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Head: Dr. Marcus Schaub

Research focus

Mechanisms of tree response to abiotic constraints due to climatic and edaphic factors from cell to the ecosystem level by means of system analysis, stress diagnosis and mechanistic modeling.

Main research questions

  • What are the physiological and morphological responses to environmental constraints/fluctuations at cell-, tree-, and ecosystem-level?
  • What is the strength/risk of different stressors for forest ecosystems?
  • How can we differentiate the various stressors and their effects?


We develop quantitative scenarios on global change effects by combining long-term monitoring with experimental approaches. Our interdisciplinary collaboration is mainly based on the International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests ICP-Forests, the Swiss Long-Term Forest Ecosystem Research Program LWF respectively, operating under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution LRTAP. This network is complemented by experimental research platforms such as the wireless sensor network TreeNet and a lysimeter open-top chamber facility MODOEK, supported by our microscopy lab MICRO.

National and international position

The research group fosters close collaboration with universities and stake holders such as the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich ETHZ, Velux, University of Basel UNIBAS, University of Freiburg i.Br. Uni-Freiburg, Stockholm Environment Institute SEI at the University of York, Chinese Academy of Sciences CAS, CSIOR Marin and Atmospheric Research, ICP-Forests, LTER-EuropeIUFRO and COST (see FPS COST Action FP1202).