Curriculum vitae

1968 - 1973 M.Sc. (Biol.Diploma), University of Innsbruck, Austria
1973 - 1977 Ph.D. thesis, University of Innsbruck with W. Larcher (Water relations of alpine plants)
1977 - 1980 Postdoc: Austrian MAB alpine program and field work in the Caucasus (Georgia)
1980 - 1981 Postdoctoral fellow, Research School of Biol. Sci., Australian Natl. Univ. (RSBS-ANU) Canberra
1982 - 1989 Senior lecturer University of Innsbruck (1982 “Habilitation” for Botany). Various projects on alpine ecology
1989 Visiting Research Fellow, RSBS-ANU, Canberra (stable carbon isotopes)
since 1989 Full Professor for Botany, University of Basel (for research projects see below)
1994 - 1999 Joint project with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Mellon Foundation)
1995 - 2007 High elevation treeline research, globally
2000 - 2015 Swiss canopy crane project
2003 Publication of Alpine Plant Life (2nd ed. Springer)
2009 - 2014 ERC Advanced Grant (2 Mio. CHF) TREELIM, exploring thermal tree species limits in Europe
2012 Publication of Alpine Treelines (Springer)
since 2014 Emeritus

Research projects

The influence of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration on natural vegetation (incl. Swiss Canopy Crane project SCC in a mature forest), alpine plant ecology and biodiversity, high elevation treeline research - global comparisons, implications of climate change in the Mediterranean, various projects in bioclimatology, ERC advanced grant TREELIM exploring causes of tree species range limits in Europe (2009-2014).
President of the Alpine Research Station ALPFOR on the Furkapass.


Diversity and structure of plants, plant physiological ecology and systems ecology, geobotany and vegetation of the earth.

Academic memberships

Austrian Academy of Sciences (Vienna), German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (Halle), National Academy of India (Foreign Fellow)

National Committees

Past president of ProClim (Forum for Climate and Global Change 2000-2006) and board member (continued), past president of the Biodiversity Forum and board member (continued; both Swiss Academy of Sciences), member of OCCC (advisory board for the Swiss Department of the Interior on climate change issues) (2000-2013), member of the Council of the Swiss Scientific Academies (CASS) (2000-2006)

International Committees

Chair of the Global Mountain Biodiversity assessment (GMBA) of DIVERSITAS (1998-2015); task leader of the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) project of IGBP (1998-2004); science steering committee of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) (1998-2004) and Swiss national representative (2000-2006); Swiss national representative of SCOPE (2006-); convening Lead Author of the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, mountains chapter (2002-2005)

Awards/Academic achievements

Highest score in Ecology for all German, Austrian and Swiss research institutions 1997-1998 (Bild der Wiss. 8/1999); plenary opening lecture of the International GCTE-LUCC Conference (Barcelona 1998); vice president International Botanical Congress (St. Louis 1999, plenary lecture); plenary speaker for the millennial ESA/BES conference (Orlando, 2000); Tansley lecture of the British Ecological Society (London 2002); private Royal Colloquium for his Majesty the King of Sweden (2003); keynote at 8th SBSTA plenary/CBD Convention of Biodiversity (Montreal 2003); plenary lecture, International Botanical Congress (Vienna 2005); plenary lecture/opening session Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP, Beijing 2006); Marsh Award, British Ecological Society (2007); King Albert Mountain Award by the King Albert I. Memorial Foundation for outstanding contribution to mountain research (2010); Dr. h.c. (University of Innsbruck 2013), Honorary member of the Ecological Society of America (ESA 2013); Dr. h.c. (Ilia University, Tbilisi 2014); International Botanical Congress (Shenzen, China 2017), Advisory and Scientific Program Committee, plenary keynote lecture
ca. 350 ISI listed publications; ca. 14'000 citations; h-index ISI 71; Google scholar (1994-) 78; highest cited text book: Alpine plant life (Springer 2003) with 2'300 citations; Alpine Treelines (Springer 2012), more than 6'000 downloads by mid 2014; Advisory board of the Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (2017-); Honorary member of the Basel Botanical Society (2016)

Editorial work

Oecologia, Springer (editorial board since 1988, Editor-in Chief 1998-2013); editorial board of SCIENCE (2000-2004); TREE (Trends in Ecology and Evolution); Global Change Biology, Blackwell (1995-2011, 2013-); Biologie in unserer Zeit (VCH Wiley); GAIA (1996-2014); Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Functional Plant Ecology (2011-2015); Alpine Botany, Springer (editorial board 2010-)


Prof. em. Dr. DDr. h.c.

Christian Körner

Universität Basel
Departement Umweltwissenschaften
Pflanzenökologie und -evolution
Schönbeintrasse 6
CH-4056 Basel

+41 61 207 35 10