In the Plant Ecology group at ETH Zurich, we are fascinated by the ecological and evolutionary forces that shape species' distributions and plant community structure and functioning. Understanding the constraints on species' range margins and community composition is not only a long-standing goal of basic ecological research, it is also central to predicting impacts of global change – for example from biological invasions or climate change – on ecosystems. We combine experiments with observations across environmental gradients to test and develop ecological theory, and to characterise how plant communities and ecosystem processes shift under the novel conditions engendered by global change. Our research focuses on three core questions:
How do biotic interactions influence the responses of species and ecosystems to climate change?
What limits the spread and impacts of invasive species?
Can species evolve in the face of rapidly changing climate?