2000LAKES: alpine research and citizen science for the microbial conservation of high-mountain lakes
Alpine lakes are excellent sentinels of climate change as their chemistry and biology respond rapidly to environmental forcing. The Swiss alps are host to over 1500 alpine lakes, many of which have been newly mapped and thus never been studied. Microorganisms play major ecological roles in these lakes, for example in their primary production, the cycling of elements, and the environmental attenuation of contaminants. It is uncertain how physical climatic changes may affect microbial communities and consequently, their activities in alpine lakes. 2000LAKES is an innovative research project joining forces between scientists and citizens to jointly describe the unexplored microbial diversity in Swiss alpine lakes. In the first phase of the project, we sampled more than 60 lakes in the Alps and catalogued their microbial communities using metagenomics while building a culture collection of more than 200 bacteria species. In addition, we established a pilot program in which citizens can actively participate in our sampling campaigns and research. Our first results show that Swiss alpine lakes represent hotspots of microbial diversity and niches for the development of distinct bacteria communities. In the future, we aim to expand the 2000LAKES project by building an open research initiative which can contribute to expand the knowledge about the ecology of alpine lakes and to take actions to anticipate and respond to the consequences of climate change on Swiss alpine lakes.
Dr. Anna Carratala Ripolles
Anna Carratala Ripolles is a research scientist in the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory at EPFL and an expert in environmental microbiology and virology. Her latest research involves the characterization of the diversity microbial communities of the Rhône watershed including alpine and peri-alpine lakes across space and time, and the adaptation of microbial communities to environmental changes. She is also interested in the development of novel nature-based biotechnological applications.
Climate change, air pollution, brain and behaviour
There is mounting evidence about the direct and indirect impact of climate change and air pollutants on human brain and behaviour. Stroke incidence and severity, exacerbations of multiple sclerosis, migraine and depression are among the well-documented brain disorders impacted by temperature extremes and variability. We sought to investigate the impact of global warming on individuals’ cognition and mood, whilst testing the interaction with demographic, socio-economic, cardio-vascular risk, and lifestyle factors. Building on data from the longitudinal Lausanne community-dwelling cohort CoLaus|PsyCoLaus (www.colaus-psycolaus.ch) we demonstrate an association between land surface temperature changes in the last decade and the Global Assessment of Functioning score as a variable sensitive to mental health in 2’677 study participants. We are still left with the final step that will link the georeferencing patterns of environmental changes with brain tissue microstructure estimates and derive characteristic anatomy fingerprints whilst accounting for the effects of demographic, socio-economic and cardio-vascular variables.
Prof. Bogdan Draganski
Professor and head of neuroimaging lab (LREN) UNIL CHUV
Professor Bogdan Draganski, native Bulgarian, is Consultant Neurologist at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland, Director of the neuroimaging laboratory LREN and of the Departmental MRI platform. After qualifying in Clinical Neurology in Germany he spent time working on computational anatomy research in neurodegenerative and movement disorders at the Institute of Neurology, UCL London, UK followed by research at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig Germany. He was trained in state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging techniques to investigate brain anatomy correlates of neurological disorders. Using methods that he and colleagues developed, he enriched these models with features from non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sensitive to brains’ myelin, iron and tissue free water content, to then test for systematic differences across cortico-striatal circuits and along spatial gradients within a given node of the studied networks. He pioneered computational anatomy research in usedependent brain plasticity, developed and established new methods to understand the underlying biological phenomenon. His current work is focused on understanding the principles of brain’s healthspan to develop preventive strategies and interventions in the preclinical phase of age-associated brain disorders.
Effect of fluid composition on the brittle to ductile transition of rocks: implications for deep geothermal energy.
Deep high-enthalpy geothermal energy is one of the renewable energy sources that can help mitigate climate change. Rocks capable of hosting fluids at the necessary pressures and temperatures for deep high-enthalpy geothermal energy might be at or beyond the brittle to ductile transition, where the mechanical and hydraulic properties of fluid-hosting rocks are largely unknown.
We developed a new 4-electrodes setup to measure complex electrical conductivity during the deformation of rocks in pressure and temperature. This, together with in-situ measurements of rock permeability, will allow us to investigate the role of fluid chemistry on the mechanical properties of rocks across the brittle to ductile transition, to better understand the behavior of deep geothermal reservoirs.
PhD student EPFL ENAC
Francesco Lazari got a bachelor and master degree in geological sciences at the University of Padova, with a thesis on the frictional power dissipation of earthquakes. Currently, he is developing a PhD on the effect of fluid chemistry on the brittle to ductile transition of rocks and its implications for geothermal energy.