I am a plant ecologist with a keen interest in evolutionary ecology, conservation biology and restoration ecology. I am intrigued by how plants respond to global change, which evolutionary processes are involved in the plants’ adaptation to environmental change, and how this can be incorporated into ecological restoration. One of my core interests is the conservation of endangered plants ex situ, i.e. in botanic gardens and seed banks, and the problems and chances arising from this approach. I am mostly working experimentally in the greenhouse or in the field using comparative, quantitative genetic approaches. I collaborate with many botanic gardens and seed banks in Switzerland and other European countries, as well as with local conservation authorities and experts.

My current project at the botanical garden Bern aims to safeguard endangered plants in Switzerland by establishing ex situ collections and reinforcing or reintroducing threatened populations in the wild. The project is funded by the Ministry of Environment (BAFU) and involves a close collaboration with the red list database (Info Flora), cantonal authorities and other Swiss botanic gardens

Selected publications

Ensslin, A., Van de Vyver A., Vanderborght, T., Godefroid, S. 2018. Ex situ cultivation entails high risk of seed dormancy loss in short-lived wild plant species. Journal of Applied Ecology (in press).

Ensslin, A., Mollel, N.P., Hemp, A., Fischer, M. 2017. Elevational transplantation suggests different responses of African submontane and savanna plants to climate warming. Journal of Ecology, DOI 10.1111/1365-2745.12842.

Ensslin, A., Tschöpe, O., Burkart, M., Joshi, J. 2015. Fitness decline and adaptation to novel environments in ex-situ plant collections: Current knowledge and future perspectives. Biological Conservation 192, 394-401.