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Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany

Research groups

Main topics


Phylogenetics and Biogeography

For the study of plant diversity the reconstruction of genealogical relationships among populations and species is essential. We reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships of the diversity of plants with contemporary analytical methods on the basis of comparative molecular and morphological data. Futhermore, we use these insights to study the geographic distribution of plants and their variation in characteristics over the globe.

Research groups:

E. Conti, R. Nyffeler


Pollination and mating systems

Plants as sessile organisms need vectors for the transfer of gametes. We investigate adaptations that mediate the interactions of pollinators and plants, and further enhance outcrossing and reproductive isolation.

Research groups:

F. Schiestl, E. Conti, M. Kessler


Taxonomy and floristics

Classification systems provide the reference system on which all knowledge about plant diversity hinges. We investigate the description, naming, identification and classification of plants. Our research further focuses on the distribution and relationships of plant species over geographic areas.

Research groups

M. Kessler, R. Nyffeler


Functional and comparative morphology

The wide range in plant architecture and floral morphology is the foundation of the diversity of life. We investigate morphological and anatomical characteristics of vegetative and reproductive structures in order to document and explain the structural diversity in plants and their differentiation.

Research groups

P. Endress

Ecology of plant communities

Many biotic and abiotic factors determine the composition of plant communities. We investigate these factors and their influence on the diversity and functionality of ecosystems.

Research groups

M. Kessler



From Switzerland, around 1,100 species of bryophytes are known. This makes Switzerland a European hotspot for bryophytes. We investigate the distribution and ecology of each species, carry out monitoring programs and create digital determination aids and species descriptions. Furthermore, we are interested in all matters concerning bryophyte conservation.

Research groups



Conservation and sustainable use

Some plant are threatened by human use. We study the decline of plant species and its causes. Further we investigate techniques to conserve rare and endangered plants and for their sustainable use.

Research groups

C. Weckerle

Weiterführende Informationen


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