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Life Sciences - Environment - 24.02.2022
Legacy of extinct species is retained in genomes of their extant relatives
Legacy of extinct species is retained in genomes of their extant relatives
The carefully labelled paper bags look fairly plain, but they are actually a piece of luck for research. They contain historical scale samples, collected on a regular basis from all Lake Constance whitefish species by fisheries authorities for more than 100 years to determine age and growth rates. David Frei, from Eawag's Fish Ecology and Evolution Department, was able to extract genetic material from these scales collected from whitefish that lived in Lake Constance around 90 years ago.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 11.02.2022
Studying clouds can provide deeper insight into climate change
Studying clouds can provide deeper insight into climate change
An international team of scientists conducted CALISHTO, a large-scale air measurement campaign in Greece last fall, with the goal of surveying, counting and characterizing the tiny particles and their impact on cloud formation. The goal is to incorporate this information in climate models for improved predictions of clouds, precipitation and climate.

Environment - Health - 11.02.2022
Multi-Insecticide Resistant Malaria Vectors Remain Susceptible to Malathion Insecticide
Multi-Insecticide Resistant Malaria Vectors Remain Susceptible to Malathion Insecticide
Insecticide resistant mosquitoes are a growing concern in malaria control. A study conducted by Swiss TPH and partners raises hope that multi-resistant malaria vectors remain largely susceptible to the insecticide malathion. By studying field mosquito populations in Côte d'Ivoire, the authors found that genes which cause resistance to the widely used pyrethroid insecticides likely increase susceptibility to malathion.

Environment - Materials Science - 11.02.2022
Solar and wind power are key to decarbonising Switzerland
Solar and wind power are key to decarbonising Switzerland
A team from the UNIGE and Empa demonstrate that a mix of photovoltaic and wind power is optimal for reducing the carbon footprint of Swiss electricity consumption . How can we reduce the carbon footprint of electricity consumption in Switzerland? The country relies on electricity imports from fossil fuel power plants, which are major emitters of greenhouse gases.

Environment - Computer Science - 09.02.2022
Artificial intelligence and big data can help preserve wildlife
Artificial intelligence and big data can help preserve wildlife
A team of experts in artificial intelligence and animal ecology have put forth a new, cross-disciplinary approach intended to enhance research on wildlife species and make more effective use of the vast amounts of data now being collected thanks to new technology. Their study appears today. The field of animal ecology has entered the era of big data and the Internet of Things.

Environment - 08.02.2022
Arctic Winter Warming Causes Cold Damage in the Subtropics of East Asia
Arctic Winter Warming Causes Cold Damage in the Subtropics of East Asia
Due to climate change, Arctic winters are getting warmer. An international study by researchers shows that Arctic warming causes temperature anomalies and cold damage thousands of kilometers away in East Asia. This in turn leads to reduced vegetation growth, later blossoming, smaller harvests and reduced CO2 absorption by the forests in the region.

Environment - Social Sciences - 08.02.2022
Citizen Science: Knowledge as a weapon in the fight for clean water
Citizen Science: Knowledge as a weapon in the fight for clean water
There is too much nickel, too much arsenic and far too much manganese. The research project by Désirée Ruppen, who is doing her doctorate at the aquatic research institute Eawag and the ETH Zurich, provides watertight proof for the first time of what everyone on the ground already knew. The Deka River in the Hwange district is heavily polluted by coal mining and the coal-fired power plant, and is a serious health risk for the people who drink its water or fish in it.

Innovation - Environment - 07.02.2022
Making installed train windows permeable to mobile-phone signals
Making installed train windows permeable to mobile-phone signals
EPFL spin-off nu glass has successfully tested a portable system that makes the window panes on railcars permeable to mobile communications. This can bring significant environmental and cost benefits to railway companies and mobile-phone operators, since they'll no longer have to install signal boosters to provide wireless connectivity for passengers.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 02.02.2022
The last ice age widened the Aare and Gürbe valleys
The last ice age widened the Aare and Gürbe valleys
A team led by the University of Bern was able to proof that the glaciers of the penultimate ice age ('Riss' glaciation) mainly eroded the bedrock between Thun and Bern, but that during the last glaciation (' Würm'- glaciation) glacial carving resulted in a widening and not in a further deepening of the valleys.

