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Species diversity

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We research the diversity of plants and animals, particularly in the forests and mountains, and examine the factors that affect species composition. We run national data centres for lichen and fungi, thereby providing the basis for their protection.


Species diversity is a measure of the variety of plants, animals, fungi, lichen and microorganisms found within a particular habitat or geographical area. It is an important aspect of biodiversity. Species diversity is often equated with biodiversity, as it is the most obvious form of biodiversity and easier to study than genetic diversity or the variety of habitats and species interactions.

When species become extinct within a habitat, there are shifts or failures in ecosystem services. It is often not possible to predict whether the disappearance of a particular species will bring about significant or minor changes. It is therefore important to protect the full variety of species as effectively as possible, not only for ethical and legal reasons, but as a preventive measure.

Species composition is changing

We examine the factors that affect the diversity of plants, animals, fungi, lichen and microorganisms, especially in the forests and mountains. We are particularly interested in the dynamics of this: how do species compositions change in time and space? What impact does climate change have on species diversity? Using statistical models, we can predict the species diversity for different groups of organisms and show under which land use and environmental conditions species diversity is particularly rich. Our work provides the scientific basis for monitoring and maintaining species diversity in Switzerland.

Our work forms the basis of practical species protection. We advise federal and cantonal authorities and the public about assistance measures for biodiversity and compile Red Lists for different groups of organisms.



Data centre Fungi

SwissFungi is the national data and information centre for the documentation and conservation of the Swiss fungi flora.

Data Centre Lichens

SwissLichens is the national data and information centre for the documentation and conservation of the Swiss lichens.


Soil bacteria play an important role in global nutrient cycles. We investigate the effects of soil disturbances on microorganisms living in soil.


We can recognize bat species by their echolocation calls. This allows us to analyse their habitat needs.