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Institut für Systematische und Evolutionäre Botanik

Reto Nyffeler

Reto Nyffeler, PD Dr.

  • Herbarium Curator of Phanerogams
+41 (0)44 634 84 42

Research Interests

My general interests are in plant systematics, biogeography, and conceptual and methodological issues in phylogenetics and comparative evolutionary biology. My empirical work is focussing on the diversity of succulent plants (Adaptation and diversification of succulent plants). Currently, most projects are investigating the systematics and evolutionary biology of different groups of cacti. These projects are conducted in close collaboration with the Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich. In addition, I have particular interests in the floristics and biogeography of alpine regions and in the systematics of Campanulaceae, Asteraceae and Ranunculaceae.


  • Lecturer and herbarium curator at the University of Zurich (since 2002)
  • Post-doctoral student at Stanford University (2000 - 2001)
  • Post-doctoral student and Mercer fellow of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University (1997 - 2000)
  • Ph.D. student at the Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zürich (1994 - 1997)
  • Computer programmer and lecturer at a private engineering company in Suhr, Switzerland (1992 - 1994)
  • Diploma student at the Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zürich (1988 - 1991)

Postdoc Advisors

David D. Ackerly, University of California, Berkeley
David D. Baum, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Current Projects

  • Molecular systematics of Cactaceae
  • Molecular phylogenetics, taxonomy, and biogeography of Parodia (Cactaceae)

PhD Students

Anita Lendel (2013)
Phylogenetics and growth form evolution in the tribe Trichocereeae (Cactaceae)

Master Students

Danielle Sombra Stäheli (2006)
Paula Rodriguez (2006)
Eva Frei (2007)
Janine Vogel (2008)
Barbara Wenk (2008)
Samuel Eberhardt (2011)
Marco Kreuzer (2012)
Patricia von Flüe (2013)
Carmen Hiltebrand (2014)
Lea Bona (2014)
Rebecca Kurz (2015)
Julia Rittmann (2016)
Natascha Villiger (2017)
Jasmin Ducry (2018)
Tobias Moser (2018)

Selected Publications