The division of conservation biology investigates major mechanisms involved in the degradation of ecosystems and in the decline of threatened species. The main objective is to propose sound conservation guidance for stopping biodiversity erosion, i.e. restoring ecosystems and populations. A further overarching objective is to bridge the wide gap that exists between research and practice, a major challenge of Conservation Biology. Research in our division is thus mostly practice-oriented and solution-driven, with a major focus on the ecology of threatened biodiversity in farmland, woodland and Alpine ecosystems. We also include analyses of the attitude of various stakeholders towards biodiversity and the use of natural resources. Our research thus consists of field observations and real-field experiments, covering a great variety of topics, from population biology of rare, emblematic species of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates to community ecology of grasslands, forests and river ecosystems, and even political issues around biodiversity. It typically combines community ecology approaches and species-specific approaches, which enables embracing the overall complexity of an ecosystem and its functionalities, from biomass productivity, population abundance and species diversity at the lower trophic levels, through functional groups and guilds of consumers at intermediate levels, up to emblematic apex predators. Various modern methods are applied to extract the essential information, such as resource selection, spatial modelling, population dynamical studies, genetic analyses, socio-ecological inquiries, etc. Results lead to tangible guidelines for conservation management. Joint ventures with practitioners and collaborations with stakeholders guarantee that the recommendations drawn from our research are effectively implemented to promote biodiversity, which certainly makes this division standing out from other conventional academic research units.
News and Events
Unser Uni Bern Kollege A. Margalida über die Funktion der Geier in der "Naturhygiene" und ihre Gefährdung durch Tiermedikamente
TV report (W wie Wissen, 6'49) on das Erste (in German) On the ecosystem services provided by vultures and why certain veterinary products put these birds at risk.
"La préservation de la biodiversité suisse passe derrière l'économie"
Interview, RTS (25', French)La préservation de la biodiversité suisse passe derrière l'économie
Poster prize for Conservation Biology Division
On the occasion of an international symposium recently organised in Italy by the European Grassland Federation members from the Conservation Biology group (together with collaborators from other institutions) have been awarded a prize for best poster. The poster treats specific effects of irrigation on the availability of phosphorous in dry grassland, one of the findings resulting from our Alpine grassland project: Poster (PDF)
Alpine Grassland Project (Link)
Congrats for this fine achievement!
Raphaël Arlettaz on TV
Interview at Canal9 (“Humain passionnément”, French)About his life-long commitment to biodiversity conservation
Interview on Swiss French TVWhere and how to protect nature (French)
Raphaël Arlettaz and François Biollaz on Commentaires.com
Paper about desinformation about apex predators in Valais
Integrating genetic and stable isotope analyses to infer Snowfinch population’s connectivity
A recently published study conducted at the University of Bern in collaboration with researchers from Spain, Canada and Italy has investigated the population structure and seasonal movements of the White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis, one of the most characteristic passerines of alpine habitats in Europe. By combining genetic and isotopic analyses this study examined past exchange among the 3 westernmost European breeding populations, and current winter movements of Alpine birds to the Pyrenees. This is an important step for better appraising the species’ metapopulation dynamics and guiding conservation efforts. New post at the British Ornithologist Union (BOU) blog. Picture credit by (c) Ignasi Toranzo
Exceptionally low lynx density in Valais
A study conducted by the University of Bern in the past five winters has revealed an exceptionally low density of lynx in the canton of Valais. This result contrasts with density measured in other mountainous areas of Switzerland, as well as with the situation in Valais in the 1980s. Ongoing investigations tests different hypotheses for this low population density. Poaching might well be the most plausible cause according to the scientists. (28.11.2016)
Volz Prize 2016 awarded to Laura Bruppacher (MSc)
The 2016 edition of the Volz Prize for the best publication arising from a MSc thesis accomplished at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of Bern University has been awarded to a former MSc student of Conservation Biology Division, Laura Bruppacher.
In her paper entitled „Simple modifications of mowing regime promote butterflies in extensively managed meadows: Evidence from field-scale experiments“ and published in Biological Conservation Laura Bruppacher presents the results from her MSc thesis where she was able to demonstrate positive effects on butterfly populations by the implementation of simple changes in the treatment of extensively managed meadows.
For more detailed informations please have a look at the publication: (PDF, 577 KB)
On December 13th 2016 at 16:15 the official awards ceremony will take place in Bern at the Haller Auditorium (Baltzerstrasse 1, 2nd floor).
Bernese Prize for Environmental Research 2015/16
Bernese Prize for Environmental Research 2015/16 awarded to Dr Pierrick Buri, former PhD student of the Division of Conservation Biology!
Pierrick got the prestigious prize for his paper on the promotion of pollinating insects in the intensified agricultural space: (PDF, 294KB)
Dr Buri is the third member of our research group who has been considered for this award in the past eight years.
On March 17th 2016 at 17:15 the official awards ceremony will take place in Bern at the UniS building (Schanzeneckstrasse 1, main lecture hall).