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Dr. Philipp Brun



Technical staff member


Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi HL E 23


Research interests

As macroecologist I am interested in ecological processes that take place at large scales without necessarily being intuitively perceivable. I am fascinated by funtamental theoretical questions, such as the reasons for the striking differences in the diversity of species and life forms, abut also by timely topics such as impact of climate change and extreme events on biological processes. I enjoy working with large data sets and attempting to integrate novel statistical tools and models into my analyses. I primarly work with plants, in particular alpine species, but from my PhD project I am also familiar with marine organsims, especially with phyto- and zooplankton.


Professional experience

2021-todayTechnical staff member at WSL
2020-2021Postdoc on automated detection of plant species from images at WSL (Project COMECO)
2017-2020Postdoc on biodiversity of the alpine flora at WSL (Project OriginAlps)
2016-2017Postdoc on zooplankton carbon export at the Centre for Ocean Life, DTU Aqua in Charlottenlund (Denmark)


2013-2017PhD in marine biology; Thesis title : “Plankton biogeography - an exploration of patterns, drivers, functions, and predictability” at the Centre for Ocean Life, DTU Aqua in Charlottenlund (Denmark)
2011-2013Master in in Environmental Sciences at ETH Zürich; Major in Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics; Minor in Soil Protection and Land Use; Master thesis on the distribution of phytoplankton in the global ocean
2007-2010Bachelor in Environmental Sciences at ETH Zürich



Publications (peer reviewed)

