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Environment - Life Sciences - 20.04.2023
Centralized database helps scientists better understand coral reefs
Centralized database helps scientists better understand coral reefs
Coral reefs are under a growing threat from climate change and human activity, making it more important than ever to understand their strengths and vulnerabilities. A team of scientists has now taken an important step in this direction with the new RECIFS open-access database on reef environments. The Reef Environment Centralized InFormation System ( RECIFS ) is a web application that provides a single repository of all datasets currently available on reef environments worldwide.

Environment - Innovation - 19.04.2023
Wood: A wild card for the energy transition
Wood: A wild card for the energy transition
Wood is a trump card for the energy transition because it is very versatile and easy to store. Compared to today, up to a third more energy could be obtained from wood, not only in the form of heat, but also in the form of electricity and fuels. However, current use is not efficient enough, Swiss bioenergy researchers have shown in a new report.

Environment - Microtechnics - 18.04.2023
Delicate, diligent, transient
Delicate, diligent, transient
Their task is to monitor the condition of ecosystems, for instance in the forest floor - and crumble to dust when their work is done: bio-gliders modeled on the Java cucumber, which sails its seeds dozens of meters through the air. researchers have developed these sustainable flying sensors from potato starch and wood waste.

Environment - 13.04.2023
Tracing mine accidents with satellite data
Tracing mine accidents with satellite data
Mining repeatedly causes water pollution, with devastating consequences for people and the environment. In the countries of the Global South, polluters often get away with it because the waters are seldom monitored and thus there is a lack of clear evidence. This is where the view from above can help: satellite data provides important evidence on the origin, spread and extent of such environmental disasters, as Désirée Ruppen shows as part of her doctoral thesis.

Environment - 11.04.2023
Wastewater treatment plants: On the trail of the climate pest nitrous oxide
Wastewater treatment plants: On the trail of the climate pest nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide is one of the main greenhouse gases and also contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer. One of the places where it is released is in wastewater treatment plants. A study has now investigated how much of this is due to the treatment of sludge liquid, which is to be expanded over the next few years.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 05.04.2023
The unexpected contribution of medieval monks to volcanology
The unexpected contribution of medieval monks to volcanology
By analysing medieval texts, an international team led by the University of Geneva has succeeded in precisely dating some of the largest eruptions in history. By observing the night sky, medieval monks unwittingly recorded some of history's largest volcanic eruptions. An international team of researchers, led by the University of Geneva , drew on readings of 12th and 13th century European and Middle Eastern chronicles, along with ice core and tree ring data, to accurately date some of the biggest volcanic eruptions the world has ever seen.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 03.04.2023
Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation was more stable than thought
Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation was more stable than thought
A study by the University of Bern concludes that at the end of the last ice age there was not, as previously assumed, a complete collapse of the ocean circulation in the Atlantic, which provide a mild climate in Europe. This realization has implications for the discussion on climate tipping points. The climate does not change linearly.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.04.2023
Emissions of banned ozone-destroying chemicals increasing
Emissions of banned ozone-destroying chemicals increasing
A new analysis has found rapidly increasing emissions between 2010 and 2020 of five ozone-depleting chemicals whose production for most uses had been banned under the Montreal Protocol. The emissions of these five chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, occur in part from leakage during the synthesis of ozone-friendly alternatives to CFCs.

Environment - 31.03.2023
Why are forests turning brown in summer?
Why are forests turning brown in summer?
Increasing summer heat and drought are affecting European forests - some years, trees brown prematurely and some even start to die back. Researchers from ETH Zurich and the WSL are showing how exceptional weather conditions over several years are turning forests brown. by Michael Keller (Photograph: Valentin Queloz / WSL) It was as though autumn had arrived in July.

