Prélèvement des échantillons des diatomées dans le canton de Genève (photo Arielle Cordonier, DETA, Genève)

Rivers and lakes play a major role in the environment by providing not only habitat for fauna and flora, but also improving the landscape and therefore the quality of life. The effectiveness of environmental protection measures rests on the early and precise identification of pressure points, which should be facilitated by environmental genomics. To implement measures to preserve or restore aquatic areas, the SYNAQUA project proposes to use the genetic tools based on the recognition of bio-indicator organisms present in the aquatic environment directly from their DNA. The method of environmental DNA analysis, will be tested by Swiss and French scientists in collaboration with public and private stakeholders on two groups of bioindicators commonly used for water quality assessment: diatoms and oligochaetes.

Echantillonnage oligochètes

Prélèvement des échantillons d’oligochètes dans le canton de Vaud (photo Benoit Ferrari, Ecotox)

The aim is to bring together scientists, environment managers as well as public and private partners in Switzerland and France to develop and apply this DNA-based broadband approach to biomonitoring of regional aquatic ecosystems. Collaboration between public and private stakeholders will help to develop a robust and reliable tool that is tailored to their needs and will strengthen the current practice of environmental diagnosis. The innovative tools that will be developed in synergy in France and Switzerland should make it possible to respond to the need for better monitoring and protection of the regional heritage of aquatic environments in a rapidly changing area subject to multiple pressures.

Learn more on the official website.

Poster SYNAQUA Project

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  1. Press release 2017
  2. Réunion des partenaires 2018

Project Partners

Switzerland – Université de Genève, Centre Ecotox, Service de l’écologie de l’eau du canton de Genève, Maison de la Rivière, ID-Gene ecodiagnostics.

France – INRA Thonon, Asters-Conservatoire d’espaces naturels Haute-Savoie.

The SYNAQUA project is supported by the European Cross-Border Cooperation Program (Interreg France-Switzerland 2014-2020) and has thus received a European (European Regional Development Fund) and a Federal grant covering respectively 60% of the French total cost and 29% of the Swiss total cost. Funding was also provided by Swiss cantons (Valais, Geneva, Vaud).

Supported by:  Office National des Eaux et des Milieux Aquatiques (ONEMA), Commission internationale pour la protection des eaux du Léman (CIPEL), Association pour la Sauvegarde du Léman (ASL), Syndicat Intercommunal d’Aménagement du Chablais (SIAC), Syndicat mixte des affluents du sud-ouest lémanique (SYMASOL), Services cantonaux suisses (Valais, Vaud, Genève).

 Asters Conservatoire d'espaces naturels Haute-savoieCanton of GenevaUniversité de Genève



ID-GENE ecodiagnostics

109 ch. du Pont-du-Centenaire, 1228 Plan-les-Ouates
2a ch. des Hutins, 1232 Confignon
Geneva, Switzerland

Explore the genetic memory of water