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Dr. Manfred Stähli



head of research unit


Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi LG E 08


Education and work experience

1986-92: Studies at ETH Zürich, Environmental Engineering

1989-90: Guest studies at the Swedish Univ. of Agricult. Sciences, SLU Alnarp

1993-98: PhD thesis at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, in Agronomy (Environmental Physics)

1998-2001: Postdoc at ETH Zürich, Soil Physics

2001-06: Scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute WSL, Forest Hydrology

since 2006: Head of Research Unit Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements at WSL

2017: CAS Leadership in science (FHNW)

Main expertise and research interests

Hydrology of small sub-alpine catchments (long-term hydrological monitoring in forested catchments)

Winter hydrology (numerical simulation of snow cover in forests; infiltration of water in frozen soils; permafrost modelling)

Early warning of rapid mass movements (triggering of shallow landslides)

Climate change impact on water resources and hydropower production

Supervision of ongoing PhD theses:

Adrian Wicki (WSL): Assessing the potential of soil wetness data for landslide early warning (2018-2021)

Leonie Kiewiet (Univ. Zürich): Spatio-temporal variability of shallow groundwater and its effect on stream water quantity and quality (2016-2019)

Supervision of accomplished PhD theses:

Cécile Pellet (Univ. Fribourg): Soil moisture dynamics in alpine soils. (2013-16)

Benjamin Fischer (Univ. Zürich): Spatial and Temporal rainfall - runoff measurements in pre alpine catchments extending process knowledge and hydrological modeling (2010-2015)

Michael Rinderer (Univ. Zürich): Patterns of groundwater and soil moisture variability: Hard data, soft data and dominant controls (2010-2015)

Martin Scherler (Uni Fribourg): Sensitivity of mountain permafrost to climate change scenarios: a modelling approach

Markus Hofer (WSL, TU Braunschweig): Structures and processes of the initial ecosystem development in an artificial catchment (2007-2011)

Ingo Völksch (WSL, Univ. Bern): Microwave radiometry for the investigation of hydrological surface processes (2006-2010)

Daniel Bayard (EPFL): The effect of seasonal soil frost on the alpine groundwater recharge (2000-2003)

Peter Waldner (WSL, ETH Zürich): Water and solute release from a subalpine snow cover (1999-2002)

Supervision of accomplished Bachelor and Master theses

Christiane Regauer (Uni Innsbruck): Untersuchung der Klimaänderungen auf die Wasserkraftnutzung in der Schweiz mit Fokus auf die Wintermonate (2016-17)

Marvin Liedtke (F-A-Uni Erlangen-Nürnberg): Ereignisanalyse und Modellierung des Murgangs vom 31.01.2016 im Teufbach (Schweiz) (Sept 2016)

Ingrid Senn (ETH Zürich): Niedrigere Abflusskoeffizienten dank höherem Bewaldungsgrad? (Juni 2013)Seraina Kauer (Uni Zürich): Monitoring soil moisture dynamics on a hillslope prone to slide (Nov. 2010).

Radio interviews/Videos:

Nov. 2014: NFP 61 - Drought-CH: Ausblick Nachhaltige Wassernutzung für die Praxis

24.12.2014: SRF 4 - Info "Wir können uns auf extreme Naturereignisse einstellen"

28.06.2018: SRF 1 Regionaljournal Zentralschweiz "50 Jahre Wildbachforschung Alptal"

Member of the following commissions

GHO - Gruppe für operationelle Hydrologie

NADUF - Nationale Daueruntersuchung der Fliessgewässer