Niklaus E Zimmermann

Niklaus E Zimmermann
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL | WSL · Landscape Dynamics Research Unit

PhD

About

432
Publications
209,441
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Introduction
I am a macroecologist, interested in evolutionary and trait-based approaches to understand species and biodiversity patterns, and how these biota respond to global change.

Publications

Publications (432)
Article
Full-text available
Why are some introduced species more successful at establishing and spreading than others? Until now, characteristics of extant species have been intensively investigated to answer this question. We propose to gain new insights on species invasiveness by exploring the long-term biogeographic and evolutionary history of lineages. We exemplify our ap...
Article
Full-text available
Phenotypic traits and their associated trade-offs have been shown to have globally consistent effects on individual plant physiological functions, but how these effects scale up to influence competition, a key driver of community assembly in terrestrial vegetation, has remained unclear. Here we use growth data from more than 3 million trees in over...
Article
Full-text available
European forests, covering more than 2 mio km2 or 32% of the land surface1, are to a large extent intensively managed and support an important timber industry. Climate change is expected to strongly effect tree species distribution within these forests2,3. Climate and land use are currently undergoing rapid changes4, with initial range shifts alrea...
Article
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Understanding niche evolution, dynamics, and the response of species to climate change requires knowledge of the determinants of the environmental niche and species range limits. Mean values of climatic variables are often used in such analyses. In contrast, the increasing frequency of climate extremes suggests the importance of understanding their...
Preprint
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Human impacts such as habitat loss, climate change and biological invasions are radically altering biodiversity, with even greater effects projected into the future. Evidence suggests human impacts may differ substantially between terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, but the reasons for these differences are poorly understood. We propose an integ...
Preprint
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A multitude of physical and biological processes on which ecosystems and human societies depend are governed by climatic conditions. Understanding how these processes are altered by climate change is central to mitigation efforts. Based on mechanistically downscaled climate data, we developed a set of climate-related variables at yet unprecedented...
Preprint
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Early natural historians - Compte de Buffon, von Humboldt and De Candolle - established ecology and geography as two principal axes determining the distribution of groups of organisms, laying the foundations for biogeography over the subsequent 200 years, yet the relative importance of these two axes remains unresolved. Leveraging phylogenomic and...
Article
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There is still limited consensus on the evolutionary history of species-rich temperate alpine floras due to a lack of comparable and high-quality phylogenetic data covering multiple plant lineages. Here we reconstructed when and how European alpine plant lineages diversified, i.e., the tempo and drivers of speciation events. We performed full-plast...
Article
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Outside controlled experimental plots, the impact of community attributes on primary productivity has rarely been compared to that of individual species. Here, we identified plant species of high importance for productivity (key species) in >29,000 diverse grassland communities in the European Alps, and compared their effects with those of communit...
Article
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The documentation of biodiversity distribution through species range identification is crucial for macroecology, biogeography, conservation, and restoration. However, for plants, species range maps remain scarce and often inaccurate. We present a novel approach to map species ranges at a global scale, integrating polygon mapping and species distrib...
Preprint
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Predictions from species distribution models (SDMs) that rely on presence-only data are strongly influenced by how pseudo-absences are derived. However, which strategies to generate pseudo-absences give rise to faithful SDMs in complex mountainous terrain, and whether species-specific or generic strategies perform better remain open questions. Here...
Article
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[Background] We aimed to characterise the geographical distribution of Sørensen-based multi-site dissimilarity (βsor) and its underlying true turnover (βsim) and nestedness (βsne) components for Chinese Lauraceae and to analyse their relationships to current climate and past climate change. [Methods] We used ensembles of small models (ESMs) to map...
Article
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Species interactions are influenced by the trait structure of local multi‐trophic communities. However, it remains unclear whether mutualistic interactions in particular can drive trait patterns at the global scale, where climatic constraints and biogeographic processes gain importance. Here we evaluate global relationships between traits of frugiv...
