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Environment - Life Sciences - 05.10.2021
The role of adaptive evolution in ecosystem collapse and recovery
The role of adaptive evolution in ecosystem collapse and recovery
Evolution plays a crucial role in ecosystem tipping points, as shown in two recently published studies by researchers. If this influence is taken into account, ecosystem collapses can be better predicted in the future. At the same time, the studies reveal how the risk of ecosystem collapse can be reduced and the chances of recovery increased.

Transport - Environment - 04.10.2021
Transport pricing in practice
Transport pricing in practice
In the largest worldwide pricing experiment to date, researchers have demonstrated that road users change their behavior when they must pay for the social and environmental effects of their transportation. The study was led by researchers from the University of Basel, ETH Zurich and ZHAW. Transportation causes a variety of costs that individual road users do not have to pay themselves.

Environment - Psychology - 30.09.2021
Successfully introducing innovations
Although the consequences of climate change are becoming more and more visible and tangible, the transition to climate-friendly energy systems is only proceeding slowly. In a field experiment, Eawag and the University of Groningen (NL) investigated what kind of measures could be used to better promote innovations such as heat pumps.

Environment - 30.09.2021
Commercially viable production of climate-neutral plastic is possible
By cleverly combining different technologies, manufacturers can produce plastic that is climate neutral over its entire life cycle. A new study by an international team of researchers has shown that this combination requires less energy than alternatives and costs the same - or even less. Since the early 1950s, plastics have found their way into almost every area of modern life.

Environment - 29.09.2021
How mercury gets into the sea
How mercury gets into the sea
Mercury released into the atmosphere by industry enters the sea and from there makes its way into the food chain. Now, an analysis by the University of Basel has revealed how the harmful substance enters seawater in the first place. This is not primarily via rainfall, as previously assumed, but rather also involves gas exchange.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 27.09.2021
Geologically vibrant continents produce higher biodiversity
Using a new mechanistic model of evolution on Earth, researchers at ETH Zurich can now better explain why the rainforests of Africa are home to fewer species than the tropical forests of South America and Southeast Asia. The key to high species diversity lies in how dynamically the continents have evolved over time.

Life Sciences - Environment - 24.09.2021
The defensive arsenal of plant roots
The defensive arsenal of plant roots
A team from the University of Geneva has discovered the mechanisms that regulate the formation of the protective layer of plant roots. Plants adapt to their nutritional needs by modifying the permeability of their roots through the production or degradation of a cork-like layer called suberin. By studying the regulation of this protective layer in Arabidopsis thaliana , an international team, led by scientists from the University of Geneva , Switzerland, has discovered four molecular factors responsible for the genetic activation of suberin.

Life Sciences - Environment - 23.09.2021
A Glimpse into the ocean's biological carbon pump
A Glimpse into the ocean’s biological carbon pump
Oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through microscopic algae that carry out photosynthesis and then sink to the deep sea when they die. This sinking enhances the degradation processes, as researchers have now discovered. Oceans play a key role in the global carbon dioxide balance. This is because billions of tiny algae live there, absorbing carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and incorporating it into their biomass.

Environment - 17.09.2021
Fibres make chaotic turbulence more predictable
Fibres make chaotic turbulence more predictable
The chaotic behaviour of vortices is one of the things that makes weather forecasting so difficult. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now developed a novel experimental method that enables more accurate analyses of the movement of turbulence in fluids. Turbulence is one of the most important and at the same time one of the least understood phenomena in nature.

Environment - Career - 09.09.2021
Reusing shower water
Reusing shower water
An Eawag study has shown that it makes good sense to recover domestic energy, for example from warm shower water. The study refutes concerns that this form of heat utilisation could have a negative impact on waste water treatment plants. In fact, utilising the energy closer to its source reduces energy losses in the waste-water system.

