WSL Biodiversity Center

Center Vision

The vision of the Center is to build a nationally and internationally recognized research strength in biodiversity science at the WSL. The focus is on studying the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that generate and maintain biological diversity in the context of an increasingly human-modified world and using this knowledge to better conserve and manage diversity. By combining research questions, data and tools from local to global scales, from past to future timescales and from genes to ecosystems, the goal is to unravel how patterns of diversity have originated, are maintained, and will change in the future. By considering applied issues and stakeholder needs we can focus research towards solutions aimed at creating a sustainable future for our planet.

To this end researchers engaged in the Center will (i) conduct excellent research on both basic and applied aspects of biological diversity; and (ii) maintain products, tools and data for scientists and the public. This will be accomplished by (iii) enhancing collaboration among researchers within WSL, as well as with regional strongholds in biodiversity research (the WSL Landscape Center, the Swiss Forest Lab, ETH, UZH, Agroscope, Eawag, etc.) and international experts in the field of biodiversity, and (iv) engaging with and communicating to stakeholders and the public. The geographic focus of the Center is global but we will emphasize Swiss/Central European level biodiversity research and especially outreach.

Suggested Activities

The proposed activities are organized along three axes: internal capacity building, outreach and education innovations, and research excellence. Specific topics of the activities are suggested by Center members and calls for suggesting these topics are announced in a timely fashion.

Internal Capacity Building

Journal Club and Biodiversity Seminar (one event every week)

The Center holds regular events to foster interaction and knowledge transfer among WSL researchers and enable short contacts with external leaders or stakeholders in the field of biodiversity research and outreach. Both events already exist, the Center will engage in their organization. You can find the recorded seminar talks online on our youtube playlist.

Biodiversity Research Day (annually)

Research and outreach conducted within the Center is showcased to enhance awareness and interaction of biodiversity research across WSL and local institutions including the Swiss Forest Lab, Landscape Center, ETH, UZH, Agroscope, EAWAG etc. New WSL members are introduced to the Center.

Innovation Workshops and Working Groups (annually)

The Center supports workshops and working groups that target WSL members and increase awareness of hot topics in biodiversity research and outreach. These activities will sharpen recognition of these topics at WSL and bring them to research projects, or facilitate knowledge transfer to stakeholders via outreach activities.

Outreach and Education Innovations

Research-Practice Dialogue (on demand)

The Center holds irregular one-day events on alternating topics, targeting specific practice groups, such as cantonal or federal agencies, private consulting companies, etc. to strengthen recognition, connection and collaboration of WSL research with stakeholders in policy and management of biodiversity conservation.

Summer School of High Standards (annually)

The Center offers an annual “WSL Biodiversity Summer school” on rotating broader topics in biodiversity research and outreach (different topic every year but generally rotating among broad categories), organized by the Center and taught by WSL specialists and international leaders in the offered fields.

Data Portal of Derived Datasets (continuously)

Data derived in projects are provided to practitioners and scientists so that they can be used for management and conservation decisions and for research, aiming for increased visibility and broader use of research results from Center projects. This will occur in close collaboration with EnviDat.

Research Excellence

International Excellence Workshops (annually)

The Center holds internationally visible one-week workshops (30-40 invited scientists) on specific basic research topics or application and outreach in biodiversity to strengthen the visibility of WSL’s biodiversity research and outreach and the connection of WSL biodiversity scientists with global leaders on specific topics.

International Symposia (regularly)

The Center regularly organizes a must-go-to symposium in biodiversity research with topics alternating between fundamental and applied science, and across fields to increase awareness of WSL as a leader in biodiversity research on hot topics with high visibility through keynotes by global leaders.

Data Synthesis using WSL Data (non-recurring)

The Center aims to make better use of Swiss biodiversity data by offering two one-year PostDocs that analyze existing data and write papers and outreach articles. The PostDocs and emerging results will raise awareness of biodiversity data collection and research at WSL.

Head of Center

Coordinator of Center

Mailing list

WSL staff and people outside WSL can subscribe to a mailing list (mail to Nadia Castro-Izaguirre) and will then be informed about the activities of the center.


Steering Commitee