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Environment - Innovation - 16.02.2023
Decentralised water treatment: from motivation to implementation
Decentralised water treatment: from motivation to implementation
Putting decentralised water treatment technologies into practice is not always easy. It often takes many small steps to motivate people to use these technologies. In a recent article, two environmental health psychologists from Eawag summarise in a "Theory of Change" what is known so far about the psychological factors influencing the use of decentralised water treatment technologies and the measures that could promote their adoption.

Environment - Architecture - 16.02.2023
EPFL architects rethink the city-river balance within neighborhoods
EPFL architects rethink the city-river balance within neighborhoods
Architects at EPFL have developed a new, multi-criteria evaluation method to support better decision-making for the redevelopment of brownfield sites in Geneva, Sion and elsewhere along the Rhone.

Life Sciences - Environment - 09.02.2023
How Giants Became Dwarfs
How Giants Became Dwarfs
In certain Lake Tanganyika cichlids breeding in empty snail shells, there are two extreme sizes of males: giants and dwarfs. Researchers from the University of Bern and the University of Graz have analysed the genomes of these fish and found out how the peculiar sizes of males and females evolved in conjunction with the genetic sex determination mechanism.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.02.2023
How microbial communities shape the ocean's ecology
How microbial communities shape the ocean’s ecology
A research collaboration led by ETH Zurich and MIT will receive a further USD 15 million from the New York-based Simons Foundation to investigate the behaviour of marine bacteria and microalgae. The research will focus on microbial communities that impact the ocean's carbon cycle. Without microorganisms, higher life forms would not exist.

Environment - 27.01.2023
Alien plant species are spreading rapidly in mountainous areas
Alien plant species are spreading rapidly in mountainous areas
Until now, mountain regions have been largely spared from biological invasions. But a new monitoring study shows that alien plants are spreading rapidly to higher altitudes along transport routes worldwide. Neophytes use roadsides as gateways of entry Humans, whether deliberately or unintentionally, often introduce alien plants in lowlands, then plants spread from their starting point to higher elevations, particularly along roads, which is why the researchers focused on traffic routes.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.01.2023
The wondrous world beneath our feet - researching groundwater fauna
The wondrous world beneath our feet - researching groundwater fauna
Switzerland's groundwater is home to a multitude of hitherto unknown organisms. An Eawag research project is shining a light into the darkness and revealing this habitat's exceptional biodiversity. Switzerland has plentiful groundwater reserves. Found in cavities under the earth, groundwater is almost ubiquitously present, and is the country's biggest source of drinking water.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 26.01.2023
Who done it? Searching for clues with sediments
Who done it? Searching for clues with sediments
The sediments near Horn Richterswil - today a recreation and bathing resort on Lake Zurich - are contaminated with toxic metals, particularly mercury. On behalf of the Canton of Zurich, researchers have used sediment cores to reconstruct when the pollutants entered the lake. In this way, they could help clarify the origin of the contaminants.

Life Sciences - Environment - 23.01.2023
Molecular clock that helps some animals shed their skin identified
Molecular clock that helps some animals shed their skin identified
Shrimps, flies and other animals shed their outer body covering at specific times of the year or at specific points in their life cycles through a process called molting. Working in worms, FMI researchers identified the mechanisms underlying a molecular 'molting clock' — as well as several of the clock's components.

Environment - 23.01.2023
Grassland Ecosystems Become More Resilient with Age
Grassland Ecosystems Become More Resilient with Age
Reduced biodiversity affects the stability of the entire ecosystem. A long-term experiment now shows that grassland plant communities with multiple species need about 10 years to adjust to each other and produce an even amount of biomass again. Recent experiments have shown that the loss of species from a plant community can reduce ecosystem functions and services such as productivity, carbon storage and soil health.

Environment - 23.01.2023
Optimising nitrogen removal from wastewater
Optimising nitrogen removal from wastewater
Too much nitrogen continues to enter many water bodies, negatively impacting ecosystems and human health. The anammox process co-developed by Eawag can make an important contribution to reducing outputs from wastewater treatment plants and also saves energy and resources. It has now been further optimised by researchers at Eawag.

