Navigation mit Access Keys



Dr. Aline Frossard



Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin


Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi MG D 33


Research Interests

My main research interest is in unraveling relationship between ecosystem functioning and microbial diversities and activities. Trained as a microbial ecologist with experience in soil and freshwater systems, I am exploring microbial communities and their biogeochemical functions in relation to the cycling of major elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. I am especially interested in the effect of climate changes on microbial diversity and functions. As these effects are particularly strong in certain extreme environments such as high alpine, polar, or hot deserts regions, I focused part of my work on these environments.

Current Research Projects

  • Long- and short-term effects of mercury contamination on the soil microbiome.
  • KEYSOM (Soil Fauna - Key to Soil Organic Matter Dynamics and Modelling). Research project within the framework of the Cost Action ES1406.
  • CLIMARCTIC: Climate change impacts on Arctic soil and lake microbiomes. Research project within the BiodivERsA consortium (European research on biodiversity and ecosystem services).
  • CryoLink: Understanding the impacts of climate change on Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine permafrost microbiomes. (SNF Swiss - South Africa Joint Research Programme).

Academic Experiences

2018 (October) – Present: Tenure-track research scientist

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

2015 (October) – 2018 (August): Post-doctoral fellow

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

2013 (March) – 2015 (September): Post-doctoral fellow (NRF Innovation Fellowship, SA)

Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics (CMEG), University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Main project: Spatio-temporal patterns of microbial communities in the Namib Desert and effect of water events on hot desert soil microbial communities. Advisor: Prof. Don Cowan.

2011 (September) – 2012 (August): Post-doctoral Fellow

Experimental Limnology, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin, Germany.

Main project: Bacterial community assembly of stream sediment bacterial communities assessed by amplicon DNA sequencing. Advisor: Prof. Mark Gessner.

2007 (August) – 2011 (July): PhD of Sciences

Eawag / ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Date of oral defense: 24.06.2011.

Title of thesis: Microbial dynamics during stream ecosystem succession: community structure and enzyme activities.

Advisors: Prof. Mark Gessner, Eawag/ETH and PD Dr. Michael Mutz, BTU Cottbus (Germany).

PhD project carried out as part of an integrative project (SFB TRR 38) funded by the German Research Council (DFG).

2004 (October) – 2006 (December): Master of Sciences in Biogeosciences (Magna Cum Laude)

University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Title of thesis: Structure and activities of rhizosphere microbial communities along a recent glacier forefield in the Swiss Alps. Advisors: Prof. Michel Aragno, Dr. Jakob Zopfi and Dr. Sonia Tarnawski.

2001 (October) – 2004 (September): Bachelor of Sciences in Biology

University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.