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Life Sciences - Environment - 02.06.2021
Microbial biodiversity has a new dimension
Microbial biodiversity has a new dimension
Microbes self-organise to grow into fascinating and complex patterns. The diversity of these patterns depends on a previously unknown factor, as researchers at Eawag have discovered. This might re-define how we view the concept of microbial biodiversity. The microbes in our gut help us digest food, and help us to defend against pathogens.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 01.06.2021
The waters of the Zambezi: time to act
The waters of the Zambezi: time to act
The Zambezi River Basin in southern Africa is a high-quality waterscape. But current rapid development threatens the waters of the Zambezi, particularly its tributaries. The challenge will be to ensure that mitigation measures keep up with population and economic growth to avoid degradation of water quality degradation.

Environment - Life Sciences - 28.05.2021
Online biomonitoring of WWTP wastewater
Online biomonitoring of WWTP wastewater
Treated wastewater can be continuously monitored online with the use of organisms. This gives operators of wastewater treatment plants and discharging industrial companies the ability to respond to acute pollution quickly. The Swiss Waters Protection Ordinance stipulates that substances that pollute water bodies as a result of human activity may not have any deleterious effects on the plants, animals and microorganisms living there or on how the water bodies are used.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 26.05.2021
Atmospheric inputs of nutrients to soil to decrease in the future
Atmospheric inputs of nutrients to soil to decrease in the future
The shift from fossil to renewable energy sources is essential for climate mitigation but will also significantly reduce the atmospheric input of the nutrients sulphur and selenium into soils. Sustainable solutions are therefore needed to supply intensively used agricultural soils with sufficient nutrients and to ensure a safe and healthy diet for the world's population.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.05.2021
Noble gases used to sniff out the pathways of the Emmental's groundwater
Noble gases used to sniff out the pathways of the Emmental’s groundwater
An Eawag researcher has helped to develop a new approach to tracking how river water enters the groundwater. In the test area within the Emmental, the flow time within the aquifer has been shown to be much shorter than previously assumed. This has potential consequences during dry spells. An Eawag researcher has helped to develop a new approach to tracking how river water enters the groundwater.

Environment - Life Sciences - 20.05.2021
Young Orangutans Have Sex-Specific Role Models
Young Orangutans Have Sex-Specific Role Models
Social learning in orangutans is shaped by their sex. Young males learn their foraging behavior from unrelated members of the group, while young females get their skills by observing their mothers. These different sets of ecological knowledge help secure their survival. Orangutans are closely related to humans.

Environment - Architecture - 18.05.2021
Rising energy demand for cooling
Rising energy demand for cooling
Climate-related temperature rises will further increase the cooling demand of buildings. A projection by researchers based on data from the NEST building and future climate scenarios for Switzerland shows that this increase in energy demand for cooling is likely to be substantial and could have a strong impact on our future - electrified - energy system.

Environment - 12.05.2021
Last ice age: colder than thought
Last ice age: colder than thought
The last ice age, about 20,000 years ago, was significantly colder than previously thought. This is shown for the first time by systematically analysed samples of groundwater collected around the globe and the inert gases dissolved in it. Swiss groundwater from Uster (ZH) also contributed to the results.

Environment - Life Sciences - 07.05.2021
The African Wild Dog: An Ambassador for the World's Largest Nature Reserve
The African Wild Dog: An Ambassador for the World’s Largest Nature Reserve
The world's largest nature conservation area lies in southern Africa, comprising 520,000 square kilometers that span five countries. A study has now shown that the critically endangered African wild dog mostly remains within the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) during its long periods of migration.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.05.2021
Flooding might triple in the mountains of Asia
Flooding might triple in the mountains of Asia
A team of Swiss and international climate scientists has shown that the risk of glacial lake outburst floods in the Himalayan region and the Tibetan plateau could triple in the coming decades. The "Third Pole" of the Earth, the high mountain ranges of Asia, bears the largest number of glaciers outside the polar regions.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 04.05.2021
Climate action potential in waste incineration plants
The climate action potential of carbon capture during the processing of biomass feedstock is considerable, ETH Zurich researchers have calculated. If this potential is to be fully exploited in practice, however, there are challenges to overcome.   Over the coming decades, our economy and society will need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions as called for in the Paris Agreement.

