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Environment - 07.09.2020
A difficult year for forests, fields and meadows
A difficult year for forests, fields and meadows
The warm, dry summer of 2018 has left clear traces in various ecosystems. ETH Zurich researchers have found that if the climate continues to warm up, higher altitudes can also expect negative consequences in the future. It was - once again - an unusually hot year: in 2018, large parts of Europe were beset by an extremely hot and dry summer.

Environment - 27.08.2020
Protecting estuarine cities from rising sea levels
Protecting estuarine cities from rising sea levels
As climate change raises sea levels, estuarine cities are facing up to the dual threat of flooding and significant erosion. Research by a joint team from EPFL and the UNSW Sydney sheds new light on the hydrodynamic forces at play and paves the way for preventive strategies. Almost 60% of the global population lives near an estuary, and the list of estuarine cities features 21 of the world's 30 biggest urban centers, including New York and Tokyo.

Environment - Materials Science - 27.08.2020
Mini power plants from coated blue-green algae
Mini power plants from coated blue-green algae
Blue-green algae are among the oldest living creatures on Earth and have perfected the use of sunlight over billions of years. Empa scientists have now equipped these humble unicellular organisms with semiconductor coatings to create mini power plants, which supply biofuels and are photocatalytically active in sunlight.

Life Sciences - Environment - 26.08.2020
Explosive diversification explained by network analysis
Explosive diversification explained by network analysis
Using genomic analyses of 100 cichlid species, scientists from Eawag and the University Bern, together with co-workers in Australia, the UK, Tanzania, Uganda and the US, have investigated the striking variation observed in cichlid fish speciation rates. Their findings show that exchanges of genetic variants between existing species dramatically accelerate the development of new species - given favourable ecological conditions.

Environment - 24.08.2020
Climate change and land use are accelerating soil erosion by water
Climate change and land use are accelerating soil erosion by water
Soil loss due to water runoff could increase greatly around the world over the next 50 years due to climate change and intensive land cultivation. This was the conclusion of an international team of researchers led by the University of Basel, which published the results from its model calculation in the scientific journal PNAS.

Environment - 20.08.2020
Anthropogenic CO2 increase is unprecedented
Anthropogenic CO2 increase is unprecedented
Even in earlier warm periods there were pulse-like releases of CO2 to the atmosphere. Today's anthropogenic CO2 rise, however, is more than six times larger and almost ten times faster than previous jumps in the CO2 concentration. This is the conclusion reached by a European research team led by the University of Bern.

Career - Environment - 17.08.2020

Environment - 14.08.2020
Even small-scale solutions are affordable
Even small-scale solutions are affordable
How should Europe organise its renewable energy supply network - on a continental, national or regional level? It's a controversial issue. A Swiss-German research team has analysed the costs and technical feasibility of supply networks of various sizes. The European Union aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, and is relying largely on renewable electricity to reach this goal.

Environment - 13.08.2020
Restoration helps forests recover faster
Restoration helps forests recover faster
Actively restored forests recover above ground biomass faster than areas left to regenerate naturally after being logged, according to a long-term study on Borneo lowland rainforest led by the University of Dundee, Aberdeen and ETH Zurich.  The rainforests of Southeast Asia are among the fastest declining tropical ecosystems worldwide.

Environment - 05.08.2020
New Guinea Has the World's Richest Island Flora
New Guinea Has the World’s Richest Island Flora
New Guinea is the most floristically diverse island in the world, an international collaboration led by the University of Zurich has shown. The study presents a list of almost 14,000 plant species, compiled from online catalogues and verified by plant experts. The results are invaluable for research and conservation, and also underline the importance of expert knowledge in the digital era.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.07.2020
Predicting the Biodiversity of Rivers
Predicting the Biodiversity of Rivers
Biodiversity and thus the state of river ecosystems can now be predicted by combining environmental DNA with hydrological methods, researchers from the University of Zurich and Eawag have found. Using the river Thur as an example, the approach allows areas requiring conservation to be identified in order to initiate protective measures.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.07.2020
New map for radioactive soil contamination in Western Europe
New map for radioactive soil contamination in Western Europe
An international consortium of scientists has refined the map of caesium and plutonium radionuclide concentrations in soils in Switzerland and several neighbouring countries. Using an archive of European soil samples, the team led by Katrin Meusburger from the University of Basel, now at the WSL research institute, was able to trace the sources of radioactive fallout between 1960 and 2009.

Environment - Life Sciences - 14.07.2020
Bird Diversity in the Swiss Alps in Decline
Bird Diversity in the Swiss Alps in Decline
The diversity of bird communities in the Swiss Alps is declining more and more, a joint study of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Ornithological Institute has found. An analysis of data from the past two decades has revealed a loss of functional and compositional diversity in Alpine bird communities.

Environment - Computer Science - 10.07.2020
Counting wheat heads for more ecology
Counting wheat heads for more ecology
To Achim Walter it's clear: the budding artificial intelligence will decisively advance agroecology. But before we can harvest the fruits of AI, computers still have a lot to learn. Over-fertilised fields, compacted soils, greenhouse gases and insect death - the list of problems in agroecology is both old and long.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.07.2020
1.5 Billion People Will Depend on Water from Mountains
1.5 Billion People Will Depend on Water from Mountains
Global water consumption has increased almost fourfold in the past 100 years, and many regions can only meet their water demand thanks to essential contributions from mountain regions.

Environment - Life Sciences - 07.07.2020
Evolutionary physiology and adaptation in the moor frog
Evolutionary physiology and adaptation in the moor frog
Organisms exposed to challenging environments face evolutionary pressure to adapt, which could lead to modifications in a variety of traits, such as morphology, physiology and behaviour. Katja Räsänen from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology Eawag holds a deep interest in mechanisms of adaptation in natural populations.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 01.07.2020
First exposed planetary core discovered
First exposed planetary core discovered
Researchers led by the University of Warwick have discovered the first exposed core of an exoplanet, which provides an unprecedented glimpse inside the interior of a planet. Christoph Mordasini from the University of Bern is leading the theoretical interpretation of this discovery. The newly discovered exoplanet TOI 849 b offers the unique opportunity to peer inside the interior of a planet and learn about its composition.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.07.2020
Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
This week, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Biology, which shows how even low doses of neonicotinoid insecticides, as they may realistically occur in contaminated soils, adversely affect the development of black garden ants (Lasius niger).

Earth Sciences - Environment - 01.07.2020
Making geothermal energy safer through simulation
Making geothermal energy safer through simulation
Researchers from the Swiss Seismological Service SED and ETH Zurich are working with the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre CSCS to develop a way of utilising geothermal energy safely with the help of supercomputers. According to Switzerland's Energy Strategy 2050, the plan is for deep geothermal energy to contribute to the expansion of renewable energies in the country.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 30.06.2020
Climate change is altering terrestrial water availability
Climate change is altering terrestrial water availability
The amount and location of available terrestrial water is changing worldwide. An international research team led by ETH Zurich has now proved for the first time that human-induced climate change is responsible for the changes observed in available terrestrial water. Water is the lifeblood of ecosystems and one of the most important natural resources for human beings.