News 2019

« BACK

Environment



Results 81 - 100 of 113.


Life Sciences - Environment - 25.04.2019
Alternative to animal experiments: Fish cell test internationally certified
Alternative to animal experiments: Fish cell test internationally certified
In 2017, more than 7,500 ecotoxicological tests were carried out on fish in Switzerland alone with the aim of protecting humans, animals and the environment. For many years, Eawag has been researching alternatives in order to reduce or even replace fish experiments. One of these alternatives involves experiments with a gill cell line of rainbow trout (RTgill W1 cell line), which can be used to reliably determine the acute toxicity of water samples and many chemicals to fish.

Environment - 25.04.2019
EPFL helps revitalize Sarine River habitats downstream of Rossens dam
EPFL helps revitalize Sarine River habitats downstream of Rossens dam
Researchers at EPFL conducted a large-scale experiment downstream of Rossens arch dam, employing a laboratory-developed method to successfully preserve wildlife habitats.  The absence of natural flood events means that, downstream of dams, rivers always flow at the same rate. The channel bed silts up as time passes, and the lack of sediment replenishment degrades fish and invertebrate habitats and causes species diversity to decline.  Until recently, this very fate had befallen the Sarine River downstream of the Rossens arch dam in Fribourg Canton.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.04.2019
Remarkable biodiversity in Swiss rivers
Remarkable biodiversity in Swiss rivers
Switzerland's rivers harbour a unique biodiversity. From 2013 to 2018 - in order to assess this diversity in more detail for the first time - scientists from the Fish Ecology & Evolution department systematically collected fish samples (in September and October in each case) from hundreds of rivers and streams.

Materials Science - Environment - 15.04.2019
The wood magician
The new head of Empa's Cellulose & Wood Materials lab, Gustav Nyström, has taken everyone by surprise by setting unconventional goals. However, paper batteries and nanocellulose sensors have one main objective: to help solve fundamental, socially relevant questions. When Gustav Nyström sees a tree, he sees more than just a biological marvel.

Environment - Computer Science / Telecom - 15.04.2019
Algorithms to enhance forest inventories
An EPFL doctoral student has come up with methods to map out forests more effectively using aerial remote sensing, in support of on-the-ground forest inventories. Forests are an essential component of the world's ecosystems and a key indicator of our planet's health. They provide valuable resources - like wood for construction and heating - and they filter rainwater, protect against erosion and avalanches, and can be used for numerous leisure pursuits.

Environment - 11.04.2019
Interplay of Pollinators and Pests Influences Plant Evolution
Interplay of Pollinators and Pests Influences Plant Evolution
Brassica rapa plants pollinated by bumblebees evolve more attractive flowers. But this evolution is compromised if caterpillars attack the plant at the same time. With the bees pollinating them less effectively, the plants increasingly self-pollinate. In a greenhouse evolution experiment, scientists at the University of Zurich have shown just how much the effects of pollinators and pests influence each other.

Environment - 09.04.2019
The oldest ice on Earth may be able to solve the puzzle of the planet's climate history
The oldest ice on Earth may be able to solve the puzzle of the planet’s climate history
A European research consortium, in which the University of Bern is involved in, wants to drill a 1.5 million year old ice core in Antarctica. An analysis of the climate data stored in the ice should contribute to a better understanding of the alternation between warm and cold periods. As part of the EU project "Beyond EPICA - Oldest Ice", experts from 14 institutions located in 10 European countries have spent three years combing the Antarctic ice sheet to find the ideal location to retrieve the oldest ice core on the Earth.

Materials Science - Environment - 02.04.2019
Rotten to the core
Rotten to the core
Fungi that decompose tree trunks can conjure up real works of art in wood. In nature, however, the decay-causing fungi not only decorate the tree, but also destroy it. Empa researchers are now teaching the fungi how to draw. The result: upscale marbled wood that can be processed into design furniture or musical instruments.

Environment - Life Sciences - 02.04.2019
Excessive levels of plant protection products in small streams
Excessive levels of plant protection products in small streams
Between March and October 2017, samples collected from five small streams with catchment areas subject to a variety of agricultural uses were analysed for plant protection products. The Eawag and Ecotox Centre scientists were assisted by five cantons and the Water Quality Platform of the Swiss Water Association (VSA).

Environment - 01.04.2019
Climate Change Threat to Dolphins' Survival
Climate Change Threat to Dolphins’ Survival
An unprecedented marine heatwave had long-lasting negative impacts on both survival and birth rates on the iconic dolphin population in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Researchers at UZH have now documented that climate change may have more far-reaching consequences for the conservation of marine mammals than previously thought.

