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Dr. Sonja Wipf



collaboratrice scientifica


Istituto Neve e Valanghe
Flüelastrasse 11
7260 Davos Dorf


Davos Da C 1 56


Research interests

Due to the narrow climatic constraints, the strong environmental gradients and the relative naturalness, alpine and arctic ecosystems have been a major playground for generations of researchers. My research deals with the impacts of climate change, agriculture and tourism on alpine and arctic plants and soils, and the interaction between the two.


since 2017Senior Researcher (currently 60%), team "Mountain Ecosystems" at WSL/SLF Davos
since 2010 Research associate, team "Mountain Ecosystems" at WSL/SLF Davos
2008-2010 PostDoc (75%), Soil Biogeochemistry Group, WSL Birmensdorf
2007-2008 PostDoc, The James Hutton Institute (former Macaulay Institute), Aberdeen, Scotland UK
2003-2006 PhD thesis "Winter Climate Change in Tundra Ecosystems: The Importance of Snow Cover" at SLF Davos and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zürich, with Prof. Bernhard Schmid
2003 Visiting PhD student with Prof. Christa PH Mulder at the Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks USA
2000-2002 Research associate at SLF Davos
1999-2012 Botanical and ornithological fieldwork for various monitoring projects
1998-2001 Internships at various Centres for environmental education
1993-2000 Studies and diploma in Botany and Environmental Sciences at the University of Zurich

Other professional and voluntary activities

  • Associate editor of Alpine Botany (since 2011); Associate editor of Plant Ecology & Diversity (2012-2014); Co-Editor of Botanica Helvetica (Journal of the Swiss Botanical Society; 2007-2011); Guest editor of special issues for Alpine Botany, Climatic Change and Plant Ecology & Diversity
  • Reviewer for AAAR, Alpine Botany, American Journal of Botany, Annals of Forest Science, Arctic, Australian Journal of Botany, Basic and Applied Ecology, Biological Conservation, Bird Studies, Botanica Helvetica, Botany, Diversity and Distributions, Ecography, Ecological Research, Ecology, Environmental Engineering Sciences, Forestry, Functional Ecology, Global Change Biology, Int. Journal of Plant Sciences, Journal of Ecology, Journal of Vegetation Science, Nature Communications, Oecologia, Oikos, Plant Ecology & Diversity, Plant Science, PPEES, various funding agencies and universities
  • Bird monitoring for the Swiss Ornithological Institute, the Swiss Breeding Bird Atlas and the Swiss Biodiversity Monitoring
  • Botanical surveys for Infoflora and the revision of the Swiss Red List of Ferns and Flowering Plants
  • Certified hiking, snow shoe, and bird excursion guide


  • Excursion guiding, natural and cultural topics, and environmental education for prospective hiking guides (2015-currently)
  • Field trips and excursions for scientific and non-scientific audience (2006-currently)
  • Assistant in various university courses on alpine ecology and isotope ecology (2006-2012)

I also like...

...powder snow ...closer looks