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We maintain several state-of-the-art laboratories which enable us to conduct cutting-edge environmental research. Research scientists use the laboratories for their research in a wide range of disciplines from genetic methods, to plant and microbial analyses, to isotope analyses for the dating of organisms. Our central laboratory performs numerous chemical analyses on behalf of the scientists.

In 2014, we opened Switzerland's first safety-level-3 laboratory and greenhouse, the National Plant Protection Laboratory, in cooperation with the FOEN. This laboratory facilitates research into plant pests and diseases, the propagation of which could cause serious environmental and forestry damage.

Since 2017, we have been operating an isotope laboratory in cooperation with the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). This laboratory facilitates research into physical, chemical and biological processes in forests and other ecosystems.

In spring 2023, we will open our eDNA laboratory. There we isolate genetic material from environmental samples under special cleanliness measures. We also run a clean air laboratory for research into ancient genetic material.

Other laboratories are specially designed to focus on research areas such as small-scale debris flows or tree-ring analysis.



Our laboratories

Stable isotope laboratory

We are using stable isotope ratios of the light elements as universal tool for studying physical, chemical and biological processes in ecosystems.

eDNA laboratory

In our eDNA laboratory, we isolate genetic material from environmental samples, for example to find hidden animals or fungi.

The WSL plant protection lab

The plant protection lab enables us to identify organisms that harm trees and shrubs and devise effective countermeasures.

Main laboratory

The main laboratory supports the research units in analysing samples and interpreting results.

Dendrochronology laboratory

Our dendrochronology lab is one of the largest in the world. It uses and develops novel methods for dendrochronology and wood anatomy.

Debris flow laboratory

In our debris flow laboratory we can investigate debris flow processes in reduced-scale experiments and perform other large experiments.