Environment - 26.03.2019
Hurricanes going astray make for heavy rainfall in Europe
Hurricanes going astray make for heavy rainfall in Europe
Tropical storms that move poleward influence the weather in Europe much more than previously supposed. A study from the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks at the University of Bern shows that the probability of heavy rainfall is twice as high when mid-latitude weather is disrupted by cyclones. These findings could ensure better extreme weather forecasts in the future.

Life Sciences - Environment - 26.03.2019
Seeds inherit memories from their mother
Seeds inherit memories from their mother
UNIGE researchers demonstrate that maternal and environmental control of seed dormancy is carried out through novel epigenetic mechanisms. Seeds remain in a dormant state - a temporary blockage of their germination - as long as environmental conditions are not ideal for germination. The depth of this sleep, which is influenced by various factors, is inherited from their mother, as researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, had previously shown.

Environment - 26.03.2019
Getting into murky waters: Blue-green algae produce toxic cocktail
Getting into murky waters: Blue-green algae produce toxic cocktail
Between spring and autumn, when the lakes warm up and the concentration of nutrients increases, all around the world blue-green algae are proliferating en masse. Switzerland is no exception, with the algae occurring in lakes such as the Baldeggersee or Greifensee. This may be problematical, as some blue-green algae, known scientifically as cyanobacteria, produce toxic substances.

Environment - 26.03.2019
Getting into murky waters: Blue-green algae produce cocktail of potential toxins
Getting into murky waters: Blue-green algae produce cocktail of potential toxins
Between spring and autumn, when the lakes warm up and the concentration of nutrients increases, all around the world blue-green algae are proliferating en masse. Switzerland is no exception, with the algae occurring in lakes such as the Baldeggersee or Greifensee. This may be problematical, as some blue-green algae, known scientifically as cyanobacteria, produce toxic substances.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 18.03.2019
Researchers make a key discovery on how alpine streams work
Researchers make a key discovery on how alpine streams work
An EPFL study has showed that until now, scientists have been substantially underestimating how quickly gases are exchanged between mountain streams and the atmosphere. Based on research in the Swiss cantons of Vaud and Valais, an EPFL laboratory has shed new light on the role of mountain streams to emit greenhouse gases.

Environment - 07.03.2019
The deep Southern Ocean is key to more intense ice ages
The deep Southern Ocean is key to more intense ice ages
Over the last million years, ice ages have intensified and lengthened. According to a study led by the University of Bern, this previously unexplained climate transition coincides with a diminution of the mixing between deep and surface waters in the Southern Ocean. The study confirms that the Antarctic region plays a crucial role during periods of climate change.

Environment - 04.03.2019
Agriculture impacts aquatic macroinvertebrates more than wastewater
Agriculture impacts aquatic macroinvertebrates more than wastewater
Community wastewater treatment plants and agricultural practices are the primary sources of pollution in rivers and streams, and affect aquatic communities. Substances such as traces of pharmaceuticals, nutrients, biocides, resistant bacteria and heavy metals find their way into the watercourses from wastewater treatment plants, while agriculture is primarily responsible for inputs of plant treatment agents, fine sediments and nutrients.

Innovation - Environment - 27.02.2019
Building digitally, living digitally
Building digitally, living digitally
DFAB HOUSE has officially opened today on the NEST building of Empa and Eawag in Dübendorf. It is the world's first inhabited "house" that was not only digitally planned, but also - with the help of robots and 3D printers - built largely digitally. The construction technologies were developed by ETH Zurich researchers in collaboration with industrial partners.

Environment - Life Sciences - 26.02.2019
Evolution and the tipping points of ecosystems
Evolution and the tipping points of ecosystems
Since the 20th century, observations have been made all over the world of shallow lakes which remain clear for years despite increasing nutrient inputs, but then abruptly transition to being turbid - and remain in this state for years beyond when nutrient inputs are reduced. Clear lake becomes turbid "Shallow lakes are a textbook example of tipping points in ecosystems", says Blake Matthews from the Department of Fish Ecology and Evolution at the aquatic research institute Eawag.

Environment - Life Sciences - 20.02.2019
Floating research station to illuminate Lake Geneva
Floating research station to illuminate Lake Geneva
Our lakes are unique resources for us and for nature, providing water for drinking and irrigation, habitats for fish, plants and small animals, and space for relaxation and fun. But these sensitive ecosystems are under pressure. In addition to the problems associated with changing land use and inputs of nutrients and pollutants, climate change is also affecting the lakes in our Alpine regions.