Data
Supporting information for: Ian McFadden, Susanne Fritz, Niklaus Zimmermann, Loïc Pellissier, Daniel Kissling, Joseph Tobias, Matthias Schleuning, Catherine Graham. 2022. Global plant-frugivore trait matching is shaped by climate and biogeographic history. Ecology Letters, 25:686-696
Data
From Dryad: Modified from: McFadden et al. Global plant-frugivore trait matching is shaped by climate and biogeographic history. 2022. Ecology Letters To assemble this dataset of trait measurements for avian frugivores, we compiled a dataset of beak measurements taken from wild-caught and released individuals, as well as specimens accessed in num...
Preprint
Full-text available
While aquatic (blue) and terrestrial (green) food webs are parts of the same landscape, it remains unclear whether they respond similarly to shared environmental gradients. We use empirical community data from hundreds of sites across Switzerland, and show that blue and green food webs have different structural and ecological properties along eleva...
Preprint
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Quaternary climate fluctuations can affect biodiversity assembly through speciation in two non-mutually-exclusive ways: a glacial species pump, where isolation in glacial refugia accelerates allopatric speciation, and adaptive radiation during ice-free periods. Here we detected biogeographic and genetic signatures associated with both mechanisms in...
Preprint
Full-text available
Species interactions are influenced by the trait structure of local multi-trophic communities. However, it remains unclear whether mutualistic interactions in particular can drive trait patterns at the global scale, where climatic constraints and biogeographic processes gain importance. Here we evaluate global relationships between traits of frugiv...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Protected areas (PAs) play an important role in biodiversity conservation, but remain increasingly threatened by invasive alien plant species (IAPS) in conjunction with global climate change. The latter is modifying the distribution of the former, and the magnitude and direction of distributional changes are predicted to vary depending on speci...
Article
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High-resolution climatic data are essential to many questions and applications in environmental research and ecology. Here we develop and implement a new semi-mechanistic downscaling approach for daily precipitation estimate that incorporates high resolution (30 arcsec, ≈1 km) satellite-derived cloud frequency. The downscaling algorithm incorporate...
Presentation
Live presentation of the COMECO research project that is dedicated to the identification of Swiss plant species via photographs and based on Neural Networks and environmental data. It is a joint project by researchers of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Info Flora, Swiss Data Science Center and the Ecovision Lab at ETH. Youtube VIDEO with...
Article
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Marine phytoplankton and zooplankton form the basis of the ocean’s food-web, yet the impacts of climate change on their biodiversity are poorly understood. Here, we use an ensemble of species distribution models for a total of 336 phytoplankton and 524 zooplankton species to determine their present and future habitat suitability patterns. For the e...
Preprint
Full-text available
Aim: Climate is an essential element of species' niche estimates in many current ecological applications such as species distribution models (SDMs). Climate predictors are often used in the form of long-term mean values. Yet, climate can also be described as spatial or temporal variability for variables like temperature or precipitation. Such varia...
Poster
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Project Goal: Recent technological progress allows us to create user-friendly apps to identify plants based on images. However, rare species or those that resemble other species, are hardly recognized. That is why we build a new tool based on arti cial neural networks and that also includes species distribution models. Meanwhile we complete the Inf...
Article
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The Environmental Data Portal EnviDat aims to fuse data publication repository functionalities with next-generation web-based environmental geospatial information systems (web-EGIS) and Earth Observation (EO) data cube functionalities. User requirements related to mapping and visualization represent a major challenge for current environmental data...
Data
Description of the methods used to implement the present ZooBase dataset (extarct from Section A.2 from the Methods of Benedetti et al., 2021). A new dataset of global zooplankton species occurrences was compiled in a comparable fashion to that put together for phytoplankton (Righetti et al., 2020). Prior to retrieving the occurrence data online,...
