Department Aquatic Ecology

Phytoplankton Dynamics

© Studio Asparagus

We are part of the Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ) and the Department of Environmental Sciences at ETH Zürich. Our group is hosted by Eawag in Duebendorf, where our offices and labs are based.

Our research group focuses on understanding and predicting the effects of environmental change (including natural gradients and human-induced stress) on plankton biodiversity and aquatic ecosystem functioning. We approach the topic from a trait-based perspective to link individual and population level responses to community and ecosystem level processes. We aim at addressing high profile fundamental questions and contributing to the development of new approaches for monitoring and assessing the state of aquatic ecosystems.

Our research falls within the general theme of understanding the mechanisms that govern biodiversity in natural phytoplankton communities at different temporal and spatial scales. We are interested in the effects that anthropogenic environmental change has on biodiversity and community dynamics, and on the role that individual level variability in functional traits and phenotypes has in larger scale processes. We boldly aim at understanding the feedbacks among genes, phenotypes, populations and communities within ecosystems, the physical environment and human activity. We address our research with collaborative, cross-disciplinary efforts that include comparative surveys, high-resolution lake monitoring, outdoor mesocosms and laboratory experiments.

M.Sc. students and undergraduates are welcome.

For further information please contact Francesco Pomati.


Dr. Francesco PomatiTel. +41 58 765 5410Send Mail

Services and Downloads

We visualize and share data from our monitoring station in real time and we manage a network of automated scanning flow-cytometry users. Please click here to learn more.

Current Projects

Identification of transformation products and assessment of environmental relevance
The impact of cyanobacterial blooms triggered by nutrient pollution on aquatic environments in the context of climate change. A Romanian-Swiss collaboration.
Combining innovative approaches to phytoplankton and lake-ecosystem monitoring with community and ecosystem theory to to understand plankton-driven ecosystem processes.
One of the most important challenges in environmental toxicology is to understand how responses to chemical pollutants scale through levels of biological complexity...
Understanding how environmentally relevant exposure scenarios to water-borne micropollutants affect physiological, ecological and evolutionary responses at different spatial and temporal scales.
Complex systems theory meets big phytoplankton trait data.


Dr. Francesco PomatiTel. +41 58 765 5410Send Mail
Dr. Marie-Eve MonchampPostdoctoral ResearcherTel. +41 58 765 6728Send Mail
Dr. Michael StravsPostdoctoral scientistTel. +41 58 765 6742Send Mail
Hannele PensonTel. +41 58 765 6731Send Mail
Daniel SteinerTel. +41 58 765 2118Send Mail
Christian EbiTel. +41 58 765 5992Send Mail
Marco ThaliTel. +41 58 765 5796Send Mail
Marta ReyesResearch TechnicianTel. +41 58 765 6725Send Mail
Marta ReyesResearch TechnicianTel. +41 58 765 6725Send Mail