Zurich and WSL assessed the global water storage and hydropower potential that could be freed up in future as glaciers melt in response to climate change. Global warming will cause substantial glacier retreat for the majority of the world's glaciers over the next few decades. This will not only spell the end for some magnificent natural monuments, but also importantly affect the water cycle.

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.11.2019
Opportunity makes species
Opportunity makes species
"The people who live around the Eqaluit River in the south-west of Greenland do know that there are char living in the river and its lakes", explains the evolutionary and fish biologist Carmela Dönz. "But they prefer to eat sea fish and take very little notice of the fish stocks in fresh water - which is one of the reasons why the fish appear to have little fear of people." Outside the region, the rivers and lakes along the coastline created by the retreating Greenland glaciers after the last ice age remain largely unknown.

Environment - Chemistry - 11.11.2019
Nitrous oxide emissions set to rise in the Pacific Ocean
Nitrous oxide emissions set to rise in the Pacific Ocean
The acidification of the Pacific Ocean in northern Japan is increasing the natural production rate of N2O, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas. That's the finding of a study carried out jointly by scientists at EPFL, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and appearing recently.

Life Sciences - Environment - 11.11.2019
"Without Bacteria and Fungi, the Earth Would Look Like Mars"
Our soils filter drinking water and produces food. Soils only carry out these services, because they harbour thousands fungal and bacteria species which work together like the wheels in a clock mechanism. These are the conclusions reached by a study published in the renowned by researchers from Agroscope and the University of Zurich.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 25.10.2019
Mountain streams emit a surprising amount of CO2
Mountain streams emit a surprising amount of CO2
For the first time, an EPFL-led team of scientists has measured the total amount of CO2 emissions from mountain streams worldwide. This research builds on findings issued in February 2019 and shows how important it is to include mountain streams in assessments of the global carbon cycle.  Mountains cover 25% of the Earth's surface, and the streams draining these mountains account for more than a third of the global runoff.

Environment - Health - 24.10.2019
The Effects of the Scorching Summer of 2018 on Health
The Effects of the Scorching Summer of 2018 on Health
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) analysed the health consequences of the hot and dry summer of 2018 for the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The results were published today in the report "Heat and Drought in Summer 2018 - Effects on Humans and the Environment". The report shows that heat and drought had negative impacts on human health, forests, agriculture, water and glaciers.

Environment - Life Sciences - 16.10.2019
Important species interactions can destabilize aquatic ecosystems in response to nutrient inputs
Important species interactions can destabilize aquatic ecosystems in response to nutrient inputs
Ecosystems provide numerous benefits, supplying food, clean water and other resources. So, it is vital that ecosystem stability is maintained in the face of disturbances such as drought, heatwaves or nutrient inputs. Nutrient inputs can be particularly problematic in aquatic ecosystems if they lead to algal blooms.

Environment - Life Sciences - 10.10.2019
Babies burdened by environmental estrogens in mothers' wombs
Babies burdened by environmental estrogens in mothers’ wombs
Early childhood life in the womb is particularly sensitive to the effects of environmental pollutants. A team from Empa and the University of Vienna has now for the first time been able to show how a pollutant from contaminated food - the environmental estrogen zearalenone - spreads in the womb and is metabolized into harmful metabolites.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 09.10.2019
Liquifying a rocky exoplanet
Liquifying a rocky exoplanet
A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.

Life Sciences - Environment - 08.10.2019
High-speed evolution observed in daphnia
High-speed evolution observed in daphnia
Daphnia, also known as water fleas, play an important role in the food web of lakes: they feed on phytoplankton and are eaten by predators such as fish. Their food resources show marked seasonal variation: in eutrophic waters, the summer is particularly challenging for daphnia, as the phytoplankton community is dominated by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), which are of poor nutritional quality and often contain toxins.

Environment - Health - 07.10.2019
The impact of ambient air pollution on hospital admissions
Air pollution is the centre of debate on many fronts, from air protection measures involving road traffic, to technological innovations to reduce harmful emissions.

Materials Science - Environment - 07.10.2019
The Wood Paradox
The Wood Paradox
It can be deformed as required and is three times stronger than natural wood: the wood material developed by Marion Frey, Tobias Keplinger and Ingo Burgert at Empa and ETH Zurich has the potential to become a high-tech material. In the process, the researchers remove precisely the part of the wood that gives it its stability in nature: lignin.
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