Professor of Ecosystem Management

Kettle, Chris J, Group Leader, Dr

Chris J Kettle

ETH Zürich
Group Leader, Dr Chris J Kettle
Ecosystem Management
CHN G 75.1
Universitaetstrasse 16
8092 Zürich

Phone: +41 44 632 31 95

Research Interests

I lead the Molecular Ecology and Conservation Genetics within the Ecosystem Management Group. You can view my personal webpage, my google scholar citations and my ResearchGate profile here. My research aims to advance our understanding of how habitat degradation, especially fragmentation impacts on plant biodiversity. I divide my research into three core areas, plant reproduction and the genetic consequences of habitat fragmentation, trees species coexistence in tropical forest and tropical forest restoration. Across all of these themes I apply a combination of molecular and traditional ecological approaches to address fundamental research questions, applicable to the sustainable management of natural systems. For more details you can download my full CV here.



2013 - 2016 (PI*)
Demographic and genetic processes underlying regeneration in coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) the largest seeded plant in the World. PhD Student (Emma Morgan)

2011 - 2014 (Co-supervisor*)
Spatial Genetic Structure and Carbon Sequestration in Bornean Tropical Forests (James Smith)

2010 - 2013 (Co-supervisor*)
Genetic processes underlying species coexistence in tropical rain forests: is competition intensity shaped by genetic relatedness? Phd Student Claire Tito de Morais.

2009 – 2010 (Collaborator)
In collaboration with Dr. Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury I am also applying conservation genetics to better understand the reproductive ecology of the world-famous double coconut Lodoicea maldivica, which has the largest seeds in the world.

2008 – 2012 (PI*)
Synergies between fragmentation and habitat patch degradation: implications for species and population viability. PhD Student Sascha Ismail

2008 – 2011 (Co-supervisor*)
Ecological and genetic processes underlying Allee effects among plant populations in the context of divergent population histories. PhD student Aline Finger

2007 – 2011 (Co-supervisor with Andrea Pluess)
I co-supervise three Phd students, Philippe Matter, Esther Frei and Thomas Hahn. This forms part of the In the framework of CCES BIOCHANGE project investigating local adaptation and population response to climate change in Alpine plants.

2006 – 2009 (Postdoc)
Working with Dr. David Burslem, Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul and Dr. Pete Hollingsworth Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (UK) this project investigated gene flow and niche partitioning of pollinators as a mechanism for species coexistence in important timber species of the Dipterocarps of Sabah.

*Co-supervised with Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul

Professional activities

Editorial Board, Biotropica (2011 - current)

Associate Editor, Plant Ecology and Diversity (2012 - current)

Regularly refereeing for Journals: Molecular Ecology (2007 -); Evolution (2009,2010); Heredity (2008-); Evolutionary Ecology (2009,2011); Biological Conservation (2009-); Conservation Genetics (2008-); Journal of Ecology (2009,2010); Biotropica (2006-2011); American Journal of Botany (2008-2011); and Tropical Plant Biology (2009,2010).

Selected publications:


Chris Kettle and Lian Pin Koh: Global Forest Fragmentation. 2014 (Book) Published by CABI currently in press

Ismail S.A., Ghazoul J., Ravikanth G., Kushalappa C.G., Uma Shaanker R., Kettle C.J. (2014) Forest trees in human modified landscapes: ecological and genetic drivers of recruitment failure in Dysoxylum malabaricum (Meliaceae). PloS One

Ismail S.A., Ghazoul J., Ravikanth G., Kushalappa C.G., Uma Shaanker R., Kettle C.J. (2014) Genetic responses of Vateria indica to fragmentation: Implications for seed sourcing and forest restoration of an endemic dipterocarp. Conservation Genetics

Matter, P., Kettle, C.J., Ghazoul, J., Frei,E., and Pluess, A.R., (2014) Geographic distance is more relevant than altitude in patterns of outbreeding in Ranunculus bulbosus. Journal of Ecology


Matter P, Kettle CJ, Ghazoul J, Pluess AR. (2013)Extensive contemporary pollen-mediated gene flow in two herb species, Ranunculus bulbosus and Trifolium montanum, along an altitudinal gradient in a meadow landscape. Annal of Botany. 111(4):611-21. doi: 10.1093/aob/mct021.

