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Conservation Biology

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Head: Dr. Kurt Bollmann

Our group monitors the diversity of species and investigates the mechanisms shaping biodiversity with the aim to provide solutions for its conservation in the era of the Anthropocene. We focus both on the monitoring and the Red List classification of certain taxa in Switzerland and on the influence of global change on biodiversity and the interaction between species and their functional relationships. We study multiple taxa (fungi, lichens, plants, arthropods, birds, mammals) in different ecosystems that differ in the intensity of land use. We apply standardized methods to survey biodiversity at different biological scales by combining traditional field methods and new techniques such as automated sampling, genetic analyses, meta barcoding (eDNA), and remote sensing.

Currently, we study the effects of land use change in forest, agriculture, and urban ecosystems on biodiversity:

  • Impact of land use in grasslands and forests on functional plant-insect networks
  • Comparison of beetle and fungal diversity between forest reserves and managed forests
  • Eco-evolutionary aspects of urbanization on wild bees, their relationship with food resources, and effects on reproductive success
  • Effects of the socio-ecological composition and configuration of urban environments on BEFs
  • The role of blue-green infrastructures in shaping arthropod biodiversity in cities 
  • Effects of anthropogenic light sources on insects and bats

We investigate species, species communities and functional relationships along habitat gradients:

  • Composition of biotic communities and food-web relationships across vertical forest layers
  • Associations of White-backed woodpecker habitat with fungi and lichen species

We analyse the long-term impact of land use and climate change on selected taxa:

  • Roe deer reproduction along an altitudinal gradient
  • Population dynamics and dispersal of mountain hares
  • Composition and biomass of insect communities in aquatic and terrestrial habitats

We monitor biodiversity and species of conservation concern in Switzerland:

  • National IUCN Red list assessments for lichens and fungi
  • Introduced species and their impact on native biodiversity

We host the national data- and information centres SwissFungi and SwissLichens which provide the following services:

  • Collect, curate and publish observational data on fungi and lichens
  • Provide information and council to public authorities for conservation and management practices
  • Contribute to the taxonomy of fungi/lichens on species and genetic level