My main research interests include landscape dynamics and processes (with a special focus on Alpine environments) using relative and numerical techniques and soil chemical and mineralogical aspects. A broad spectrum of dating methods is used to decipher landscape changes and geomorphic surface dynamics. Amongst the numerical methods are radiocarbon (14C) and 10Be exposure dating. Relative dating techniques include the investigation of soils, rocks, sediments and their mineralogy and chemistry. I am furthermore interested in the weathering mechanisms of soils (alpine to Mediterranean areas) and the ruling processes of chemical changes including human-influenced effects.
After finishing the master's degree in geography I completed a post graduate course in "water management and protection" at the Swiss Federal Institute for Water Resources and Pollution Control and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zürich and Dübendorf). Later I was working as a consulting engineer at Rytec AG (Münsingen, Berne) in the field of municipal waste and energy technology before writing a Ph.D. thesis at the Department of Geography, University of Zürich in 1995.
I worked for the Department of Ecology (soil protection) of the Canton Lucerne between 1992 and 2005. Since 1998 I am also employed at the Department of Geography, University of Zürich. In the years 2000-2002, I made a Post-Doc stage at the Research Institute for Soil Study and Conservation ISSDS (Istituto Sperimentale per lo Studio e la Difesa del Suolo, Firenze) and worked on the characterisation and identification of clay minerals in soils. During four years I have been project coordinator of a multidisciplinary research programme in the high alpine zone (Spatio-temporal information on rapidly changing climate-sensitive high-mountain environments as a strategic tool for communication, analysis, participative planning and management in the intensely developed tourist region of the Upper Engadine; GISALP-project, NRP 48). In 2003, I obtained the ‘Venia legendi’ (habilitation) from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Zurich in physical geography and 2010 I was awarded professor in soil science and geochronology. Since 2005 I am the head of the geochronology laboratory. 2006 until today, I am a guest lecturer (ERASMUS) in soil science at the University of Palermo. Since 2006 I am also teaching at the University of Applied Sciences (Wädenswil). In 2007 I made a research stay at the Macaulay Institute in Aberdeen (Scotland), in 2008 a stay at the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. In 2011, I was visiting professor at the Department of Geography, Northern University of Iowa, USA, and in 2013 I made a research stay at the Department of Physical Geography and Landscape Planning of the St.-Petersburg State University, Russia.
- Editor of CATENA (since 2014)
- Member of the Editorial Board of GEODERMA
- Member of the Editorial Board of the ‘BGS-Bulletin’ (Journal of the Swiss Soil Science Society)
- Guest Editor RADIOCARBON (Radiocarbon and Archaeology. Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium in Zurich, 2009)
- Member of the Editorial Board of The Open Geography Journal
- Guest Editor Geografiska Annaler (The mountain cryosphere — a holistic view on processes and their interactions, 2012)
- Guest Editor Journal of Soils and Sediments (2013/14)