24Brun, P., D. N. Karger, D. Zurell, P. Descombes, L. C. de Witte, R. de Lutio, J. D. Wegner, and N. E. Zimmermann. Preprint. Rank-based deep learning from citizen-science data to model plant communities. bioRxiv doi: 10.1101/2023.05.30.542843
23Adde, A., P.-L. Rey, P. Brun, N. Külling, F. Fopp, F. Altermatt, O. Broennimann, A. Lehmann, B. Petitpierre, N. E. Zimmermann, L. Pellissier, and A. Guisan. 2023. N-SDM: a high-performance computing pipeline for Nested Species Distribution Modelling Ecography doi: 10.1111/ecog.06540
22Rodriguez Torres, R., R. Almeda, J. Xu, N. Hartmann, S. Rist, P. Brun, and T. Nielsen. 2023. The behavior of planktonic copepods minimizes the entry of microplastics in marine food webs Environmental Science & Technology 57:179-189, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c04660
21Kyathanahally, S., T. Hardeman, M. Reyes, E. Merz, T. Bulas, P. Brun, F. Pomati, and M. Baity-Jesi. 2022. Ensembles of Vision Transformers as a New Paradigm for Automated Classification in Ecology. Scientific reports 12:18590, doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-21910-0
20Meusburger, K., V. Trotsiuk, P. Schmidt-Walter, A. Baltensweiler, P. Brun, F. Bernhard, M. Gharun, R. Habel, F. Hagedorn, R. Köchli, A. Psomas, H. Puhlmann, A. Thimonier, P. Waldner, S. Zimmermann, and L. Walthert. 2022.  Soil-plant interactions modulated water availability of Swiss forests during the 2015 and 2018 droughts. Global Change Biology , doi: 10.1111/gcb.16332
19Brun, P., N. E. Zimmermann, C. Hari, L. Pellissier, and D. N. Karger. 2022. Global climate-related predictors at kilometer resolution for the past and future. Earth Syst. Sci. Data 56:6455-6465, doi: 10.5194/essd-14-5573-2022
18Xu, J., R. Rodriguez Torres, S. Rist, T. Nielsen, N. Hartmann, P. Brun, D. Li, and R. Almeda. 2022. Unpalatable plastic: efficient taste-discrimination of microplastics in planktonic copepods Environmental Science & Technology  56:6455-6465, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c00322
17Lyu, L., F. Leugger, O. Hagen, F. Fopp, L. M. Boschman, J. S. Srijk, C. Albouy, D. N. Karger, P. Brun, Z. Wang, N. E. Zimmermann, and L. Pellissier. 2022. An integrated high‐resolution mapping shows congruent biodiversity patterns of Fagales and Pinales New Phytologist  235:759-772, doi: 10.1111/nph.18158
16Brun, P., C. Violle, D. Mouillot, N. Mouquet, B. J. Enquist, F. Munoz, T. Münkemüller, A. Ostling, N. E. Zimmermann, and W. Thuiller. 2022. Plant community impact on productivity: trait diversity or key(stone) species effects? Ecology Letters 24:913-925, doi: 10.1111/ele.13968
15de Lutio, R., Y. She, S. D'Aronco, S. Russo, P. Brun, J. D. Wegner, and K. Schindler. 2021. Digital taxonomist: Identifying plant species in community scientists’ photographs. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 182:112-121, doi: 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2021.10.002
14Chauvier, Y., N. E. Zimmermann, G. Poggiato, D. Bystrova, P. Brun, and W. Thuiller. 2021. Novel methods to correct for observer and sampling bias in presence-only species distribution models. Global Ecology and Biogeography 30:2312-2325, doi: 10.1111/geb.13383
13Polanco, A. F., F. Fopp, C. Albouy, P. Brun, L. Boschman, and L. Pellissier. 2020. Marine fish diversity in Tropical America associated with both past and present environmental conditions. Journal of Biogeography 47:2597-2610, doi: 10.1111/jbi.13985
12Visser, A. W., P. Brun, S. Chakraborty, T. S. Dencker, P. D. van Denderen, R. van Gemert, H. van Someren Gréve, I. Heilmann, M. W. Holm, S. H. Jónasdóttir, K. M. Kenitz, T. Kiørboe, M. Lindegren, P. Mariani, L. T. Nielsen, M. Pancic, M. R. Payne, L. Pécuchet, N. A. Schnedler-Meyer, U. H. Thygesen, A. Törnroos and Andersen K. H. 2020. Seasonal strategies in the world’s oceans. Progress in Oceanography 189:102466, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102466
11Brun, P., A. Psomas, C. Ginzler, W. Thuiller, M. Zappa, and N. E. Zimmermann. 2020. Large-scale early-wilting response of Central European forests to the 2018 extreme drought. Global Change Biology 26:7021-7035, doi: 10.1111/gcb.15360
10Chauvier, Y., W. Thuiller, P. Brun, S. Lavergne, P. Descombes, D. N. Karger, J. Renaud, and N. E. Zimmermann. 2020. Influence of climate, soil, and land cover on plant species distribution in the European Alps. Ecological Monographs, doi: 10.1002/ecm.1433
9Brun, P., W. Thuiller, Y. Chauvier, L. Pellissier, R. O. Wüest, Z. Wang, and N. E. Zimmermann. 2020. Model complexity affects species distribution projections under climate change. Journal of Biogeography 47:130-142, doi: 10.1111/jbi.13734
8Brun, P., N. E. Zimmermann, C. H. Graham, S. Lavergne, L. Pellissier, T. Münkemüller, and W. Thuiller. 2019. The productivity-biodiversity relationship varies across diversity dimensions. Nature Communications 10:5691, doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13678-1
7Brun, P., K. Stamieszkin, A. W. Visser, P. Licandro, M. R. Payne, and T. Kiørboe. 2019. Climate change has altered zooplankton-fuelled carbon export in the North Atlantic. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3:416-423, doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0780-3
6Holm, M. W., T. Kiørboe, P. Brun, P. Licandro, R. Almeda, and B. W. Hansen. 2017. Resting eggs in free living marine and estuarine copepods. Journal of Plankton Research, 1–14, doi:10.1093/plankt/fbx062
5Brun, P., M. R. Payne, and T. Kiørboe. 2017. A trait database for marine copepods. Earth System Science Data 9:99-113, doi:10.5194/essd-9-99-2017
4Brun, P., M. R. Payne, and T. Kiørboe. 2016. Trait biogeography of marine copepods - an analysis across scales. Ecology Letters 19:1403–1413, doi:10.1111/ele.12688
3Brun, P., T. Kiørboe, P. Licandro, and M. R. Payne. 2016. The predictive skill of species distribution models for plankton in a changing climate. Global Change Biology 22:3170–3181, doi:10.1111/gcb.13274
2Brun, P., T. Kiørboe, and M. R. Payne. 2015. Measuring evolutionary adaptation of phytoplankton with local field observations. PNAS 201513353, doi:10.1073/pnas.1513353112
1Brun, P., M. Vogt, M. R. Payne, N. Gruber, C. J. O’Brien, E. T. Buitenhuis, C. Le Quéré, K. Leblanc, and Y.-W. Luo. 2015. Ecological niches of open ocean phytoplankton taxa. Limnology and Oceanography 60:1020–1038, doi:10.1002/lno.10074