Meet the Lab

The Crowther Lab is a collection of researchers, scientists and technical staff with a range of expertise from microbiology to digital marketing,  all working with one thing in mind – the climate. We study the ecological processes that influence the climate to help us predict and combat anthropogenic climate change. There will be a media team working alongside the scientists with the aim of publishing their findings as well as promoting climate change as a whole, on easily accessible public forums. This will be to encourage more conversations on and awareness around the environment and climate change.

We are not focussed on one academic field. We are Earth Scientists, Remote Sensing Experts, Community Ecologists, Ecosystem Ecologists, Earth System Modelers, Programmers, Physiologists, Mathematicians, Molecular biologists, Physicists and Biochemists. Most labs in the world focus on one of each of these, but our interdisciplinarity allows us to identify the most important questions and to come at questions from different angles.

Prof. Dr Thomas Crowther

Assistant professor of Global Ecosystem Ecology

Tom’s research aims to generate a mechanistic understanding of the ecological processes that drive the carbon cycle and climate system at a global scale. An ecologically-informed understanding of Earth system dynamics is necessary to understand and address global climate change.

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Dr Kailiang Yu

Expert in global ecology and ecohydrology

Dr Nicky Lustenhouwer

Expert in evolutionary ecology and dispersal

Nicky’s research explores how populations grow, interact, and evolve in rapidly changing environments. She aims to use her work to improve forecasts of ecological processes under global change, including plant species range shifts in response to climate change, biological invasions, and global wood decomposition by fungi.

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Dr Jean-François Bastin

Expert in Remote Sensing and Global Change Ecology

JF is a forest ecologist using remote sensing to better understand global ecosystem functioning. Using passive and active signals, he is studying forest extent, biodiversity, dynamics, structure and carbon stocks on multiple scales, with a particular focus on the most important ‘gap of knowledge’ in tropical regions, i.e. Central Africa. Concerned by climate change issues, he is also involved in projects assessing forest resilience toward external forcing and investigating opportunities/potentialities of ecosystem restoration.

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Dr Constantin Zohner

Expert in phenology, ecosystem ecology and global change

Constantin’s research focuses on the impact of climate change on the ecology of temperate woody plants. He is integrating phylogenetic information, biogeographic parameters, and data on plant functional traits from in situ observations and experiments to study the evolutionary forces underlying plant’s growth strategies and forecast the behaviour of plant communities under ongoing climate warming.

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Sabiha Majumder

Sabiha is a Physicist by training. Her research focuses on understanding ecological systems having multiple stable states and the impact of external drivers on their dynamics. Specifically, she focuses on understanding the mechanisms promoting multistability and testing the early warning signals of abrupt transitions between alternative stable states, using both modeling and data analyses.

Johan van den Hoogen

Expert in soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Johan is a microbiologist with an expertise in soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. He looks at microbiology on a global scale, mapping the global soil biodiversity. Johan is also the manager of the three laboratory facilities we have at ETH Zurich, monitoring equipment and overseeing experiments. Currently Johan, Devin and Tom are working on a global map of soil nematode abundances.

Iris Hordijk

PhD Student

Iris finished recently the master programme Forest and Nature Conservation with a major in ecology at Wageningen University. She studied for her master thesis the factors influencing the regeneration of the palm species A. phalerata in a Bolivian forest-savanna mosaic. She will be looking at the dominance of tree species in the tropics.

Thomas Elliott

Business Development and Strategy Officer

Thomas has been a trained chartered accountant for over 10 years, so is equipped with the expertise to ensure that our larger than usual lab will have the funding necessary to produce their work. We hope this will encourage even more efficient work, with less time being spent searching for grants. It frees up more time to be spent working on the most important thing – the science. Tom will be managing the infrastructure and finances of the group and regularly report to the our funding organizations and partners.

Julia Maschler

PhD Student


Julia is studying her Master’s program in Environmental Sciences at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.
At the moment, she is finishing up on her Master’s thesis, which is on tree species classification using hyperspectral and laser scanning data.

Haozhi Ma

Masters student from the Department of Biology ETH Zurich

Haozhi is a masters student finishing his research project in the Crowther Lab. After 4 years’ comprehensive undergraduate training in Nanjing University, China he was interested in how biodiversity was formed, spatial patterns emerged from self-organization and undermined organism-organism or environment interactions and biogeographic views on human related features (i.e. linguistic diversity and rural settlements) regionally and globally. For his research, he is now attempting to analyze global patterns of tree species interactions and relationships with ecosystem functions and biodiversity.

Devin Routh M.A., M.F.S.

Research Scientist in Geospatial mapping, Programming and Remote Sensing

Devin originally hails from his family’s multigenerational farm in the foothills of the southeastern United States. For his education, he pursued his first master’s degree at Dartmouth College in Liberal Arts—studying subjects ranging from systems science to socioeconomic globalization. He then ventured to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for a master’s degree in forest science. In the lab, he provides support on any project that requires geospatial data analyses, remote sensing, and/or statistical programming.



Emily Clark

Emily gives administrative support within the Crowther Lab and generally tries to make it easier for everyone else to do their jobs, by taking care of all those exasperating little details. She has a diverse background in management, organizational development and accounting. Emily successfully helped start and run two small businesses, and was the accountant and development director for two non-profit organizations before arriving at the Crowther Lab. In addition to her desk job, Emily is passionate about global health and is active in humanitarian projects to improve health outcomes during crisis. She believes that efforts to understand and mitigate the influence of climate change on a global scale is fundamental in protecting vulnerable populations.

Hiring at the Crowther Lab

Equal Opportunity Hiring – We are actively looking to hire dynamic and competitive Post Docs and PhD students to join our team.

At the moment we have more men than women working and we would like to balance this out. We have been working with the 500 Women Scientists to initiate a gender neutral hiring process and we are particularly looking for applications from female scientists.

We are also hoping to promote racial diversity within our lab which we are confident will greatly benefit our research.

If you are interested in applying, please email your CV and cover letter to: