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Prof. Dr. Niklaus Zimmermann



senior scientist, member of directors board


Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi HL E 22



Please visit my complete website at:



My research focuses on modelling macroecological pattern and ecological dynamics of species, populations and biodiversity. I additionally have a strong interest in functional ecology and phylogenetic, and in better understanding the processes and constraints that limit species ranges at large spatial scales. This includes their physiological limitations, demographic processes, as well as interactions at the community level.


Macroecology & SDMs

Comparative Phylogenetics

Dynamic Models

GIS, RS & Climate

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Laure, Achilleas, Michael, Damaris Bianca, Laure Heike, Michael, Damaris Dirk, Achilleas
I use species distribution models (SDMs) to solve macroecological questions that are often related to studying the impact of global change on species, their ranges, their traits, and to biodiversity and communities. Much of my work has centered on improving and conceptualizing the SDM metho- dology. I frequently also combine it with other approaches. I use phylogenies and phyloge- netic comparative methods to study the evolution of species, their traits, and how they adapt to a changing environment and thus contribute to assemble to com- munities and to form biodiversity at a range of scales. I mostly work with plants, often trees, but some- times also with animals (birds, fish) as study organisms. I use (and rarely contribute to develop) dynamic approaches to study the effects of demographic and physiology on species and ecosystem responses to global change. My primary interest is to find novel ways to study rege- neration, growth and mortality as important demographic processes to study global change effects. I often use Geographical Informa- tion Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) tools to generate large extent predictive layers useful for model building and ecological analyses. The scaling of climate layers from coarse (global, regional climate models) to a high spatial resolution (e.g. 100m, 1km) and to derive physiologically meaningful predictors are important elements.
Example References:      
Thuiller et al. 2014
Hanewinkel et al. 2013
Meier et al. 2012
Kissling et al. 2012
Engler et al. 2011
Meier et al. 2011
Zimmermann et al. 2010
Zimmermann et al. 2009
Elith et al. 2006
Guisan & Zimmermann 2000
Litsios et al. 2014
Pearman et al. 2014
Thuiller et al. 2014
D'Amen et al. 2013
Lexer et al. 2013
Litsios et al. 2012a
Litsios et al. 2012b
Kunstler et al. 2012
Dullinger et al. 2012
Schurr et al. 2012
Kaplan et al. 2012
Hodson et al. 2011
Poulter et al. 2011a
Thuiller et al. 2008
Lischke et al. 2006
Rickebusch et al. 2007
Thornton & Zimmermann 2007
Beaumont et al. 2011
Psomas et al 2011
Poulter et al. 2011b
Huber et al. 2010
Kaplan et al. 2009
Huber et al. 2008
Leyk & Zimmermann 2007
Zimmermann et al. 2007
Schwarz & Zimmermann 2005