Hahn, T., Kettle, C.J., Ghazoul, J., Frei, E., Matter, P., and Pluess, A.R. (2013) Landscape composition has limited impact on local genetic structure in mountain clover, Trifolium montanum L. Journal of Heredity (in press).

Ismail, Sascha A.; Buser, Andres; Shaanker, R. Uma; Ravikanth, G ; Ghazoul, J; Kettle, CJ (2013) Development of polymorphic microsatellite markers for the critically endangered and endemic Indian dipterocarp, Vateria indica L. (Dipterocarpaceae) CONSERVATION GENETICS RESOURCES Volume: 5 Issue: 2 Pages: 465-467 DOI: 10.1007/s12686-012-9829-9 (PDF)

Matter, P., Kettle, C.J., Ghazoul, J., Hahn, T., and Pluess, A.R., (2013) Pollen dispersal in two grassland species Ranunculus bulbosus L. (Ranunculaceae) and Trifolium montanum L. (Fabaceae) using an experimental approach. Plant Biology Volume: 15 Issue: 3 Pages: 583-592 DOI: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.2012.00667.x (PDF)

Matter, P., Määttänen, K., Kettle, C.J., Ghazoul, J., and Pluess, A.R., (2013) A new set of microsatellites for Trifolium montanum (Fabaceae), consisting of seven species-specific and four transferred from T. repens1. American journal of Botany Volume: 111 Issue: 4 Pages: 611-621 DOI: 10.1093/aob/mct021 (PDF) .

Kettle, C.J. and Finger A., Fragmentation genetics in the Tropics. (2013) Conservation Genetic Resources. Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Pages: 299-301 (DOI) 10.1007/s12686-012-9771-x (PDF)


Ismail, S. A., Ghazoul, J. Ravikanth, G. Shaanker, R. Uma Kushalappa, C.G. and Kettle C.J. (2012) 'Does long distance pollen dispersal preclude inbreeding in tropical trees? Fragmentation genetics of Dysoxylum malabaricum in an agro-forest landscape'. (accepted), Molecular Ecology Volume: 21 Issue: 22 Pages: 5484-5496 (PDF)

Maycock, C. R., Khoo, E., Kettle, C. J., Pereira, J.T., Sugau, J. B., Nilus, R., Ong, R. C., Amaludin, N. A., and Burslem, D.F.R.P. (2012) The conservation status of Dipterocarpus lamellatus Hook.f. and Dipterocarpus ochraceus Meijer in Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Forest Science 158. Volume: 28. Issue: 3. 2012 (PDF).

Matter, P., Määttänen, K., Kettle, C.J. Ghazoul, J., and Pluess, A.R., (2012). A new set of microsatellites for Trifolium montanum (Fabaceae), consisting of seven species-specific and four transferred from T. repens1. American journal of Botany Volume: 99 Issue: 11 Pages: E447-E449 (PDF).

Matter, P., Pluess, A.R., Ghazoul, J., and Kettle, C.J. (2012) Eight new microsatellite markers for the bulbous buttercup Ranunculus bulbosus L. (Ranunculaceae)1. American journal of Botany Volume: 99 Issue: 10 Pages: E399-E401 (PDF).