Environment - Life Sciences - 04.05.2021
Northern Red Sea corals pass heat stress test with flying colors
Northern Red Sea corals pass heat stress test with flying colors
Scientists are beginning to understand why corals in the Gulf of Aqaba, along with their symbiotic algae and bacteria, resist higher temperatures particularly well. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, most of the coral reef ecosystems on our planet - whether in Australia, the Maldives or the Caribbean - will have disappeared or be in very bad shape by the end of this century.

Environment - Life Sciences - 04.05.2021
Nanoplastics - an underestimated problem?
Nanoplastics - an underestimated problem?
The images leave no one cold: giant vortices of floating plastic trash in the world's oceans with sometimes devastating consequences for their inhabitants - the sobering legacy of our modern lifestyle. Weathering and degradation processes produce countless tiny particles that can now be detected in virtually all ecosystems.

Environment - 30.04.2021
New hydropower dam design tested at EPFL
New hydropower dam design tested at EPFL
A team of EPFL engineers has completed proof-of-concept tests for the new Massongex-Bex-Rhône hydropower dam. The tests, involving both a physical scale model and computer simulations, enabled the engineers to fine-tune their design. Engineers at EPFL's Platform of Hydraulic Constructions (PL-LCH) in Lausanne have just finished testing the design for the new Massongex-Bex-Rhône (MBR) hydropower dam.

Environment - 28.04.2021
Uncertainty of future Southern Ocean CO2 uptake cut in half
Uncertainty of future Southern Ocean CO2 uptake cut in half
The Southern Ocean dominates the oceanic uptake of human-made CO2. But how much carbon dioxide can it actually absorb in the future? This long-standing question remained unresolved as projections of different generation of climate models repeatedly showed a wide range of future Southern Ocean CO2 sink estimates.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 28.04.2021
Global glacier retreat has accelerated
Global glacier retreat has accelerated
An international research team including scientists from ETH Zurich has shown that almost all the world's glaciers are becoming thinner and losing mass' and that these changes are picking up pace. The team's analysis is the most comprehensive and accurate of its kind to date. Glaciers are a sensitive indicator of climate change - and one that can be easily observed.

Life Sciences - Environment - 21.04.2021
A portable device for taking DNA measurements in the field
A portable device for taking DNA measurements in the field
GenoRobotics is an interdisciplinary EPFL project to develop a portable, automated device for extracting and sequencing DNA in any type of environment. The project team hopes their invention will make it easier and faster to map our planet's biodiversity. Preserving the Earth's biodiversity is a crucial challenge.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 19.04.2021
Biodiversity on Swiss Farmland Recorded Nationwide for the First Time
Biodiversity on Swiss Farmland Recorded Nationwide for the First Time
Many plant and animal species depend on habitats shaped by agriculture. Where and with what frequency do which species occur in the agricultural landscape? What is the state of their habitats? How effective are the measures taken to increase biodiversity? Agroscope's biodiversity monitoring programme 'ALL-EMA' records species and habitat diversity in the Swiss agricultural landscape.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.04.2021
Biomass production in lakes becomes easier to de-termine
Biomass production in lakes becomes easier to de-termine
The condition of Swiss lakes has improved thanks to stricter protection measures, but less than expected. A new method developed by Eawag for calculating biomass production in lakes provides explanations and a basis for further water protection measures. "No bathing" rules were still imposed on many Swiss lakeshores until the 1980s.

Environment - 16.04.2021
Rivers and streams emit much more CO2 at night than during the day
Rivers and streams emit much more CO2 at night than during the day
Scientists have found that streams and rivers - or "running waters" - emit on average four times more CO2 at night than during the day. That matters because most estimates of global CO2 emissions are made using measurements taken during the day, thereby introducing a potential bias into the calculation of the global carbon cycle.

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