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Health - Environment - 15.05.2019
How your clothes influence the air you breathe
How your clothes influence the air you breathe
Researchers have taken a critical look at how much we really know about our exposure to particles and chemicals transported by our clothing. His study concludes that further research is needed and opens up new areas of investigation. There is growing evidence that our clothing exposes us to particles and chemicals on a daily basis - and that this exposure could carry significant health risks.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.05.2019
Fascinating microorganisms in perialpine lakes
Fascinating microorganisms in perialpine lakes
The lakes in the perialpine regions of Europe are home to a particular community of cyanobacteria which Marie-Eve Monchamp investigated in connection with her doctoral thesis at Eawag. "We collected sediment cores from ten lakes in Switzerland, Italy and France, and analysed the cyanobacterial DNA extracted from these cores", she explains.

Environment - Materials Science - 13.05.2019
Microplastics in freshwaters
Microplastics in freshwaters
Sea birds dying in agony with a belly full of plastic garbage; plastic accumulations as big as islands: Virtually everyone has seen pictures like these today. But there are also plastic particles that are barely visible to the eye - microplastics. The danger posed by these tiny particles has hardly been researched to date.

Health - Environment - 13.05.2019
Daily doses of vitamin D are unreachable during Swiss winter
Daily doses of vitamin D are unreachable during Swiss winter
A study funded by the SNSF shows that in winter, weak sunlight prevents the Swiss population from producing sufficient levels of vitamin D. Too much sun increases the risk of skin cancer. But moderate exposure is required to produce vitamin D. This substance is essential for bone health and may also play a role in preventing respiratory infections, autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancer.

Environment - Innovation / Technology - 09.05.2019
Building-integrated photovoltaics: aesthetic, efficient and widely accepted
Building-integrated photovoltaics: aesthetic, efficient and widely accepted
Within the scope of National Research Programme "Energy Turnaround" (NRP 70), researchers studied photovoltaic systems integrated into the roofs and façades (BIPV) of existing buildings from the point of view of aesthetic, ecological and economic criteria. Their findings: all developers and architects could use this technology for the renovation of existing buildings.

Social Sciences - Environment - 02.05.2019
The Quiet Loss of Knowledge Threatens Indigenous Communities
The Quiet Loss of Knowledge Threatens Indigenous Communities
Most of the knowledge that indigenous communities in South America have about plants is not written down. Now, ecologists have analyzed comprehensive information about the services provided by palm trees from multiple regions and made it accessible via a network approach. What they also discovered in the process was that the simultaneous loss of biodiversity and knowledge represents a key threat to the survival of indigenous peoples.

Environment - Electroengineering - 26.04.2019
Using 60% less water in paper production
Using 60% less water in paper production
An EPFL researcher has developed a mathematical model for optimizing heat transfer in factories and dramatically reducing water and energy consumption. The model could, in theory, cut water use by 60% at a Canadian paper mill and allow the facility to produce as much as six times more power. Manufacturing consumer goods requires vast quantities of water, heat and electricity.

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.

Life Sciences - Environment - 15.04.2019
Necrophagy: a means of survival in the Dead Sea
Necrophagy: a means of survival in the Dead Sea
UNIGE researchers have found that bacteria can survive in the sediments of the Dead Sea at a depth of over 400 metres in spite of extreme conditions. Studying organic matter in sediments helps shed light on the distant past. What was the climate like? What organisms populated the Earth? What conditions did they live in? Researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and the University of Lyon, France, have examined the sediments in the Dead Sea, where the salinity is without compare, making it one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

Environment - 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.
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