Hahn, T., Kettle, C.J., Ghazoul, J., Frei, E., Matter, P., and Pluess, A.R. (2012) Patterns of genetic variation across altitude in three plant species of semi-natural grasslands PloS One. Volume: 7 Issue: 8 Article Number: e41608 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041608 (PDF)

Kettle, C.J., (2012) Seeding Ecological restoration of tropical forests: priority setting under REDD+ Biological Conservation Volume: 154 Special Issue: SI Pages: 34-41 (PDF) (PDF)

Ashton, PA., and Kettle, C. J. (2012) Dipterocarp Biology as a window to the understanding of tropical forest structure: where are we looking now? Biotropica Volume: 44 Issue: 5 Pages: 575-576 (PDF)

Kettle, C.J., Maycock, C. R., and Burslem F.R.P., 2012 New Directions in Dipterocarp biology and conservation: a synthesis. Biotropica Volume: 44 Issue: 5 Pages: 658-660 (PDF)

Finger, A., Kettle C.J., Kaiser-Bunbury C.N., Valentin, T., Dudee, D., Matatiken, D., and Ghazoul, J. (2012) Forest fragmentation genetics in a formerly widespread island endemic tree: Vateriopsis seychellarum (Dipterocarpaceae). Molecular Ecology Volume: 21 Issue: 10 Pages: 2369-2382 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05543.x (PDF)

Koh, LP., Sheil, D., Lee TM., Giam X., Gibson L., Clements GR., Kettle CJ., (2012). Chapter 431. Biodiversity state and trends in South East Asia. In Encyclopedia of Biodiversity (edited by SA Levin), Elsevier

Maycock C. R., Kettle C. J., Khoo E., Pereira J. T., Sugau J. B., Nilus R., Ong R. C., Amaludin N.A., Newman M. F. & Burslem D.F.R.P. (2012) A Revised Conservation Assessment of Dipterocarps in Sabah. Biotropica Vol 44; Issue 5, pp649-657 (PDF)


Kettle C.J., (2011) BOOK REVIEW Management of Forest Landscapes for Biodiversity Conservation. Monitoring Forest Biodiversity: Improving Conservation Through Ecologically Responsible Management By Toby Gardner. Biotropica (PDF)

Finger A., Kaiser-Bunbury C.N. & Kettle C.J. (2011) Development of polymorphic microsatellite markers of the Seychelles endemic tree Glionnetia sericea (Rubiaceae). Conservation Genetics Recourses. DOI 10.1007/s12686-011-9515-3 (PDF)

Pluess, A.R., Frei E., Kettle, C.J., Hahn, T. & Ghazoul J. (2011) Plant growth and fitness of Scabiosa columbaria under climate warming conditions. Plant Ecology & Diversity, available online Sep. 1st DOI: 10.1080/17550874.2011.618848

Kettle, C. J., Ennos, R.A., Jaffré, T., McCoy, S., Gardner, M.F., Le Borgne, T., & Hollingsworth, P.M. (2011) Importance of demography and dispersal for the resilience and restoration of a critically endangered tropical conifer Araucaria nemorosa. Diversity and Distributions DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00835.x (PDF)

Finger A., Kettle C. J., Kaiser-Bunbury C. N., Valentin T., Dudee D., Matatiken D. and Ghazoul J. (2011) Back from the brink: potential for genetic rescue in a critically endangered tree. Molecular Ecology DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05228.x (PDF)

Kettle, C. J., Burslem, F.R.P., Ghazoul, J. (2011) An Unorthodox Approach to Forest Restoration. Science 333(6038): 36 DOI:10.1126/science.333.6038.36 (PDF)

Kettle, C. J., Maycock C.R., Ghazoul J., Hollingsworth P.M., Khoo, E., Sukri, R. & Burslem, D.F.R.P. (2011) Flower size and differential pollination success in tropical forest trees PLoS ONE 6(2): e16111. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016111 (PDF)

Kettle, C. J., Ghazoul, J., Koh, L. P., Burslem, D. et al. (2011) Seeing the fruit for the trees in Borneo. Conservation Letters. DOI:doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2010.00161.x (PDF)

Kettle, C. J. Make a Bid for Bird Biodiversity. Science 331(6015): 282 (PDF)