Life Sciences - Environment - 01.02.2022
Revealing the genetic code of Europe's species diversity
Revealing the genetic code of Europe’s species diversity
Like a building plan, reference genomes provide a nearly complete genetic code of an organism, acting as a representative example of the entire species. "Comparisons of other genome sequence data with such a reference genome allow, for example, to describe in detail the variety of genetic differences amongst individuals of a species," explains Philine Feulner, Group Leader of the Department of Fish Ecology and Evolution at Eawag.

Chemistry - Environment - 26.01.2022
Getting hydrogen out of banana peels
Getting hydrogen out of banana peels
Scientists at EPFL have developed a way to maximize hydrogen yields from biowaste, within few milliseconds. The method uses rapid photo-pyrolysis to produce hydrogen gas and solid conductive carbon from banana peels. As the world's energy demands increase, so does our consumption of fossil fuels. The result is a massive rise in greenhouse gases emissions with severely adverse environmental effects.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 25.01.2022
Plastic snowfall in the Alps
Plastic snowfall in the Alps
In a large-scale fundraising campaign, popular YouTubers like Mister Beast and Mark Rober are currently trying to rid the oceans of almost 14,000 tonnes of plastic waste. That's about 0.15 per cent of the amount that ends up in the oceans every year. But it's not just our waters that are full of plastic.

Environment - 24.01.2022
Deforestation-free and carbon-negative alternatives for palm oil
Deforestation-free and carbon-negative alternatives for palm oil
A team of scientists from EPFL and Switzerland's WSL research institute has studied the conversion of savannas into oil palm plantations as a deforestation-free way of growing these plantations. What's more, if improved management practices are adopted at the plantation scale, then the net carbon balance could be enhanced and a great leap could be made towards reducing the environmental impact of palm oil.

Environment - 20.01.2022
Climate protection in the wastewater treatment arena
Climate protection in the wastewater treatment arena
Wastewater treatment plants (WTP) place a greater burden on the climate than was previously thought. They generate greenhouse gases at various processing stages and, in total, account for over one per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland. In the case of N2O (nitrous oxide), which is particularly harmful to the climate and the ozone layer, they account for a massive 20 per cent or so of total emissions.

Environment - Chemistry - 18.01.2022
Remove micropollutants with granular activated carbon?
Remove micropollutants with granular activated carbon?
For the elimination of trace substances at wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), granular activated carbon (GAC) is also available as an alternative treatment option to ozonation and the powdered activated carbon process (PAC). In contrast to the high energy consumption in ozonation (electrical energy to generate ozone and liquid oxygen), the energy-intensive production and CO2-footprint of carbon (starting raw materials, process energy) have an impact on activated carbon treatment.

Environment - Psychology - 17.01.2022
Inciting instead of coercing, 'nudges' prove their effectiveness
Inciting instead of coercing, ’nudges’ prove their effectiveness
A team from the UNIGE demonstrates that certain soft incentive techniques, known as «nudges», are effective in getting people to change their behaviour. To get through challenges such as the pandemic or the climate change, citizens must change their habits and behaviors. But how can this be achieved without resorting to coercive measures? The answer to this question may be the «nudges» that have been gaining popularity over the last decade.

Chemistry - Environment - 10.01.2022
It all comes down to the first electron
It all comes down to the first electron
Every living thing requires energy. This is also true of microorganisms. This energy is frequently generated in the cells by respiration, that is by the combustion of organic compounds, in other words: food. During this process, electrons are released which the microorganisms then need to get rid of.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.12.2021
The climate system relies on microscopic particles
Scientists from EPFL and the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO) have discovered a new source of organic phosphorus that is fertilizing remote marine ecosystems via atmospheric particles. This finding could help researchers better understand how marine ecosystems respond to climate change.

Environment - 09.12.2021
Fish inventory in 35 lakes completed
Fish inventory in 35 lakes completed
In the "Projet Lac" research project, 35 lakes in the Alpine region were systematically examined for their fish populations for the first time: In Switzerland alone, 106 fish species were detected. With almost 20 percent of all known fish species in Europe, Switzerland is one of the hotspots for fish species diversity.

Environment - 08.12.2021
A holistic approach to protect biodiversity on land and in the water
A holistic approach to protect biodiversity on land and in the water
Biodiversity is now declining at a rate unprecedented in human history, from the local to the global level, threatening not least human well-being. Rapid action is needed, which in turn requires a good understanding of biodiversity. However, a stark division between disciplines and ecosystems in ecological research is hampering holistic solutions, argue the authors of the first synthesis article to emerge from the Blue-Green Biodiversity (BGB) research initiative.

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