Environment - 31.03.2023
What makes forests brown in summer
What makes forests brown in summer
Forests throughout Europe suffer increasingly from heat and drought in summer - in some years trees brown prematurely and sometimes even die completely. Researchers at ETH Zurich and WSL show how extreme weather conditions favor the browning of forests over several years . As if it were already autumn in July.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.03.2023
Climate Change Threatens Lemurs on Madagascar
Climate Change Threatens Lemurs on Madagascar
Mouse lemurs give birth to their offspring during the five-month rainy season and build up fat reserves to survive the dry season when food is scarce. But what happens when the rainy season becomes drier and the dry season warmer? Researchers at the German Primate Center - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research and the University of Zurich show that climate changes destabilize mouse lemur populations and increase the risk of extinction.

Environment - Life Sciences - 28.03.2023
Fish diversity documented in Switzerland's rivers
Fish diversity documented in Switzerland’s rivers
In a major survey of Swiss rivers and streams, more than 50 different fish species were recorded. For the first time, more than one species was also found in the case of smaller types of fish such as the bullhead. In "Progetto Fiumi", riverine fish were surveyed using standardised methods and both morphological and genetic characteristics were analysed.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.03.2023
Sensitive microorganisms in the stream benefit from forested banks
Sensitive microorganisms in the stream benefit from forested banks
A forest is crucial for life in streams, particularly in the catchment area and in the headwaters. Eawag researcher Rebecca Oester has quantified the extent of this influence of forests in the riparian zone and found a significant effect, particularly for sensitive species. This work shows once again how closely terrestrial and aquatic habitats are linked.

Environment - 23.03.2023
Climate change and nutrient fluctuations disrupt networks in lakes
Climate change and nutrient fluctuations disrupt networks in lakes
Thanks to a unique data set from ten Swiss lakes, an international team of researchers led by Eawag has succeeded in reconstructing entire ecological plankton networks and determining how they respond to climate change and phosphate levels. The results make one sit up and take notice. In most lakes, there are millions of small creatures that generally remain hidden from our eyes.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.03.2023
Following the water cycle in the forest
Following the water cycle in the forest
In the Forest Laboratory "Waldlabor" on Hönggerberg, researchers investigate the storage and transport processes of water in the forest. Recently they showed that forest-floor litter and deadwood have a far larger influence on the forest water balance than expected. The forest on Hönggerberg in the north of Zurich is both, a recreational space and a laboratory.

Environment - 21.03.2023
Lower energy consumption thanks to daylight-saving time
Lower energy consumption thanks to daylight-saving time
The abolition of daylight saving time is a frequently - and hotly - debated topic. Often, only the aspect of electricity consumption due to artificial lighting is considered. In a new study, researchers have analyzed whether daylight saving time also has an impact on the energy needed to heat and cool office buildings, and what role climate change might play in this.

Environment - 20.03.2023
Where should wind turbines be constructed in Switzerland?
Where should wind turbines be constructed in Switzerland?
A study by researchers at ETH Zurich shows for the first time how a relaxation of Swiss spatial planning policy would affect the locations of wind turbines. If the aim is to have as few wind turbines as possible in the Alps and in Switzerland in general, it would be worth considering using windy agricultural areas on the western Swiss Plateau.

Life Sciences - Environment - 16.03.2023
Genetics as a tool to protect endangered chimpanzees
Genetics as a tool to protect endangered chimpanzees
West African chimpanzees in Guinea are threatened by mining. Using a novel genetic approach, researchers together with an international team have collected information on the population size and community structure of the threatened species. These data provide an important basis for assessing the impact of mining .

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.03.2023
New maps chart our affective relationship with the local environment
New maps chart our affective relationship with the local environment
Researchers have studied Vernier, a city in the canton of Geneva, as the pilot site for an interactive map that explores our relationship with the built and natural environments. "Vernier is an odd place. You pass by oil storage tanks, an Ikea, and an airport - and then suddenly you're walking by cows, the Rhône, and little boats." That's how one resident describes what he sees on his daily walking commute.

Paleontology - Environment - 14.03.2023
Dwarf and giant species are most at risk of extinction
Dwarf and giant species are most at risk of extinction
Islands are biodiversity hotspots and are home to animal species with unique characteristics, including dwarf specimens, which have evolved to very small sizes compared to their mainland relatives, and giants. An international study now reports that these species are at higher risk of extinction. The findings are supported by software developed by Daniele Silvestro of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) at the University of Fribourg.
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