Article
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Aim While species distribution models (SDMs) are standard tools to predict species distributions, they can suffer from observation and sampling biases, particularly presence-only SDMs, which often rely on species observations from non-standardized sampling efforts. To address this issue, sampling background points with a target-group strategy is co...
Preprint
Full-text available
While the impact of biodiversity, notably functional diversity, on ecosystem productivity has been extensively studied, little is known about the effect of individual species. Here, we identified species of high importance for productivity (key species) in over 28,000 diverse grassland communities in the European Alps, and compared their effects wi...
Article
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Aim We aimed to dissect the spatial variation of the direct and indirect effects of climate and productivity on global species richness of terrestrial tetrapods. Location Global. Time period Present. Major taxa studied Terrestrial tetrapods. Methods We used a geographically weighted path analysis to estimate and map the direct and indirect effe...
Article
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Populations of large mammals have declined at alarming rates, especially in areas with intensified land use where species can only persist in small habitat fragments. To support conservation planning, we developed habitat suitability models for the Walia ibex (Capra walie), an endangered wild goat endemic to the Simen Mountains, Ethiopia. We calibr...
Article
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Background The orogeny of the eastern Mediterranean region has substantially affected ecological speciation patterns, particularly of mountain-dwelling species. Mountain vipers of the genus Montivipera are among the paramount examples of Mediterranean neo-endemism, with restricted ranges in the mountains of Anatolia, the Levant, Caucasus, Alborz, a...
Preprint
The restoration of forest ecosystems is associated with key benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Where possible, ecosystem restoration efforts should be guided by a detailed knowledge of the native flora to regenerate ecosystems in a way that benefits natural biodiversity, ecosystem services, and nature's contribution to people. Machin...
Preprint
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High resolution, downscaled climate model data are used in a wide variety of applications in environmental sciences. Here we present the CHELSA-TraCE21k downscaling algorithm to create global monthly climatologies for temperature and precipitation at 30 arcsec spatial resolution in 100 year time steps for the last 21,000 years. Paleo orography at h...
Article
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Aim Separating the biotic and abiotic factors controlling species distributions has been a long‐standing challenge in ecology and biogeography. Joint species distribution models (JSDMs) have emerged as a promising statistical framework towards this objective by simultaneously modelling the environmental responses of multiple species and approximati...
Article
Full-text available
Species distribution models (SDMs) constitute the most common class of models across ecology, evolution and conservation. The advent of ready‐to‐use software packages and increasing availability of digital geoinformation have considerably assisted the application of SDMs in the past decade, greatly enabling their broader use for informing conservat...
Preprint
High-resolution climatic data are essential to many applications in environmental research. Here we develop a new semi-mechanistic downscaling approach for daily precipitation that incorporates high resolution (30 arc sec) satellite-derived cloud frequency. The downscaling algorithm incorporates orographic predictors such as wind fields, valley exp...
Preprint
Full-text available
A primary goal of biodiversity research is to uncover the processes acting in space and time to create the global distribution of species richness. However, we currently lack an understanding of how recent versus ancient biodiversity dynamics shape patterns of diversity for most groups. Here, we introduce a method to partition lineage turnover into...
Preprint
Full-text available
A primary goal of biodiversity research is to uncover the processes acting in space and time to create the global distribution of species richness. However, we currently lack an understanding of how recent versus ancient biodiversity dynamics shape patterns of diversity for most groups. Here, we introduce a method to partition lineage turnover into...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Climate change is expected to cause mountain species to shift their ranges to higher elevations. Due to the decreasing amounts of habitats with increasing elevation, such shifts are likely to increase their extinction risk. Heterogeneous mountain topography, however, may reduce this risk by providing microclimatic conditions that can buffer mac...
Article
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The combination of drought and heat affects forest ecosystems by deteriorating the health of trees, which can lead to large‐scale die‐offs with consequences on biodiversity, the carbon cycle, and wood production. It is thus crucial to understand how drought events affect tree health and which factors determine forest susceptibility and resilience....
