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Dr. Felix Gugerli Künzle



vice-chef de groupe, senior scientist


Institut fédéral de recherches sur la forêt, la neige et le paysage WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi MG C 32


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 March 2022: PDF


Current and recent projects (funding, role)

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

  • 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)