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The "Antenne romande", a local representation of WSL, was created at EPFL in 1991 as an interface between scientists and practitioners in French-speaking Switzerland. It has since been renamed "WSL Site in Lausanne" and has diversified its research activities. More than twenty staff members are employed in the ECOS Laboratory, a joint venture created in 2003 between WSL and EPFL.


The research of the laboratory ECOS is centered on the organization, functioning and dynamics of terrestrial plant, animal and microbial communities in relation to ecosystem processes. We study spatial and temporal dynamics of natural ecosystems, impact of management and direct and indirect human impacts (e.g., climate change, land-use change, invasion by alien species, atmospheric depositions, etc.), and ecological resilience and restoration.

One of our strength is the functional link between above and below-ground communities in the production of critical ecosystem services and as indicators of a changing environment. We combine descriptive field studies, manipulative experiments in the field and in the lab, and ecological modelling (correlative and predictive). Model ecosystems are natural and semi-natural man-used sensitive and altered terrestrial ecosystems (peatlands, sylvopastoral and grasslands systems, floodplains).

Our scientific inputs provide science-based guidelines for conservation, restoration and management of natural and semi-natural sensitive terrestrial ecosystems.

Research fields

  • Impact of human activities and climate change on ecosystems
  • Biotic interactions in plant communities
  • Plants - soil - soil microorganisms interactions
  • Biogeochemical cycles (carbon, nitrogen)
  • Biological invasions and resistance of plant communities
  • Ecosystem management and restoration

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