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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.

Environment - 14.03.2023
Despite some successes, the landscape remains under pressure
Despite some successes, the landscape remains under pressure
The population appreciates the landscape around it, but it continues to be under pressure. Without additional measures, the quality of the landscape as defined by the Federal Council in the Swiss Landscape Concept (SLC) will not be achieved.

Chemistry - Environment - 13.03.2023
Extreme nighttime pollution in New Delhi air explained
Extreme nighttime pollution in New Delhi air explained
In a major joint project with top Indian scientists, PSI researchers have determined why smog forms at night in the Indian capital New Delhi, contrary to all the rules of atmospheric chemistry. Their results have now been published in the journal Nature Geoscience . For the past three years, New Delhi has been ranked the world's most polluted capital.

Life Sciences - Environment - 07.03.2023
An internal thermometer tells the seeds when to germinate
An internal thermometer tells the seeds when to germinate
A team from the University of Geneva has discovered the mechanisms by which the seed decides to remain in 'hibernation' or to trigger its germination depending on the outside temperature. Germination is a crucial stage in the life of a plant as it will leave the stage of seed resistant to various environmental constraints (climatic conditions, absence of nutritive elements, etc.) to become a seedling much more vulnerable.

Environment - 06.03.2023
A wholly sustainable plastics economy is feasible
A wholly sustainable plastics economy is feasible
A new study shows what it will take for the plastics industry to become completely sustainable: lots of recycling combined with the use of CO2 from the air and biomass. It is also the image of plastics that need to change. Plastic is everywhere. Our society cannot do without it: plastics have numerous advantages, are extremely versatile, and are also cost effective.

Life Sciences - Environment - 03.03.2023
Philopatry versus dispersal in highly social animals
Philopatry versus dispersal in highly social animals
In group-living species, either the male or female offspring disperse from their natal territory at some stage. Researchers from the University of Bern and the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, unveiled in African cichlids which factors determine territory inheritance and emigration. It is a widespread tradition in human agricultural populations that either sons or daughters inherit the parental property; the other gender must emigrate.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 02.03.2023
Forest soils lose a lot of carbon after storm damage
Forest soils lose a lot of carbon after storm damage
Forest soils store large amounts of organic carbon. When storms devastate the forest, this carbon is lost and a large part enters the atmosphere as CO2. Mountain forests are particularly vulnerable to such carbon losses, shows a study by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

Environment - Life Sciences - 02.03.2023
Scientists monitor wildlife to boost preservation efforts
Scientists monitor wildlife to boost preservation efforts
To mark the tenth annual UN World Wildlife Day, we compiled a sample of EPFL research projects that are using technology to protect and preserve wildlife. Everywhere you look, biodiversity is under threat. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), wildlife populations have plummeted by 69% since 1970.

Environment - 01.03.2023
Scientists improve the accuracy of weather and climate models
Scientists from EPFL and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF have developed a program that improves the accuracy of a widely used weather forecasting model by incorporating surface phenomena that weren't previously taken into account. Given the challenges associated with climate change and the energy transition, it's essential for weather and climate forecasters to be able to accurately predict what happens to snowfall.

Environment - 20.02.2023
The complex interplay behind great heat
The complex interplay behind great heat
Many regions have suffered from heatwaves in recent years. But exactly how these form is still a matter of debate. Two researchers at ETH Zurich have now found a nuanced answer. Unusually hot weather in India and Pakistan at the end of March; a long, warmer-than-average summer in central Europe; extreme December temperatures in northern Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay: 2022 was definitely a year of heat waves.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.02.2023
Climate: lessons from the latest global warming
Climate: lessons from the latest global warming
By analysing sediments dating back to the global warming that happened 56 million years ago, a team from the University of Geneva is taking a new look at our climate future. PETM was marked by an increase in the seasonality and intensity of rainfall. This increased the mobility of river channels - the deepest areas of a river - and resulted in the transport of large quantities of fluvial clays deposited on adjacent alluvial plains to the deep ocean.
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