AXA Chair : Functional Mountain Ecology

The AXA Chair in Functional Mountain Ecology analyses the consequences of human activities and seeks to identify solutions to mitigate these negative impacts. The AXA Chair is also very concerned by raising awareness of the general public and  the decision-makers.

Supported by a financial endowment of 600,000 euros from AXA, and hosted at the ECOLAB laboratory (UMR CNRS-INP-UPS), this Chair will study for 5 years the effects of climate change, pollution and pathogens on mountain ecosystems and the services they provide, including the supply of clean drinking water to millions of people.

Dirk Schmeller, Chair Professor, presents his research work :

Mountains are fascinating. They are islands in a sea of lowlands. Mountains are also a popular destination for recreational activities, but they are also exploited to various degrees. For a scientist, such as myself, mountains are also a highly interesting object of research, because mountains are particularly vulnerable to global change, and especially to climate change. Global change and climate change lead to far-reaching changes, because the fauna and flora of the mountains can adapt only poorly to the too fast changing conditions. There is a loss of species and their interactions.


Simplified scheme of "Global Change"


This loss of biodiversity also leads to the fact that ecosystem services, such as air purification, drinking
water supply and also building material production, are impaired and thus also have a direct and indirect impact on the human population. This is the set of issues in which my research is situated.

I have been a researcher in ecology and conservation for more than 25 years now, combining work that links ecosystem functioning with ecosystem health, animal and plant health, and human health. Because everything is connected and everything influences each other, my research is situated in the concepts of OneHealth and EcoHealth. Within these concepts, my team and I have also developed the disease triangle to a disease pyramid.

The GloMEc research

Global Change In Mountain Ecosytems

I work particularly in the French Pyrenees, but am also concerned with mountains in China, Taiwan, Oman, and other regions to identify global patterns of the influence of global change on mountains.

French Pyrenees, one of the research areas of the Chair

Raising public awareness


Mountain goods                               Mountain - sentinels of change                               Major threats      


            Mountain biodiversity                                   Fish introduction                    






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