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.08.2021
Recreating biology in computer language
Recreating biology in computer language
Toxic substances in the environment can harm the nervous system of fish embryos. Now, researchers at Eawag have developed a computer model that helps to better understand how the damage occurs. Every day, a large number of synthetic chemicals enter streams, lakes and sometimes even drinking water via various pathways.

Environment - 12.08.2021
Water management: Deciding despite uncertainties
Water management: Deciding despite uncertainties
How can research support decisions in water management practice, even if much is still uncertain? When managing rivers, for example, the forecasts of what consequences various measures will have are often fraught with uncertainties. It is also not always clear which status is to be achieved in the end with river revitalisation projects, because different stakeholders sometimes pursue different goals, such as recreation, nature conservation, flood protection, fishing or energy generation - and therefore assess possible outcomes in contradictory ways.

Environment - 02.08.2021
Manganese could make luminescent materials and the conversion of sunlight more sustainable
Manganese could make luminescent materials and the conversion of sunlight more sustainable
University of Basel researchers have reached an important milestone in their quest to produce more sustainable luminescent materials and catalysts for converting sunlight into other forms of energy. Based on the cheap metal manganese, they have developed a new class of compounds with promising properties that until now have primarily been found in noble metal compounds.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 29.07.2021
Small force, big effect: How the planets could influence the sun
Small force, big effect: How the planets could influence the sun
A new theory supports the controversial hypothesis that the planets affect solar activity. It puts forward a mechanism by which the very small influence of the planets could exert its rhythm on such a large system as the Sun. If the theory is confirmed, it could possibly be used to predict solar activity more accurately.

Environment - Innovation - 28.07.2021
Towards a more affordable analysis of air pollution
Towards a more affordable analysis of air pollution
Scientists have developed a new method for chemical analysis of fine particles that they plan to extend on a large scale - including in developing countries - through an Innosuisse innovation grant award and a new startup. Satoshi Takahama and Nikunj Dudani, two scientists at EPFL's Laboratory of Atmospheric Processes and their Impacts (LAPI), have developed an innovative system that could replace the array of instruments typically used to measure air quality by a single device small enough to fit in a carry-on bag.

Environment - Politics - 23.07.2021
Water resources: defusing conflict, promoting cooperation
Water resources: defusing conflict, promoting cooperation
The EU funded project DAFNE has developed a methodology for avoiding conflicts of use in transboundary rivers. The model-based procedure allows for participatory planning and cooperative management of water resources. The aim is now for the DAFNE methodology to be implemented in other regions of the world.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 19.07.2021
1,200 new glacial lakes discovered
1,200 new glacial lakes discovered
A comprehensive inventory of Swiss glacial lakes shows how the lake landscape in the high mountains has changed since the end of the Little Ice Age. Due to climate change, the glaciers of the Alps are melting. When the sometimes huge ice fields retreat, they often leave behind depressions and natural dams in the exposed landscape.

Environment - Research Management - 15.07.2021
Open access to Eawag's research results
Open access to Eawag’s research results
Open Science is an important development in science - open access to the results of research. Eawag supports these and makes a growing part of its research data, including descriptions, images and even software, available publicly and free of charge on the Eawag platform ERIC or, in special cases, on discipline-specific, international databases.

Environment - 14.07.2021
Planting oats to study the effects of air pollution
Planting oats to study the effects of air pollution
A team of scientists turned Bois-Chamblard park in Buchillon, on Lake Geneva, into a temporary research station for collecting experimental data. Their goal is to better understand how anthropogenic air pollution affects plant growth. What role does air pollution play in plant growth? That's the question a cross-disciplinary team of scientists has set out to answer.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 08.07.2021
Reforestation may help mitigate droughts
Reforestation may help mitigate droughts
Based on observational data from Europe, climate researchers from ETH Zurich have shown for the first time that forests lead to a rise in precipitation. Their analyses also revealed that if the available agricultural land were reforested, the amount of precipitation in Europe could increase by more than 7 percent.

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