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Dr. Michael Nobis



scientific staff member


Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi HL E 32


Main research interests

  • Macroecology - large-scale analyzes of spatial patterns, ecology and dynamics of biodiversity (focus on Switzerland and vascular plants but also including analyzes from global to landscape scales)
  • Trait analyses - relationships between biological traits and the environment
  • Biological invasions - distribution and dynamics of non-native vascular plants in Switzerland
  • Ecoinformatics - software development for applications in ecology

Current and previous positions

   since 2011 Research group «Dynamic Macroecology» (project leader & deputy head), research unit «Landscape Dynamics» (M. Bürgi, until 2013 N. Zimmermann)
   2006-2010 Head of the research group «Spatial ecology», research unit «Biodiversity and Conservation Biology» (C. Scheidegger)
   2001-2006 Scientist at the Swiss Federal Research Institut WSL, research unit «Landscape Dynamics and Spatial Development» (F. Kienast)
   1999-2001 Scientific assistant, University of Darmstadt, Institute of Botany (A. Schwabe-Kratochwil)
   1995-1999 PhD, University of Freiburg, Germany (O. Wilmanns)

Scientific commissions & Editorial boards

  • Info Flora: Since 2012 member of the scientific commission. Prior to this member of the Swiss Commission of Wild Plant Conservation CPS/SKEW (2006-2011). Collaboration on the revision of the Black & Watch-List of non-native invasive plants.
  • FloZ:Commission of the citizen-science project for the floristic mapping of the canton of Zurich.
  • Phytocoenologia: Editorial board; Phytocoenologia is published in collaboration with the 'International Association of Vegetation Science' (IAVS).


  • Guest lectureships at the University of Freiburg, Germany (Institute of Biology II, Geobotany), University of Göttingen (Albrecht von Haller Institute of Plant Sciences), Chales University Prague/Pruhonice (Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic), University of Tübingen (Institute of Geosciences, Geoecology).


  • KISSMig. A simple model to simulate species migration and range dynamics for the free software environment R.
  • Flora indicativa - E. Landolt et al. - 2010 - Ecological Indicator Values and Biological Attributes of the Flora of Switzerland and the Alps.
  • SideLook - a software tool for the analysis of vertical vegetation structure based on digital images. It is mainly used for grassland communities but also in forest stands (hemispherical canopy-photographs). SideLook has been registered so far by more than 250 scientists from 28 countries.