WSL Lausanne

The local representation of WSL was created at EPFL in 1991 under the name "Antenne romande" as an interface between scientists and practitioners in French-speaking Switzerland. It became a joint venture between WSL and EPFL in 2003. In March 2020, its research objectives were redefined under the leadership of Prof. Charlotte Grossiord. At EPFL, the current common lab is named PERL.

The PERL lab aims to better understand the physiological and ecological responses of terrestrial ecosystems to global change, with a focus on anticipating and counteracting its effects.

Our key research themes are the impact of biodiversity loss on ecosystem functions and services, and the physiological processes involved in plant responses to climatic stress. 

We use novel techniques and approaches at scales going from the cell to the whole ecosystem in diverse environmental conditions in temperate, Mediterranean and tropical systems. We conduct research in controlled conditions (e.g., greenhouses and growth chambers), in manipulative experiments in natural ecosystems (e.g., drought and temperature manipulation) and use long-term national and international inventory platforms. 

This integrative approach has both theoretical and applied aims to address the parameterization of climate-vegetation models and guide new climate-smart management practices.

Research interests

  • Role of functional diversity on ecosystem functioning
  • Climate change adaptation and acclimation strategies
  • Interactions between aboveground and belowground compartments
  • Climate impact on biochemical cycles (carbon, water and nitrogen)
  • Biological mechanisms leading to tree mortality

How to find us

Interactive map of EPFL campus



Functional Plant Ecology

Christoph Bachofen

Scientific staff member

Rita Bütler Sauvain

Administrative staff member

Alexandre Buttler

Visiting scientist

Janisse Deluigi

PhD student guest

Margaux Didion-Gency

Visiting scientist

Patrick Favre

Guest technician

Alice Gauthey

Visiting scientist

Charlotte Grossiord

Joint Professorship

Kate Johnson


Thibaut Juillard

PhD student guest

Sandra Levin Zürcher

Administrative staff member

Eugénie Isabelle Mas

PhD student guest

Laura Mekarni

PhD student guest

Arianna Milano

Visiting scientist

Philipp Schuler

Visiting scientist

Dominic Tinner

Bachelor student

Pascal Turberg

Visiting scientist

Helena Vallicrosa Pou