University of Innsbruck

Peter Schönswetter

“I study the evolution and spatiotemporal diversification of plants from the Alps and other mountain ranges. I have a strong background in classical branches of botany such as floristics, biogeography and vegetation science, which I use to develop timely projects based on cutting-edge methodology. I am corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and deputy head of the Advisory Board for the Protection of Nature of the Federal Government of the Tyrol. I am holding a full professorship at the University of Innsbruck since 2010. In addition, I am director of the Botanical Garden and head of the Department of Botany in the period 2021–2025.”


  • Role of genome duplication in changing mountain landscapes, FWF, 2021–2025

  • Range formation of beech forest understory herbs, FWF, 2017–2021

  • Origin of steppe flora and fauna in inner-Alpine dry valleys, FWF, 2014–2017

  • Conserving intraspecific diversification in a warmer world, FWF, 2018–2020

  • #informal projects: Astragalus, Dolomites, Sax opp etc.

Selected Publications

  • Záveská, Z., Kirschner, P., Frajman, B., Wessely, J., Willner, W., Gattringer, A., Hülber, K., Lazić, D., Dobeš, C., & Schönswetter, P. (2021) Evidence for glacial refugia of the forest understorey species Helleborus niger (Ranunculaceae) in the Southern as well as in the Northern Limestone Alps. Frontiers in Plant Science 12:683043. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.683043.
  • Kirschner, P., Záveská, E., Gamisch, A., Hilpold, A., Trucchi, E., Paun, O., Sanmartín, I., Schlick-Steiner, B. C., Frajman, B., Arthofer, W., The STEPPE Consortium, Steiner, F. M., Schönswetter, P. (2020) Long-term isolation of European steppe outposts boosts the biome’s conservation value. Nature Communications 11, 1968.
  • Sonnleitner, M., Hülber, K., Flatscher, R., Escobar García, P., Winkler, M., Suda, J., Schönswetter, P., & Schneeweiss, G. M. (2016) Ecological differentiation of diploid and polyploid cytotypes of Senecio carniolicus sensu lato (Asteraceae) is stronger in areas of sympatry. Annals of Botany, 117: 269–276.
  • Winkler, M., Tribsch, A., Schneeweiss, G.M., Brodbeck, S., Gugerli, F., Holderegger, R., Abbott, R. & Schönswetter, P. (2012) Tales of the unexpected: Phylogeography of the arctic-alpine model plant Saxifraga oppositifolia (Saxifragaceae) revisited. Molecular Ecology 21, 4618–4630.
  • Schönswetter, P., Stehlik, I., Holderegger, R., & Tribsch, A. (2005). Molecular evidence for glacial refugia of mountain plants in the European Alps. Molecular Ecology, 14, 3547–3555.

All Publications ORCID Research Gate Google Scholar CV Peter Schönswetter

Additional research achievements

Community services

  • Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

  • Deputy head of the Advisory Board for the Protection of Nature of the Federal Government of the Tyrol

  • Editorial board/Reviewer for various journals and funding agencies

  • Head of the Curriculum Commission of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Innsbruck

All Research achievements


  • Plant biodiversity
  • Plant identification
  • Botanical excursions to the Eastern Alps and other areas
  • Flora and vegetation of the Alps and Middle Europe
  • Population biology


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