Thomas Sattler


Thomas Sattler (Foto © Swiss Ornithological Institute)
Thomas Sattler (Foto © Swiss Ornithological Institute)
Dr. Thomas Sattler (PhD)
Swiss Ornithological Institute
Seerose 1
6204 Sempach

Married, two children
Swiss citizen

Research interests

Long-term monitoring forms the basis to study both fundamental ecological and applied conservation topics. I am I am fascinated to disentangle ecological and human-related factors that drive populations and their distribution in space.


Director of the Monitoring Department at the Swiss Ornithological Institute Sempach


  • Spatial ecology
  • Acoustics
  • Urban ecology
  • Conservation Ecology

Current Projects

Swiss Bird Index SBI®

Effects of climate change on birds in Switzerland

Monitoring breeding birds in wetlandsKirsten Jung


Christian Ginzler, Catherine Graham Martin Obrist, Marco Moretti, Florian Zellweger and Niklaus Zimmermann, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research  WSL, Birmensdorf

Damaris Zurell, University of Potsdam

Aleksi Lehikoinen, University of Helsinki

Richard D. Gregory, RSPB Centre for Conservation Science

Kirsten Jung, University of Ulm

Federal Office for the environment FOEN

Biodiversity Monitoring Switzerland BDM at Hintermann & Weber

European Bird Census Council EBCC, especially Institut Català d'Ornitologia Barcelona and the Czech Society for Ornithology

Biolovision SA


Since 2014 Director of the Monitoring Department at the Swiss Ornithological Institute Sempach
2011 – 2013 Post-doc researcher at the Smithonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama and University of Ulm: ecology and spatial distribution of aerial insectivorous bat species.
2009 – 2011 Post-doc researcher at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, focus on biodiversity indicator analysis
2006 – 2009 PhD on urban biodiversity at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL and University of Berne
2008 Scientific visit to the Spatial Ecology group of Prof. P. Legendre, Université de Montréal, Canada
2004 – 2005 Postgraduate course in GIS, University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil
1997 – 2003 Studies of Biology at the Universities of Basel, Caracas and Berne

Scientific committees

Member of the Scientific Advisory Council Plenum of the Swiss Biodiversity Forum
Member of the Scientific Commission of the Grande Caricaie
Member of Swiss Bat Bioacoustics Group SBBG


(for complete list see GoogleScholar)

Morrison, C.A., Auniņš, A., Benkő, Z., Brotons, L., Chodkiewicz, T., Chylarecki, P., Escandell, V., Eskildsen, D.P., Gamero, A., Herrando, S., Jiguet, F., Kålås, J.A., Kamp, J., Klvanová, A., Kmecl, P., Lehikoinen, A., Lindström, Å., Moshøj, C.M., Noble, D.G., Øien, I.J., Paquet, J.-Y., Reif, J., Sattler, T., Seaman, B.S., Teufelbauer, N., Trautmann, S., van Turnhout, C.A.M., Vorisek, P. & Butler, S.J. (2021). Bird population declines and species turnover are changing the acoustic properties of spring soundscapes. Nature Communications 12: 1–12.

García‐Navas, V., Sattler, T., Schmid, H. & Ozgul, A. (2021). Bird species co‐occurrence patterns in an alpine environment supports the stress‐gradient hypothesis. Oikos 130: 1905–1918. 

García-Navas, V., Sattler, T., Schmid, H. & Ozgul, A. (2021). High elevation bird communities in the Swiss Alps exhibit reduced fecundity and lifespan independently of phylogenetic effects. Biodiversity and Conservation 30: 991–1010.

König, C., Wüest, R.O., Graham, C.H., Karger, D.N., Sattler, T., Zimmermann, N.E. & Zurell, D. (2021). Scale dependency of joint species distribution models challenges interpretation of biotic interactions. Journal of Biogeography 48: 1541–1551.

García‐Navas, V., Sattler, T., Schmid, H. & Ozgul, A. (2021). Spatial heterogeneity in temporal dynamics of Alpine bird communities along an elevational gradient. Journal of Biogeography 48: 886–902.

Morrison, C.A., Butler, S.J., Robinson, R.A., Clark, J.A., Arizaga, J., Aunins, A., Baltà, O., Cepák, J., Chodkiewicz, T., Escandell, V., Foppen, R.P.B., Gregory, R.D., Husby, M., Jiguet, F., Kålås, J.A., Lehikoinen, A., Lindström, Å., Moshøj, C.M., Nagy, K., Nebot, A.L., Piha, M., Reif, J., Sattler, T., Škorpilová, J., Szép, T., Teufelbauer, N., Thorup, K., van Turnhout, C., Wenninger, T. & Gill, J.A. (2021). Covariation in population trends and demography reveals targets for conservation action. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 288: 20202955.

Zurell, D., Zimmermann, N.E., Gross, H., Baltensweiler, A., Sattler, T. & Wüest, R.O. (2020). Testing species assemblage predictions from stacked and joint species distribution models. Journal of Biogeography 47: 101–113.

García‐Navas, V., Sattler, T., Schmid, H. & Ozgul, A. (2020). Temporal homogenization of functional and beta diversity in bird communities of the Swiss Alps. Diversity and Distributions 26: 900–911.

Strebel, N., Schmid, H., Kéry, M., Sattler, T., & Knaus, P. (2019). How many birds breed in Switzerland? An overview of the methods applied for estimating population sizes. Bird Study, 66(4), 531-542.

Tobler, M.W., Kéry, M., Hui, F.K., Guillera‐Arroita, G., Knaus, P. and Sattler, T., 2019. Joint species distribution models with species correlations and imperfect detection. Ecology, 100(8), p.e02754.

