Newsletter May 2022 (1/2)
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ETH Domain News
May 5, 2022
 
 
 
Plastic is a petroleum product that is extremely slow to decompose. (photo: Dan Lewis on unsplash)
Forest trees also take up nanoplastics
Plastic waste is now polluting all of the world's ecosystems, even those located far from civilisation. The impact of this on the food chain is still unclear. A laboratory study by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL published in iForest has now shown that forest trees also take up plastic particles through their roots and transport them to the above-ground tissues of the plant.

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Sampling at Shackleton Glacier, New Zealand. (© Matteo Tolosano/ EPFL)
Climate warming alters glacier-fed stream ecosystems worldwide
According to two recent studies carried out as part of the Vanishing Glaciers Project, the ecosystems of glacier-fed streams are undergoing profound change around the world. That could have major repercussions on the food chain and the natural carbon cycle.

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Trout are often used in experiments. Machine learning could be an alternative to fish testing. (Image: istock, edited by Eawag)
Less animal testing thanks to machine learning
Eawag researchers are using computer algorithms to predict the toxicity of chemicals to fish. Machine learning can help set priorities for experiments and, in the long term, enable a tremendous reduction of animal testing.

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Christine Eriksen, human geographer at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich: "The disaster risk of forest fires has risen sharply due to growing urban-​forest interfaces." (Photo: ETH Zurich)
The social impact of disasters
Human geographer Christine Eriksen and physicist David Bresch conduct research into weather and climate risks. Their methods may be different, but they agree that the scale of a disaster is often determined more by societal decisions than by the natural hazard itself.

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 How do CNG vehicles perform compared to fuel-cell vehicles and battery electric vehicles? Image: Empa
Thinking in different time frames
Planning and building a large-scale research facility such as the European Spallation Source ESS present unique challenges. Physicist Marc Janoschek explains why only those who overcome them can achieve breakthroughs in research.

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(Bild: EPFL)
Giving a new life to lab rats
(Video in French and German)

🕒 2 minutes
 
 
 
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