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
2007 Guest Professorship Yale University (spring term)
2000 - 2015 Swiss canopy crane project (Swiss Natl. Science Foundation)
2009 - 2014 ERC Advanced Grant (2 Mio. CHF) TREELIM, exploring thermal tree species limits in Europe
2012 Alpine Treelines (Springer)
since 2014 Emeritus
2021 Alpine Plant Life (3rd ed. Springer), Strasburger’s Plant Sciences (German) 38th ed

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, the global high elevation treeline phenomenon, 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).
Long-term monitoring, Alpine Research Station ALPFOR on Swiss Furkapass.


Diversity and structure of plants, plant physiological ecology and systems ecology, geobotany (ongoing), alpine ecology graduate courses (ongoing).

Academic memberships

Austrian Academy of Sciences (Vienna); German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (Halle); National Academy of India  - Foreign Fellow; Swiss Academy of Sciences - Counsellor; German, Swiss, British and American Botanical/Ecological Societies

National Committees

Past president of ProClim (Forum for Climate and Global Change 2000-2006) and board member (-2020), past president of the Biodiversity Forum and board member (-2019; 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; SCC member ongoing); 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 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, mountains chapter (2002-2005); ); European Academies’ Sci Advisory council (EASAC)’s Environment Steering Panel (2009-2013)

Awards/Academic achievements

Highest cited author ISI since 2000; Scores Nov 2022: ISI 38’000 citations h-Index 103, Google Scholar 68’000 citations h-Index 133, i10 Index 436
Highest cited: Alpine Plant Life >5400 x,
Advisory board/vice president of International Botanical Congresses (St Louis 1999, Vienna 2005, Shenzen 2017)
Co-author 'Strasburger' Botany textbook (founded 1894, 35-38th German, Ital., Span., Russ., Engl. eds)
Plenary opening lecture of the International GCTE-LUCC Conference (Barcelona 1998) and millennial ESA/BES conference (Orlando, 2000)
Tansley lecture, British Ecological Society (London 2002)
Private Royal Colloquium on alpine ecology with King Carl-Gustav of Sweden and the Swed Acad Sci (2003)
Plenary keynote 8th SBSTA /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 for outstanding achievements in the science of ecology (2007)
King Albert I Mountain Award for outstanding high elevation research with a global perspective (2010)
Prize Jury of the Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology (2012-2014)
Dr. h.c. University of Innsbruck, Austria (2013), Dr. h.c. Illia University Tbilisi, Georgia (2014)
Elected life time Foreign Honorary Member of the Ecological Society of America ESA (2013) and Honorary Member of the Basel Botanical Society (2014)
The Gregor Johann Mendel Honorary Medal by the Czech Acad. Sci. (2022)

Editorial work

Oecologia (editorial board 1988-, editor-in chief 1998-2012); Frontiers in Functional Plant Ecology (editor-in-chief 2010-2015); Science Magazine (editorial board 2000-2004); Trends in Ecology and Evolution (editorial board 2000-2021); Global Change Biology (editorial board 1998-2011); Plant Ecology & Diversity (editorial board 2011-); GAIA (1996-2014); Alpine Botany (editorial board 2010-); Facultyof1000 (PubMed 2007-); Biologie in unserer Zeit (1990-)


[Translate to English:] .

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

Christian Körner

University of Basel
Department of Environmental Sciences
Schönbeinstrasse 6
CH-4056 Basel

+41 61 207 35 10