Environmental Systems Science
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Welcome to the Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-USYS)

Methane emissions

Camels emit less methane than cows or sheep. [more]



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Who we are

We are convinced that the sustainable development of a livable world for future generations is one of the core tasks of our society. With our expertise and commitment, our goal is to provide a significant contribution towards solving this task.

Mission  Institutes and groups  People in D-USYS

Our research

We study the processes and interactions of different environmental systems on various scales, from the molecular scale to global environmental, production and supply systems. The approach of our research is systems-oriented and interdisciplinary.

Agro-ecosystems and world food system  Atmosphere and climate  Biogeochemistry and pollutant dynamics  Ecology, evolution and health  Human and environment  Soil and landuse


What we teach

In our two study programmes, we teach the scientific foundation to analyse complex sound environmental and food systems. Based on a scientific understanding of the problem, students learn to analyse problems and develop solutions to quantitatively evaluate and implement them.

Agricultural science  Environmental sciences  Doctoral studies  Didactic education

Upcoming events & latest news


49th Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment meeting (AGAGE49)

Datum, Zeit: Sun 27. Apr 2014 - Fri 2. May 2014
Ort: CSF, Monte Verità, Via Collina 84, Ascona tel. 091 785 40 56,
Veranstaltungsart: Congress

Understanding global and regional climate change: theory and modeling at GFDL

Datum, Zeit: Mon 5. May 2014, 16:15
Ort: ETH Zurich, main campus CAB G 11
Veranstaltungsart: Colloquium

Brauchen Nutztiere Antibiotika? 15 Jahre AML-Verbot

Datum, Zeit: Tue 6. May 2014, 09:45 - 16:00
Ort: ETH Zurich, main campus HG F 30
Veranstaltungsart: Congress


Virus controls progression of HIV infection


A research team has discovered that the HI virus itself determines the host viral load to a surprisingly high degree. This has a major impact on the development of HIV infections into AIDS. In an Interview with ETH News the infection researchers Sebastian Bonhoeffer and Gabriel Leventhal describe how they came to this realisation and what conclusions they draw from it. [04.04.2014]

Working together for a better food supply


ETH Zurich has received CHF 5 million from the Coop Sustainability Fund to undertake research projects in the field of sustainable food production over the next several years. The first four projects are now underway as part of the ETH World Food System initiative, three of them from D-USYS: Prof. Achim Walter focuses on the synchronously maturing of buckwheat, a crop that has disappeared almost entirely. Prof. Michael Kreuzer explores the question of how to exploit the entire life cycle of chickens. Prof. Rainer Schulin works on the availability of Cadmiun in soils and its uptake by the cocoa plant in Latin America. [27.03.2014]

Estimating climate change impacts in Switzerland


A consortium of scientists under the leadership of the University of Berne with the contribution of researchers from ETH Zurich has taken a look at the consequences of climate change in Switzerland and published the CH2014-Impacts report. The ETH climate researcher Erich Fischer provided important data for the report. In an interview with ETH News he explained just how difficult it is to estimate the climate impacts on the local level and why it is nevertheless possible to make reliable statements. [14.03.2014]



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