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Dr. Dirk Karger



collaborateur scientifique


Institut fédéral de recherches sur la forêt, la neige et le paysage WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi HL E 23


Research Interest

I am a senior researcher at the interface of macroecology, biodiversity research, and climatology. My research focuses on how climate and biodiversity are linked in time and space. A focus of my recent work has been the development of algorithms to downscale climate data to the biologically relevant scales needed for ecological studies. I am currently studying how extreme weather and extreme events, such as megadroughts, affect vegetation and biodiversity. I have also done extensive work on the geography and biodiversity of cloud forest ecosystems in the tropics and the biogeography of tropical islands.  


Macroecology and Biodiversity

Understanding and modelling of biodiversity in mountain ecosystems globally

Climate impacts

Impacts of climate on biodiversity, hydrology, and vegetation

Climate downscaling

Development of climate downscaling algorithms and high resolution climate data products


News & Recent Publications


01.05.23: Victor Boussange joins the team

Victor will work on the FeedBaCks project, parameterizing species rarefaction curves using advanced machine learning for application in earth system modelling


14.04.2023: New publication in Ecography

Here we present the chelsa-cmip6 python package that offers simple access to CMIP6 and downscales it to 1km.


15.03.23: Franziska Zilker joins the team

Franziska started as a technical specialist on climate downscaling for CHELSA and related projects


20.02.23: New publication in Climate of the Past

Here we present a global high-resolution (1 km) temperature and precipitation timeseries since the Last Glacial Maximum


11.02.2023: SRF Wissenschaftsmagazin

In order to estimate how the earth's flora will change with global warming, or how the level of reservoirs will develop, the most accurate climate data possible is needed from every point on the globe. Increasingly, these data are coming from Birmensdorf.


20.01.2023: New publication in Nature Communications

In this outcome of the FeedBaCks project, we show that climate is increasingly important for plant traits the more we go into specific habitats.


16.02.2023: New publication in Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Review about the use of environmental data, sampling designs, and statistical frameworks in population genetics.


22.12.22: New publication in Journal of Vegetation Science

We present new Ellenbergs indicator values for European plants that rank plant species according to their ecological optima on main environmental gradients


16.12.22: New publication in Earth System Science Data

Here we present the new CHELSA-BIOCLIM+ dataset of improved and extended bioclimatic variables at 1km resolution globally


Additional information