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Head: Prof. Dr. Christoph Scheidegger

We study biodiversity patterns, for instance in forests and river landscapes, and run the national data centres for Swiss lichens and fungi, with the aim of preserving Switzerland's biodiversity.

We analyse spatial and temporal changes of populations, study the effects of land-use and environmental factors on biodiversity and engage in national and international organisations for the preservation of biodiversity. Many Swiss river restorations projects are currently in their planning phase. There is thus an urgent need for guidelines on biodiversity recovery in habitats during river restorations. We study the dynamics of of disturbances on which floodplain communities depend and quantify parameters of habitat size and connectivity of habitats along rivers. From these studies, we derive guidelines for river restoration.

The group is recognized for its research on epiphytic lichens (especially Lobaria pulmonaria). The studies focus on both, the fungal and algal bionts of the lichen symbiosis. This approach allows investigating novel research topics on the dispersal ecology of lichen and developing management recommendations for species recovery. The data centres SwissFungi and SwissLichens provide information for the implementation of nature and landscape protection of fungi and lichens in Switzerland. The data centres are responsible for the coordination, realisation and publication of instruments for species conservation including Red Lists and conservation action plans. The data centres advise federal and cantonal offices as well as the general public on topics of fungi and lichen conservation.