The workshop has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – it will be rescheduled to 2021

International workshop on fossil chironomids in Basel, Switzerland

Fossil chironomids from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene

Organizer: Oliver Heiri, University of Basel, Switzerland / Supporting team: Colin Courtney-Mustaphi, Ilona Hofmann, University of Basel, Switzerland

We cordially invite fossil chironomid researchers to Basel, Switzerland, for what may be the 14th international (chironomid) deadhead workshop. The workshop will provide an opportunity to present and discuss recent results, as poster or oral presentation, network with colleagues and examine interesting or unusual fossil chironomid specimens under the microscope. In addition, we intend to discuss two timely topics for fossil chironomid research: online archiving of chironomid count data and archiving fossil chironomid microscope slides in repositories or museum collections. On the third day of the workshop we plan to have an excursion to the sites of some classic as well as some recently published chironomid studies, depending on the weather with either a visit to the Grindelwald region, where many early Swiss chironomid studies were conducted, or if the weather is poor, to some Swiss lowland sites that were studied for fossil chironomids.


Monday August 31, 2020
08.30 – 12.00 Talks and discussions of chironomid results
12.00 – 14.30 Lunch break and poster session (participants organize themselves individually for lunch)
14.30 – 15.30 Talks and discussions of chironomid results
16.00 – 18.00 Data initiatives and discussion of chironomid data archiving
18.00 onwards: Pizza dinner and informal gathering

Tuesday September 1, 2020
08.30 – 12.00 Talks and discussions of chironomid results
12.00 – 14.30 Lunch break and poster session (participants organize themselves individually for lunch)
14.30 – 16.00 Talks and discussions of chironomid results
16.30 – 18.00 Discussion chironomid slide and sample archiving
Participants organize themselves individually for dinner.

Please note: Picnic lunch & drinks have to be organzied by participants / Program may have to be modified depending on weather conditions

7.30 AM Departure in Basel

Bachalpsee (includes cable car ride)

  • Chironomid research in Switzerland
  • Traininsets and temperature reconstruction
  • Landscape history: Maps, glaciation, treeline, human impact
  • Holocene history of small mountain lakes (Bachalpsee, Hinterburgsee, Sägistalsee, Sulsee, Lac de Champex)


  • Lateglacial environmental change in Switzerland
  • Lateglacial chironomid records in the region
  • Combining temperature records and "stacking"


  • Earliest Lateglacial
  • Methane and invertebrate remains in surface sediments
  • Rotsee

ca. 9 PM back in Basel


Registration fee will be 60 CHF for the two-day workshop and 100 CHF for the excursion. An invoice will be sent to you after registration (to be paid within 30 days after registration).

Accommodation will have to be organized by the participants individually. Basel is an international city with numerous hotels and hostels. Please see our hotel list for some options or explore online services that provide links to accommodation. Basel also has a small campsite that may be an option for those looking for low-cost accommodation and are willing to camp. Finally, Basel is at the border with Germany and France and hotels for example in Weil am Rhein (DE), Lörrach (DE) or St. Louis (FR) may also be an option with short travel to Basel City. Please book well in advance as Basel also hosts international fairs and events during summer that sometimes limit room availability.


Basel is very close to the airport of Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (located in France) which is connected via direct flights to many other European airports. Zurich airport, a major international airport is ca. 75 min by train (see for details and connections). Switzerland hosts an excellent train system with many connections to Basel. Parking may be expensive in Basel, so please check parking possibilities (and rates) in advance if you plan to come by car.

How to find us


We will provide poster walls, projectors and access to microscopes during the workshop. For the excursion please bring a backpack, warmer/dry clothing for in the mountains, raingear, hiking boots, sun protection (hats, sunglasses, sunscreen). Depending on the weather we may visit high alpine environments.

All insurance coverage during the workshop, excursion and travels is in the responsibility of the participants.