Head: Dr. Marcus Schaub

Research focus

We study the responses of trees to climatic and edaphic environmental changes, from the cellular to the ecosystem level. We diagnose individual stressors, analyze their systems biological effects, and use these findings to develop mechanistic models of the interrelationships between trees and the abiotic environment.

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 various stressors for forest ecosystems?
  • How can we differentiate the various stressors and their effects?


We use long-term observations in natural ecosystems in combination with (long-term) experimental studies under (semi)controlled environmental conditions for the development of quantitative scenarios of global change effects on trees and forest ecosystems.

Contributing to various scientific networks allows us to achieve a high degree of interdisciplinary collaboration. These include the European network ICP-Forests and the national Long-Term Forest Ecosystem Research Program LWF, both based on the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution LRTAP. These collaborations are complemented by our own research platforms, such as Pfynwald (with VPDrought to disentangle atmospheric from soil drought), TreeNet, the WSL Model Ecosystem Facility MODOEK, and 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 in Lausanne EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich ETHZ, the University of Basel UNIBAS, the Chinese Academy of Sciences CAS, the Integrated Carbon Observation System ICOS Switzerland, the International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests ICP-Forests, the Integrated European Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological Research platform eLTER, and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations IUFRO.

With our large scale and long-term research infrastructure, we are part of the SCNAT National Geosciences Roadmap 2025-2028 and the International Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures ESFRI.




Marcus Schaub


Isabelle Arnold

Visiting scientist

David Jonas Basler


Carlo di Bello

PhD student

Sophia Etzold

Scientific staff member

Jonas Gisler

Technical staff member

Madeleine S. Goerg-Günthardt

Visiting scientist

Rudolf Häsler

Visiting scientist

Dominik Andrin Hummel

Technical specialist

Maihe Li

Senior Scientist

Na Li

PhD student guest

Marcus Maeder

Visiting scientist

Capucine Agathe Marion

PhD student guest

Philippe Mathys

Civil service employee

Richard Peters

Visiting scientist

Volodymyr Trotsiuk

Data Scientist

Pierre Vollenweider

Scientific staff member

Cong Wang

Visiting scientist

Yanli Zhang

PhD student

Yi Zhu

PhD student guest

Roman Zweifel

Scientific staff member

Samuel Zweifel

Master student