Department Systems Analysis, Integrated Assessment and Modelling

Analysing recent developments in abundance, biomass and species richness of aquatic and terrestrial insects

This project contributes to the Blue-Green Biodiversity Research Initiative – an Eawag-WSL collaboration focusing on Biodiversity at the interface of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

We study recent developments in insect abundance, biomass and species richness in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of Switzerland. We analyse multi-year time series on terrestrial (RBA, 2000-2007) and aquatic (BDM, 2009-2018) insect data from the last 20 years. Ultimately and if time allows, we strive to interlink these results with population trends of insectivorous bird species dependent on aquatic or terrestrial habitats. The project will (1) provide important evidence on recent developments in aquatic and terrestrial insect abundance and richness in Switzerland, (2) establish the relationship with important environmental factors, and (3) provide important evidence-based information for decision and policy makers on the urgency of conservation measures for insect communities.

Project Website at WSL


Gebert, F., Bollmann, K., Schuwirth, N., Duelli, P., Weber, D., & Obrist, M. K. (2023): Similar temporal patterns in insect richness, abundance and biomass across major habitat types. Insect Conservation and Diversity,17(1), 139-154.

Gebert F, Obrist MK, Siber R, Altermatt F, Bollmann K, Schuwirth N. (2022): Recent trends in stream macroinvertebrates: warm-adapted and pesticide-tolerant taxa increase in richness. Biology Letters, 18: 20210513.

Gebert, F., Bollmann, K., Siber, R., & Schuwirth, N. (2022): Zeitliche Trends von Makroinvertebraten. Kantonale und nationale Monitoringdaten im Vergleich. Aqua & Gas, 102(10), 76-82.  Institutional Repository




Dr. Nele Schuwirth Head of Department and Group Leader (she/her) Tel. +41 58 765 5528 Send Mail

Project Team

Dr. Kurt Bollmann (WSL), Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Nele Schuwirth (Eawag), Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Friederike Gebert (WSL/Eawag), Postdoc


Dr. Martin Obrist  (WSL)

Rosi Siber  (Eawag)

Prof. Dr. Florian Altermatt (Eawag)


Project Duration




This project received funding from the ETH board through the Blue-Green Biodiversity Initiative (BGB2020) and from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).