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Richard Peters



visiting scientist


Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi HL C 32


Professional Experience

Can we predict the future?

During my education at the University Utrecht (the Netherlands), I was mainly interested in unravelling climate change impacts on ecosystems. I therefore focused on linking fundamental ecological processes to explain vegetation dynamics and biophysical changes. Additionally, I was very keen on learning more on modelling biophysical mechanisms and spatial variations for predictive purposes.

No stranger to the Alpine climate

After my graduation, I started at the Environmental Department of ARCADIS working on (spatial) biophysical modelling and consultancy. During this time, I became quite familiar with Alpine ecosystems, due to my involvement in projects related to climate change effects on Carpathian Alpine ecosystems and European Commission projects on different environmental and anthropogenic impacts on Alpine forests and grasslands in Europe.

As an ecologist you tend to travel a lot

I was working voluntarily at Wageningen University (the Netherlands), to enhance my forest ecology knowledge and scientific research skills. I was mainly interested in analysing the effectiveness of different growth-change detection methods to analyse long-term growth changes in tropical trees potentially induced by climate change. This project involved dendrochronological analysis and tree-growth modelling, but also working in tropical countries like Cameroon and Thailand. 

Activity at WSL

I am interested in understanding the effects of climate change on plant and ecosystem processes

To increase our understanding on the forests response to climate change, I am convinced that we need to acquire more insight into the physiological mechanisms driving tree growth in relation to both hydrological and carbon cycles. Because of this, I am excited to work on the Ph.D. position; “Coupling stem water flow and structural carbon allocation in a warming climate”. This Ph.D. provides the unique opportunity to integrate high-resolution inter-annual measurements of tree growth, collecting samples from a location with a natural temperature gradient at the Lötschental sampling sites and using whole tree modeling.