Research interests

I am interested in the intra- and inter-annual growth of trees, shrubs and non-woody plants, and the intrinsic and extrinsic processes and factors influencing it. Form fits function – with this basic concept in mind, I investigate anatomical properties of cells in the xylem and other tissues and combine them with physiological measurements to learn about how tree and plant function, particularly regarding water and carbon relations. Using dated tree rings, I gain detailed insight into how trees have grown over centuries and how this has been influenced by the environment (dendroecology), and conversely, I infer past climate from past tree growth (dendroclimatology). Furthermore, I am interested in linking tree and plant responses to climate and other environmental changes to better understand forest ecosystems and plant communities in the past, present and future.

Teaching

  • Tree rings and climate (KSL 483380), Graduate School of Climate Sciences, University of Bern (OCCR) (1.5 ECTS)
  • Wood Structure & Function (101-0637-10L), Civil Engineering Master & Environmental Sciences Master, ETH Zurich (3 ECTS)
  • Dendroecology (701-1682-00L), Environmental Sciences Master, ETH Zurich (3 ECTS)
  • International training school "Quantitative Wood Anatomy using ROXAS – from samples to data" (further information) (KSL 482468), Graduate School of Climate Sciences, University of Bern (OCCR) (2 ECTS)

Software

ROXAS is a tool for the quantitative analysis of cell anatomical features such as lumen area, cell wall thickness and cell topology in trees (angiosperms and conifers), shrubs and herbaceous plants. Many options for optimizing and customizing the analysis help to produce high-quality anatomical data with comparably little effort. Data output is for each cell, as well as in summarized form for each annual ring. Read more...

Biosketch

Professional experiences

Since 2017 Head of Dendrosciencies Research Group, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (Birmensdorf, Switzerland)
2013 - 2017 Scientific staff member at Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (Birmensdorf, Switzerland)
2010 - 2013 Postdoc at Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (Birmensdorf, Switzerland)
2009 - 2010 Project management at Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences SATW (Zurich, Switzerland)
2007 - 2008 Postdoc at Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research / School of Natural Ressources, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ, USA)
2006 - 2007 Image analysis project «ROXAS», funded by the Velux Stiftung (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
2005 - 2006 High school teaching in Biology and Chemistry at Paedagogische Maturitaetsschule (Kreuzlingen, Switzerland)

Education

2021 Habiliation (PD), University of Bern
2007         Degree as a high school teacher in biology, ETH Zurich
2005 PhD thesis, Geobotanical Institute, ETH Zurich
2001 Master thesis, Geobotanical Institute, ETH Zurich

Projects