Professor of Ecosystem Management

Bagchi, Robert, Dr.

Robert Bagchi

ETH Zürich
Dr. Robert Bagchi
ITES - Ecosystem Management
CHN G74.2
Universitaetstrasse 16
8092 Zürich

Phone: +41 44 632 68 05
Fax: +41 44 632 15 75

Research Interests

I am interested in the processes that maintain biodiversity in natural ecosystems (particularly in the tropics) and how human activity might affect this biodiversity. I also investigate the role of biodiversity in the provision of ecosystem functions and services. My research focuses on four, interconnected, questions:

1) What mechanisms maintain biodiversity in natural systems?
2) How is anthropogenic environmental change affecting biodiversity?
3) How does anthropogenic environmental change affect the processes that maintain species coexistence?
4) How does biodiversity influence ecosystem functioning and in particular the simultaneous provision of multiple ecosystem services?

Professional activities

Biotropica Editorial Board, 2010-present

Reviewer for professional journals: Biotropica, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Ecology Letters, Ecography, Global Change Biology, Journal of Applied Ecology, Journal of Vegetation Science, Journal of Ecology, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Nature, Oikos, Oecologia, PLoS One.

Conference organiser: British Ecological Society Tropical Ecology Group Annual Meeting, Oxford, 2008.

Selected publications:

Bagchi R, Gallery RE, Gripenberg S, Gurr SJ, Narayan L, Addis CE, Freckleton RP & Lewis OT (2014) Pathogens and insect herbivores drive rainforest plant diversity and composition Nature 506, 85-88

Gripenberg S, Bagchi R, Gallery RE, Freckleton RP, Narayan L & Lewis OT (2014) Testing for enemy‐mediated density‐dependence in the mortality of seedlings: field experiments with five Neotropical tree species. Oikos 123, 185-193

Kai Z, Woan TS, Jie L, Goodale E, Kitajima K, Bagchi R & Harrison RD (2014) Shifting Baselines on a Tropical Forest Frontier: Extirpations Drive Declines in Local Ecological Knowledge. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86598

Bagchi R, Crosby M, Huntley B, Hole DG, Butchart SHM, Collingham YC, Kalra M, Rajkumar J, Rahmani A, Pandey M, Gurung H, Trai LT, Quang NV & Willis SG (2013) Evaluating the effectiveness of conservation site networks under climate change: accounting for uncertainty. Global Change Biology 19, 1236-1248

Gamfeldt L, Snall T, Bagchi R, Jonsson M, Gustafsson L, Kjellander P, Ruiz-Jaen MC, Froberg M, Stendahl J, Philipson CD, Mikusinski G, Andersson E, Westerlund B, Andren H, Moberg F, Moen J & Bengtsson J (2013) Higher levels of multiple ecosystem services are found in forests with more tree species. Nat Commun 4, 1340

Swinfield T, Lewis OT, Bagchi R & Freckleton RP (2012) Consequences of changing rainfall for fungal pathogen-induced mortality in tropical tree seedlings. Ecology and Evolution, 2:1408-1413

Paine, CET, Stenflo, M, Philipson, CD, Saner, P, Bagchi, R, Ong, RC & Hector, A (2012) Differential growth responses in seedlings of ten species of Dipterocarpaceae to experimental shading and defoliation. J Trop. Ecol. 28:377-384

Bagchi R, et al. (2011) Impacts of logging on density dependent predation of dipterocarp seeds in a Southeast Asian rainforest. Philos. T. Roy. Soc. B.

Bagchi R, et al. (2011) Spatial patterns reveal negative density dependence and habitat associations in tropical trees. Ecology,92:1723-1729

Bagchi R, Swinfield T, Gallery RE, Lewis OT, Gripenberg S, Narayan L, Freckleton RP (2010). Testing the Janzen-Connell mechanism: pathogens cause overcompensating density dependence in a tropical tree. Ecol. Lett., 13, 1262-1269. (Cover article)

Hautier Y, Saner P, Philipson CD, Bagchi R, Ong RC, Hector A. (2010) Effects of seed predators of different body size on seed mortality in Bornean logged forest. PLoS One, 5:e11651

Hector, A, Hautier, Y, Saner, P, Wacker, L, Bagchi, R, et al. (2010) Diversity and stability:A multisite test of the insurance hypothesis using experimental grassland communities. Ecology, 91, 2213-2220

Bagchi R, Press, MC & Scholes, JD (2010) Evolutionary history and distance dependence control survival of dipterocarp seedlings. Ecol. Lett. 13:51-59

Hector, A & Bagchi, R (2007) Biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality. Nature 448:188-190

Pilkington, MG, Caporn, SJM, Carroll, JA, Cresswell, N, Lee, JA, Emmett, BA & Bagchi, R (2007) Phosphorus supply influences heathland responses to atmospheric nitrogen deposition. Environ. Pollut. 148:191-200

Dent, DH, Bagchi, R, Robinson, D, Majalap, N & Burslem, DFRP (2006) Nutrient fluxes via litterfall and leaf litter decomposition vary across a gradient of soil nutrient supply in a lowland tropical rain forest. Plant Soil 288:197-215

Wells, K & Bagchi, R (2005) Eat in or take away - seed predation and removal by rats (Muridae) during a fruiting event in a dipterocarp rainforest. Raffles B Zool, 53:125-130.

Curriculum Vitae

Visiting Scholar, Syracuse University, USA.

We were interested in the roles of biotic and abiotic drivers in determining the fine-scale distributions of tree species in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park .
Main collaborators: Jason Fridley and Mark Lesser.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Durham University, UK.

The project modelled bird distributions and predicting the response of community diversity to projected climatic change in the Eastern Himalayas and Lower Mekong
Main collaborators: Steve Willis, Brian Huntley, Mike Crosby and BirdLife International.
Funding source: MacArthur foundation

Post-Doctoral Research Associate and Departmental Lecturer, University of Oxford, UK.

We investigated the influence of insects and pathogens on maintaining coexistence of plant species in tropical forests
Main collaborators: Owen Lewis, Rob Freckleton, Sarah Gurr, Rachel Gallery, Sofia Gripenberg and Tom Swinfield.
Funding source: NERC, UK.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

This project evaluated the role of plant diversity for providing multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously
Main collaborators: Andy Hector and the Biodepth project.

Ph.D in Ecology, University of Sheffield, UK

I investigated the role of negative density dependence in maintaining tree diversity in three Southeast Asian tropical rain forests
Supervisors: Malcolm Press and Julie Scholes
Funding source: NERC, UK.

BSc. (Hons) in Ecology, Conservation and Environmental Science with a year in research, Ist class (with Distinction) University of York.

My honours thesis analysed spatial patterns of tropical trees in order to determine if there was a signal of negative density dependence
Supervisors: Richard Law


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