Article
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Although the importance of edaphic factors and habitat structure for plant growth and survival is known, both are often neglected in favor of climatic drivers when investigating the spatial patterns of plant species and diversity. Yet, especially in mountain ecosystems with complex topography, missing edaphic and habitat components may be detriment...
Article
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Scientific understanding of biodiversity dynamics, resulting from past climate oscillations and projections of future changes in biodiversity, has advanced over the past decade. Little is known about how these responses, past or future, are spatially connected. Analyzing the spatial variability in biodiversity provides insight into how climate chan...
Article
Full-text available
Räumliche Analyse von Trockenheitssymptomen im Schweizer Wald mit Sentinel-2-Satellitendaten Andri Baltensweiler, Philipp Brun, Joanna Pranga, Achilleas Psomas, Niklaus E. Zimmermann, Christian Ginzler Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft, WSL (CH)*, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft, WSL (...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Full-text available
Predicting future climatic conditions at high spatial resolution is essential for many applications and impact studies in science. Here, we present monthly time series data on precipitation, minimum- and maximum temperature for four downscaled global circulation models. We used model output statistics in combination with mechanistic downscaling (th...
Article
Full-text available
Species distribution models (SDMs) are widely used to predict and study distributions of species. Many different modeling methods and associated algorithms are used and continue to emerge. It is important to understand how different approaches perform, particularly when applied to species occurrence records that were not gathered in struc­tured sur...
Article
Full-text available
Ecologically meaningful predictors are often neglected in plant distribution studies, resulting in incomplete niche quantification and low predictive power of species distribution models (SDMs). Because environmental data are rare and expensive to collect, and because their relationship with local climatic and topographic conditions are complex, ma...
Article
Full-text available
Species distribution models (SDMs) constitute the most common class of models across ecology, evolution and conservation. The advent of ready-to-use software packages and increasing availability of digital geoinformation have considerably assisted the application of SDMs in the past decade, greatly enabling their broader use for informing conservat...
Article
Full-text available
Marine phytoplankton are responsible for half of the global net primary production and perform multiple other ecological functions and services of the global ocean. These photosynthetic organisms comprise more than 4300 marine species, but their biogeographic patterns and the resulting species diversity are poorly known, mostly owing to severe data...
Article
Full-text available
Genome skimming has the potential for generating large data sets for DNA barcoding and wider biodiversity genomic studies, particularly via the assembly and annotation of full chloroplast (cpDNA) and nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) sequences. We compare the success of genome skims of 2051 herbarium specimens from Norway/Polar regions with 4604 freshl...
Article
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Historically, biomes have been defined based on their structurally and functionally similar vegetation, but there is debate about whether these similarities are superficial, and about how biomes are defined and mapped. We propose that combined assessment of evolutionary convergence of plant functional traits and phylogenetic biome conservatism prov...
Article
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Seed mass is a main determinant of seedling establishment, particularly under stressful conditions, as bigger seeds offer more resources to the emerging seedling. This has led to the expectation of increased seed mass under harsh conditions. Here, we studied the role of different components of environmental harshness on the evolution of seed size i...
Article
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Abstract Aim: Local richness is a result of both regional richness and local site-specific factors. We quantify the effects of different regional (dispersal, environmental filtering) and local (habitat selection) community assembly processes in the Cape reeds (Restionaceae) of the Cape flora and test if community assembly processes vary spatially....
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the processes that drive the dramatic changes in biodiversity along the productivity gradient remains a major challenge. Insight from simple, bivariate relationships so far has been limited. We combined >11,000 community plots in the French Alps with a molecular phylogeny and trait information for >1200 plant species to simultaneously...
Preprint
Predicting future climatic conditions at high spatial resolution is essential for many applications in science. Here we present data for monthly time series of precipitation and minimum and maximum temperature for four downscaled global circulation models. We used model output statistics in combination with mechanistic downscaling (the CHELSA algor...