Species diversity

We study the diversity of animals and plants, particularly in forests and mountains, and investigate factors that influence species composition. For lichens and fungi, we operate national data centres and thus provide the basis for species conservation.

Species diversity is a measure of the variety of animals, plants, fungi, lichens and microorganisms in a habitat or area. It is an important aspect of biodiversity. Species diversity is often equated with biodiversity, as it is the most descriptive level of biodiversity.

When species become extinct within a habitat, there are shifts or even failures in ecosystem services. It is difficult to predict what kind of effects the extinction of a particular species will entail. It is therefore important to protect the full variety of species, not only for ethical and legal reasons, but as a preventive measure.

Species composition is changing

We examine the factors that affect species diversity. We are particularly interested in how species compositions change in space and time and how climate change affects species diversity. Using statistical models, we can predict species diversity for different groups of organisms and show under which land use and environmental conditions species diversity is particularly high. Our work provides the scientific basis for conserving species diversity in Switzerland. We inform federal and cantonal authorities as well as the public about conservation measures and compile Red Lists for various groups of organisms.

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