Environment - Life Sciences - 19.01.2023
Tracing the flow of water with DNA
Tracing the flow of water with DNA
Environmental DNA analysis of microbial communities can help us understand how a particular region's water cycle works. Basel hydrogeologist Oliver Schilling recently used this method to examine the water cycle on Mount Fuji. His results have implications for Switzerland as well. Where does the water come from that provides drinking water to people in a particular region? What feeds these sources and how long does it take for groundwater to make its way back up to the surface? This hydrological cycle is a complex interplay of various factors.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.01.2023
Why rivers matter for the global carbon cycle
Why rivers matter for the global carbon cycle
In a new journal article, EPFL professor Tom Battin reviews our current understanding of carbon fluxes in the world's river networks. He demonstrates their central role in the global carbon cycle and argues for the creation of a global River Observation System. Until recently, our understanding of the global carbon cycle was largely limited to the world's oceans and terrestrial ecosystems.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.01.2023
Protecting ecosystems with ecological theory
Protecting ecosystems with ecological theory
Ecosystems respond sometimes very differently to human impacts. However, it is still poorly understood what causes these differences. A team of researchers from Eawag and WSL is now proposing an integrative approach based on four fundamental processes shaping biodiversity on land and in water. The approach provides guidance for how biodiversity in blue (water) and green (land) ecosystems can be better protected.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 11.01.2023
Scientists delve into natural slicks on Lake Geneva
Scientists delve into natural slicks on Lake Geneva
An EPFL researcher has, for the first time, documented slicks - those visually arresting, moving patches of smooth water - and explained what is happening beneath the surface. Natural slicks are a mysterious, intriguing phenomenon for anyone who enjoys looking out over Lake Geneva, including passers-by, commuters - and now local researchers.

Environment - 10.01.2023
Ozone layer recovery on track and helping curb global warming
Ozone layer recovery on track and helping curb global warming
The ozone layer is on track to recover within four decades, with the global phase-out of ozone-depleting chemicals already benefitting efforts to mitigate climate change.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.01.2023
Two out of three glaciers worldwide could disappear by 2100
The world could lose over 40 percent of its total glacier mass and 80 percent of all individual glaciers this century. Depending on how successful efforts to curb the climate crisis are, it could be "only" a quarter. This is reported today in the journal Science by an international research team with participation from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

Environment - 06.01.2023
Using machine learning to forecast amine emissions
Using machine learning to forecast amine emissions
Scientists at EPFL and Heriot-Watt University have developed a machine learning approach to accurately predict potentially harmful amine emissions from carbon-capturing plants. Global warming is partly due to the vast amount of carbon dioxide that we release, mostly from power generation and industrial processes, such as making steel and cement.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 05.01.2023
Trees as witnesses to environmental pollution
Trees as witnesses to environmental pollution
Trees absorb tiny metal particles from the air and soil and deposit them in their tissues. This has been shown by an experiment conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. These findings open up possibilities for detecting environmental pollution or even remedying it in the future.

Environment - 28.12.2022
Skiing over the Christmas holidays no longer guaranteed - even with snow guns
Skiing over the Christmas holidays no longer guaranteed - even with snow guns
For many people in Switzerland, holidays in the snow are as much a part of the end of the year as Christmas trees and fireworks. As global warming progresses, however, white slopes are becoming increasingly rare. Researchers at the University of Basel have calculated how well one of Switzerland's largest ski resorts will remain snow reliable with technical snowmaking by the year 2100, and how much water this snow will consume.

Health - Environment - 21.12.2022
Acids help against airborne viruses
Acids help against airborne viruses
A new study by various Swiss universities shows that aerosols in indoor air can vary in acidity. This acidity determines how long viruses remain infectious in the air - with profound implications for virus transmission and strategies to contain it. Viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, influenza virus and others travel from person to person essentially by hitchhiking on aerosols.
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