Senior Scientist

Dr. Erika Hiltbrunner
Totengässlein 3
4051 Basel

Phone: +41 (0)61 207 35 11




Education and Professional Experience

2013-2017 Senior scientist University of Basel, FOEN project: Effects of atmospheric N deposition on the alpine vegetation in three different habitats

2013-2016 Senior scientist University of Basel, FOEN project: Measuring total atmospheric N deposition at two alpine and one montane sites in the Swiss Alps

2010-2015 Co-PI of the Project of Zurich-Basel PSC-Mercator Research Fellowship Program: The Alnus-problem and the exceedance of critical loads for nitrogen in the Alps (ALNEX). PhD project: Tobias Bühlmann

2009-2012 Post-doc: NRP VALUrsern-The ecological and socio-economic consequences of land transformation in alpine regions. Project coordination, supervision of PhD project: Thijs van den Bergh

To see the complete CV download the pdf on the right.

Research interests 

  • Alpine Biodiversity
  • Alpine Ecology
  • Global Change
  • Land use and land cover changes, water cycle
  • N cycle, atmospheric N deposition, N induced changes in different ecosystems
  • Shrub encroachment (in particular by Alnus viridis) in the Alps  


  • ALPFOR (Alpine Research and Education Station Furka,, member and executive secretary of the association ALPFOR
  • Member of ICAS Interacademic Commission of Alpine Studies SCNAT Swiss Academy of Sciences
  • Member of Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Berggebiete (SAB)
  • Member of Naturforschende Gesellschaft Uri


  • Ecology and conservation biology, 3 weeks block course , University of Basel
  • Alpine Ecology, 1 week course , University of Basel/ALPFOR
  • Ecosystem and population processes, lecture, University of Basel  


  • Alpine ecology excursions for various groups: students, families, members and apprentices of arma suisse, Korporation Ursern, cantonal representatives, etc.
  • Botanical Garden Basel: Abendführungen 

Thesis supervision

  • PhD thesis: supervision and co-supervision of 5 PhD students since 2005
  • Master thesis: supervision and co-supervision of c.15 master theses at the University of Basel

Key publications

Bühlmann T, Körner C, Hiltbrunner E. 2016. Shrub expansion of Alnus viridis drives former montane grassland into nitrogen saturation. Ecosystems, accepted

Hiltbrunner E, Aerts R, Bühlmann T, Huss-Danell K, Magnusson B, Myrold DD, Reed SC, Bjarni DS, Körner C. 2014. Ecological consequences of the expansion of N2-fixing plants in cold biomes, Oecologia 176: 11-24

Inauen N, Körner C, Hiltbrunner E. 2013. Hydrological consequences of declining land use and elevated CO2 in alpine grassland, Journal of Ecology 101: 86-96

For a complete list of publications download the pdf on the right.