Lehikoinen, A., Brotons, L., Calladine, J., Campedelli, T., Escandell, V., Flousek, J., Grueneberg, C., Haas, F., Harris, S., Herrando, S., Husby, M., Jiguet, F., Kålås, J.A., Lindström, Å., Lorrillière, R., Molina, B., Pladevall, C., Calvi, G., Sattler, T., Schmid, H., Sirkiä, P.M., Teufelbauer, N. & Trautmann, S. (2019). Declining population trends of European mountain birds. Global Change Biology 25: 577–588. 

Moras, L.M., Gregorin, R., Sattler, T. and da Tavares, V.C., 2018. Uncovering the diversity of dog-faced bats of the genus Cynomops (Chiroptera: Molossidae), with the redescription of C. milleri and the description of two new species. Mammalian Biology, 89(1), pp.37-51.

Antoniazza, M., Clerc, C., Le Nédic, C., Sattler, T. & Lavanchy, G., 2018. Long-term effects of rotational wetland mowing on breeding birds: evidence from a 30-year experiment. Biodiversity and conservation, 27(3), pp.749-763.

Knaus, P., S. Antoniazza, S. Wechsler, J. Guélat, M. Kéry, N. Strebel & T. Sattler (2018): Swiss Breeding Bird Atlas 2013–2016. Distribution and population trends of birds in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Swiss Ornithological Institute, Sempach. 648 p. ISBN: 978-3-85949-013-0

Mulero-Pázmány, M., Jenni-Eiermann, S., Strebel, N., Sattler, T., Negro, J.J. and Tablado, Z., 2017. Unmanned aircraft systems as a new source of disturbance for wildlife: A systematic review. PloS one, 12(6), p.e0178448.

Zurell, D., Zimmermann, N.E., Sattler, T., Nobis, M.P. and Schröder, B., 2016. Effects of functional traits on the prediction accuracy of species richness models. Diversity and Distributions, 22(8), pp.905-917.

Stephens, P.A., Mason, L.R., Green, R.E., Gregory, R.D., Sauer, J.R., Alison, J., Aunins, A., Brotons, L., Butchart, S.H.M., Campedelli, T., Chodkiewicz, T., Chylarecki, P., Crowe, O., Elts, J., Escandell, V., Foppen, R.P.B., Heldbjerg, H., Herrando, S., Husby, M., Jiguet, F., Lehikoinen, A., Lindstrom, A., Noble, D.G., Paquet, J.-Y., Reif, J., Sattler, T., Szep, T., Teufelbauer, N., Trautmann, S., van Strien, A.J., van Turnhout, C.A.M., Vorisek, P. & Willis, S.G. (2016). Consistent response of bird populations to climate change on two continents. Science 352: 84–87.

Bader E., Jung K., Kalko E.K.V., Page R. A., Rodriguez R., Sattler T. 2015. Mobility explains the response of aerial insectivorous bats to anthropogenic habitat change in the Neotropics. Biological Conservation. 186, 97-106. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.02.028 

Muster C., Meyer M., Sattler, T. Spatial Arrangement Overrules Environmental Factors to Structure Native and Non-Native Assemblages of Synanthropic Harvestmen. 2014. PLoS ONE. 9(3):e90474. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0090474 

Sattler T., Pezzatti G.B., Nobis M.P., Obrist M.K., Roth T., Moretti M. 2013. Selection of Multiple Umbrella Species for Functional and Taxonomic Diversity to Represent Urban Biodiversity. Conservation Biology. 28, 414-426. DOI:10.1111/cobi.12213 

Walters C.L., Freeman R., Dietz C., Fenton M.B., Jones G., Maltby A., Obrist M.K., Puechmaille S.J., Sattler T., Siemers B.M., Parsons S. and Jones K.E. 2012. A continental-scale tool for acoustic identification of European bats. Journal of Applied Ecology. 49, 1064–1074. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02182.x 

Sattler, T., P. Duelli, M. K. Obrist, and M. Moretti. 2011. Urban arthropod communities: added value or just a blend of surrounding biodiversity? Landscape and Urban Planning. 103, 347-361.

Fontana, S., T. Sattler, F. Bontadina and M. Moretti. 2011. How to manage the urban green to enhance bird species richness and diversity. Landscape and Urban Planning. 101:278-285.

Sattler, T., D. Borcard, R. Arlettaz, F. Bontadina, P. Legendre, M.K. Obrist and M. Moretti. 2010. Arthropod and bird communities in cities are shaped by environmental control and high stochasticity. Ecology. 91, 3343-3353.

Sattler, T., P. Duelli, M.K. Obrist, R. Arlettaz and M. Moretti. 2010. Response of arthropod species richness and functional groups to urban habitat structure and management. Landscape Ecology. 25, 941-954.

Vandewalle, M., F. de Bello, M.P. Berg, T. Bolger, S. Dolédec, F. Dubs, C.K. Feld, R. Harrington, P.A. Harrison, S. Lavorel, P. Martins da Silva, M. Moretti, J. Niemelä, P. Santos, T. Sattler, J. Paulo Sousa, M.T. Sykes, A.J. Vanbergen, B. A. Woodcock. 2010. Functional traits as indicators of biodiversity response to land use changes across ecosystems and organisms. Biodiversity and Conservation. 19, 2921-2947.

Sattler, T., F. Bontadina, A. Hirzel and R. Arlettaz. 2007. Ecological niche modelling of two cryptic bat species calls for a reassessment of their conservation status. Journal of Applied Ecology, 44, 1188-1199.