Research interests

As Senior Scientist in the group Ecological Genetics (research unit Biodiversity and Conservation Biology), I am engaged in research dealing with various aspects of population genetics in space and time, particularly focused on landscape and conservation genetics, but also local adaptation to environmental variation.


Complete publication list (December 2023): PDF

Current and recent projects (funding, role)

for details on specific projects see "Projects" tab below:

  • National database of genetic diversity from populations of wild species in Switzerland (GenDiB; BAFU; PI)
  • Optimising the management and sustainable use of forest genetic resources in Europe (GenTree; EC/SERI; partner responsible)
  • Linking environmental, genomic, and phenotypic information to study the adaptation of Arabidopsis halleri to metal-polluted soils (METALink; WSL; PI); see also Polish partner project AriaDNA
  • Silver Fir Genome Project (SFGP; collaborative initiative; member of steering committee)
  • Very high-resolution digital elevation models for multi-scale analysis in landscape genomics (GeneScale; SNF-Interdisciplinary, PI)
  • Future trees for future climate? Adaptive genetic variation in Pinus cembra in response to environmental gradients across the Alpine timberline ecotone (PiCadapt; SNF; PI)
  • Genetic monitoring: feasibility assessment for the action plan of the Swiss Biodiversity Strategy (WSL internal fund; co-PI)
  • Evolution of trees as drivers of terrestrial biodiversity (Evoltree; European Research Group derived from EC Network of Excellence; partner responsible, member of Executive Committee 2011–2018)

Recent projects (incomplete list)

  • Relationship of ecological gradients and adaptive genetic variation in oaks (Quercus robur, Q. petraea und Q. pubescens): Are current seed regions ecologically meaningful under future conditions? (QuercAdapt; BAFU; PI)
  • Evaluating the potential of the subfossil “Binz” pines for ancient DNA analyses (WSL internal fund; co-PI)
  • Comparison of genetic diversity at neutral and selective loci in Pinus cembra, a scattered tree species at its ecological margin in the Carpathians (PiCeGeDi; CRUS-Sciex; PI)
  • Genetic variation and species migration under environmental change: views of science, environmental management, and the general public (CCES-GeneMig; co-PI)
  • Suitability of molecular markers for early characterization of differential wood quality in silver fir (Abies alba) (Forest and Wood Research Fund, BAFU; PI)
  • Adaptive genetic variation and plant adaptation to environmental heterogeneity (AVE; SNF-Sinergia; co-PI)
  • Environmental association study in five species of Brassicaceae (EcoChange; EC Integrated Project; co-PI)
  • Adaptive genetic variation and its dispersal in Arabis alpina (CCES BioChange, ETH domain; co-PI)
  • Large-scale correlation between diversity at the levels of genes, species, and habitats in the Alps and the Carpathians (IntraBioDiv; EC; scientific co-ordinator)
  • Historic and current gene flow in Swiss stone pine: coincidence between spatial genetic patterns in adult trees and cached seed populations? (SNF; PI)
  • Landscape genetics in the rare, scattered forest tree Sorbus domestica in northern Switzerland (PhD project funded by the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich; co-PI)
  • Effects of a diverse flower offer on quantitative (number) und qualitative (genetic diversity) parameters of sexual reproduction using a high-alpine cushion plant, Eritrichium nanum, as a model system (SNF; co-PI)

Curriculum Vitae

2011-2018 Group leader "Ecological Genetics" at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf
Since 2007 Senior Scientist at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf
 2006-2010 Group leader "Evolutionary Ecology" at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf
Since 2000 Scientist and team leader at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf
1997-2000 PostDoc at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf
1996-1997 Research assistant and managing head of plant genetic lab at the Institute for Systematic Bota­ny, Univer­sity of Zürich
1994-1999 Collaboration in the 'International Tundra Experiment' (ITEX): Re­action of tundra plant species to experimentally increased ambient tempera­ture (investigated species: Saxi­fraga oppositifolia, Polygonum viviparum)


PhD thesis "Reproductive biology of Saxifraga oppositifolia and S. biflora in alpine populations" at the Institute for Sys­te­matic Botany, University of Zürich (Prof. J.J. Schneller, Prof. C.D.K. Cook, Prof. B. Schmid; Prof. U. Molau, University of Gothenburg)