Professor of Ecosystem Management



OPAL is funded

Oil Palm Adaptive Landscapes, a 6-yr research program spanning Indonesia, Cameroon and Colombia, is funded by SNF/SDC. Interdisciplinary & participatory, biodiversity & ecosystem services, livelihoods, policy, and development - we have it all! Starting in 2015, and recruiting soon.

New book

Forests: A Very Short Introduction
- pre-order now at OUP!

Sustainability Blog

The Future of Milk | 2 Sept 2014

Reforestation: a chance for farmers | 3 June 2014

Future farmers | 19 December 2013

Dark side of coffee | 11 November 2013

In the Media

Die Pflanze unseres Lebens (The plants of our lives) | NZZ am Sonntag | 23 February 2014 | Article on our oil palm work (in German).

New Publications

Born, J. et al. (2015) Differential responses of seedlings to microtopography. Biotropica, in press.

Born, J. et al. (2014) Differing life history characteristics support coexistence ... . Biotropica, 46, 58-68.

Braaker, S., et al. (2014) Habitat connectivity shapes urban arthropod communities... Ecology, 95, 1010-1021.

Finger, A. et al. (2014) Genetic connectivity of a moth pollinated tree in a fragmented habitat ... PLOS One. see here

Frei, E., et al. (2014) Plant population differentiation and climate change... Global Change Biology, 20, 441-455.

Ghazoul, J. (2014) Ecological dynamics in fragmented landscapes. Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology see here

Ismail, S.A., et al. (2014) Forest trees in human modified landscapes... PLOS One, 9, e89437.

Kaiser-Bunbury, C., et al. (2014) ... the structure of plant-pollinator networks. Ecology, in press.

Ecology and Ecosystems Seminar Series


The group has two laboratories with one being dedicated to molecular and the other to ecological studies.

The molecular labs are fully equipped for high throughput DNA-extraction on 96-well plates and all PCR-based methods such as microsatellites, AFLP, RFLP and sequencing. Several electrophoresis chambers and a digital UV-gel-documentation system help to visualize DNA. Genotyping and sequencing of the samples is undertaken in the Genetic Diversity Centre.

The Ecosystem Management group is a full member of the Genetic Diversity Centre (GDC,, which provides access to state-of-the-art facilities in molecular biology, including automated DNA-extraction (Qiagen Biorobot 3000), protein/RNA-analysis (AB RT-PCR 7000), automated cell-counting, and sequence/fragment analysis (ABI 3730). GDC is a collaboration of several research groups of the ETH and associated institutes (EAWAG, WSL) which provides access to a range of sophisticated instruments and provides a platform for the exchange of experimental experience and methodical knowledge.

The ecological lab is equipped with a range of microscopes, including a high-resolution stereomicroscope with attached digital camera. Our fluorescence microscope is used extensively for pollen tube analyses. A range of analytical and field equipment is available for ecological analyses such as measurement of leaf secondary compounds.

Through the Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, we have access to a work-shop and a dust-lab including diverse mills and an array of drying ovens for example to dry plant material prior to weight measurements.

Plant growth facilities and greenhouses

Indoor plant facilities include five walk-in climate chambers built in 2007. They are temperature, light and humidity controlled and have a planting area of 2m2 each. For smaller sample arrays or to germinate seeds there are five temperature, light and humidity controlled growth cabinets.

A sink with retention basin allows to wash roots for the final harvest.

At the ETH research station in Eschikon we have plenty of new (April 2008) greenhouse space allocated to our group. We have centrally-located outdoor planting facilities in the form of ten open top frames on the roof of the CHN building with a shelter for potting and storage space. Both the indoor planting facilities in Eschikon and the open top frames at CHN are equipped with automatic watering systems.

For experiments requiring more ‘natural’ environmental conditions, there is the possibility to use field sites at the ETH research stations in Eschikon, or in our network of experimental plots located along an altitudinal gradient from 600 to 1800 metres in the vicinity of Chur.


A high performance computer for GIS and other data intensive work is available within the group.


Wichtiger Hinweis:
Diese Website wird in älteren Versionen von Netscape ohne graphische Elemente dargestellt. Die Funktionalität der Website ist aber trotzdem gewährleistet. Wenn Sie diese Website regelmässig benutzen, empfehlen wir Ihnen, auf Ihrem Computer einen aktuellen Browser zu installieren. Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf
folgender Seite.

Important Note:
The content in this site is accessible to any browser or Internet device, however, some graphics will display correctly only in the newer versions of Netscape. To get the most out of our site we suggest you upgrade to a newer browser.
More information

© 2015 ETH Zurich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 26 March 2010