Plants and animals in a rapidly changing environment

Conservation Biology

Quantifying and conserving biodiversity is now recognized as more important than ever. We are investigating origins of biodiversity, including the analysis of patterns of diversity, and factors that mould those patterns both over evolutionary time and in the present day. Genetic analyses allow us to quantify diversity and help define appropriate units for conservation. Populations fluctuate in size, sometimes declining to extinction. An understanding of how populations are regulated is crucial for their conservation in the long term. Differences between individuals, age and sex structure of populations, and threats from disease and habitat change all affect the persistence of populations. Effective management and conservation, whether in wild or captive populations, requires an understanding of factors which contribute to population decline. Risk assessment, through various modelling approaches, can provide novel insights into population dynamics and valuable information for policy makers.

Cutting-edge research is often a result of productive, interdisciplinary collaboration. The Section of Conservation Biology aims to achieve this through a network of national and international partnerships which encompass University departments, research institutions, government and non-government bodies, zoos and a wide range of conservation groups.


Recent Publications

  • Urbanisation and forest size affect the infestation rates of plant-galling arthropods and damage by herbivorous insects
    Meyer, Sandro; Rusterholz, Hans-Peter; Baur, Bruno
    European Journal Of Entomology 117: 34-48 DOI: 10.14411/eje.2020.004  2020
  • Leaf litter decomposition and litter fauna in urban forests: Effect of the degree of urbanisation and forest size
    Meyer, Sandro; Rusterholz, Hans-Peter; Salamon, Joerg-Alfred; Baur, Bruno
    Pedobiologia 78 Article Number: 150609 DOI: 10.1016/j.pedobi.2019.150609  JAN 2020
  • Factors contributing to the decline of an endangered flightless longhorn beetle: A 20-year study
    Baur, Bruno; Coray, Armin; Lenzin, Heiner; Schmera, Denes
    Insect Conservation And Diversity, 10.1111/icad.12402, Early Access: FEB 2020
  • Defoliation of wild native box trees (Buxus sempervirens): Does box rust (Puccinia buxi) infection influence herbivory, survival and growth of the invasive Cydalima perspectalis?
    Baur, B; Jung, J; Rusterholz, HP
    JOURNAL OF APPLIED ENTOMOLOGY, 143 (7):766-775; 10.1111/jen.12640 AUG 2019
  • The invasion of an annual exotic plant species affects the above- and belowground plant diversity in deciduous forests to a different extent
    Gaggini, L; Rusterholz, HP; Baur, B
    PERSPECTIVES IN PLANT ECOLOGY EVOLUTION AND SYSTEMATICS, 38 74-83; 10.1016/j.ppees.2019.04.004 JUN 2019
  • The annual invasive plant Impatiens glandulifera reduces hyphal biomass of soil fungi in deciduous forests
    Gaggini, L; Rusterholz, HP; Baur, B
    FUNGAL ECOLOGY, 39 242-249; 10.1016/j.funeco.2018.12.004 JUN 2019
  • Genetic effects of anthropogenic habitat fragmentation on remnant animal and plant populations: a meta-analysis
    Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Braschler, Brigitte; Rusterholz, Hans-Peter; Baur, Bruno
    ECOSPHERE, 9 (10):10.1002/ecs2.2488 OCT 2018
  • Invasion of the alien shrub Prunus laurocerasus in suburban deciduous forests: Effects on native vegetation and soil properties
    Rusterholz, HP; Schneuwly, J; Baur, B
    ACTA OECOLOGICA-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 92 44-51; 10.1016/j.actao.2018.08.004 OCT 2018
  • Intensity-dependent impact of sport climbing on vascular plants and land snails on limestone cliffs
    Schmera, Denes; Rusterholz, Hans-Peter; Baur, Anette; et al.
    BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION 224:63-70  10.1016/j.biocon.2018.05.012  AUG 2018
  • Diverse effects of degree of urbanisation and forest size on species richness and functional diversity of plants, and ground surface-active ants and spiders
    Melliger, Ramona Laila; Braschler, Brigitte; Rusterholz, Hans-Peter; et al.
    PLOS ONE 13(6) 10.1371/journal.pone.e0199245  JUN 19 2018
  • The invasive plant Impatiens glandulifera affects soil fungal diversity and the bacterial community in forests
    Gaggini, Luca; Rusterholz, Hans-Peter; Baur, Bruno
    APPLIED SOIL ECOLOGY (124):335-343  10.1016/j.apsoil.2017.11.021  MAR 2018
  • Ecosystem functioning in cities: Combined effects of urbanisation and forest size on early-stage leaf litter decomposition of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) 
    Melliger, Ramona Laila; Rusterholz, Hans-Peter; Baur, Bruno 
    URBAN FORESTRY & URBAN GREENING, 28: 88-96 10.1016/j.ufug.2017.10.009   DEC 2017
  • Bridging science and practice in conservation: Deficits and challenges from a research perspective 
    Farwig, Nina; Ammer, Christian; Annighoefer, Peter; et al. 
Baur Bruno

Prof. Dr. Bruno Baur
University of Basel
Dept of Environmental Sciences – Conservation Biology
4056 Basel

Tel: +41 (0)61 207 08 29

Research topics

  • Effects of habitat alterations on biodiversity
  • Genetical effects in small populations
  • Pollination and reproductive biology of rare plant species
  • Butterfly-plant interactions
  • Spatial patterns of plant communities
  • Neighbourhood analysis



  • Computational ecology
  • Botany-Zoology
  • Theoretical approach – practical implication