Fleischer-Dogley F., Kettle, C. J. Edwards, P., Ghazoul, J., Määttänen, K., and Kaiser-Bunbury, C. (2011) Morphological and genetic differentiation between populations of coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) in the Seychelles – implications for conservation and management. Diversity and Distributions. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2010.00732 (PDF)


Kettle, C. J. Hollingsworth P.M., Burslem, D.F.R.P., Maycock C.R., Khoo, E. & Ghazoul, J. (2010) Determinants of fine-scale spatial genetic structure in three co-occurring rain forest canopy trees in Borneo Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics doi:10.1016/j.ppees.2010.11.002 (PDF)

Kettle, C. J., Ghazoul, J., Ashton, P., Cannon, C., Burslem, DFRP., et al. (2010) Mass fruiting in Borneo: a missed opportunity. Science 330:584. (PDF)

Kettle, C. J. (2010) Sowing Seeds for REDD+ Science (August 3rd eLetter) (link, PDF).

Kettle, C. J. (2010) Ecological considerations for restoration of lowland dipterocarp forests in Southeast Asia. Special issue of Biodiversity and Conservation 19: 1137-1151. (PDF)

Finger, A., Ismail, S., Ghazoul, J. & Kettle, C.J. (2010) Development of polymorphic microsatellite markers of the endangered and endemic Vateriopsis seychellarum (Dipterocarpaceae), a relict canopy tree of the Seychelles. Conservation Genetic Resources 2, Supplement 1, 309-311 Doi: 10.1007/s12686-010-9213-6 (PDF)


Finger, A., Ghazoul, J., Todd, M., Kaiser-Bunbury C. & Kettle, C.J. (2010) Development of thirteen polymorphic microsatellite markers for the Seychelles endangered and endemic jellyfish tree Medusagyne oppositifolia (Medusagynaceae). Conservation genetic resources 2:173–175, DOI 10.1007/s12686-009-9120-x. (PDF)

Pre 2009

Kettle, C. J., Ennos, R.A., Jaffré, T., Gardner, M.F., & Hollingsworth, P.M., (2008) Cryptic genetic bottlenecks during restoration of an endangered tropical conifer Biological Conservation 141(8): 1953-1961. (PDF).

Kettle, C. J., Hollingsworth, P.M., Jaffré, T., Moran, B., & Ennos, R.A. (2007) Identifying the early genetic consequences of habitat degradation in a highly threatened tropical conifer, Araucaria nemorosa (Laubenfels). Molecular Ecology 16:3581-3591. (PDF).

Robertson, A., Hollingsworth, P. M., Kettle, C. J., Ennos, R. A. & Gardner, M.F. (2004) Characterization of nuclear microsatellites in New Caledonian Araucaria species. Molecular Ecology 4(1): 62-63

Brief Curriculum Vitae

Group Leader in Conservation Genetics (2013 - tenure) ETH Zurich Oberassistent (2010 – 2013) ETH Zurich

I supervise six PhD students here at ETH as outlined above, as well as pursuing my own research on tropical tree reproductive ecology and conservation genetics.

Lecturer (2009 - current) ETH Zurich

I am responsible for running the MSc course Managing Ecosystems for Resilience and Resistance.

NERC funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2006-2009) University of Aberdeen

Working with Dr. David Burslem (UoA), Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul (ETH Zurich) and Dr. Pete Hollingsworth Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh this project investigated gene flow and niche partitioning of pollinators as a mechanism for species coexistence in important timber species of the Dipterocarps of Sabah.

PhD - Conservation Genetics (2001-2005)

University of Edinburgh, U.K. (NERC funded). (Supervisors: Dr Richard Ennos and Dr Pete Hollingsworth). Title: ‘Conservation Genetics of New Caledonian Araucaria’.

B Sc. - Ecological Science Honours Ecology (1st) (1997-2001)

University of Edinburgh, U.K
Awards: Harry Younger medal for Practical Forestry, Best dissertation.
Title: Founder Effects and Genetic Structure of Sorbus aucuparia (L.) Planting Stock of a Native Woodland Restoration Project.


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