Patricia Burkhardt-Holm, Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. / Professor of Ecology

Programm MGU
Universität Basel
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel

Tel Sekretariat:  +41 61 207 04 00
Tel direct:           +41 61 207 04 02

Research interests

Current cooperations

  • Invasive gobies
    Jürgen Geist (München), Jost Borcherding (Grietherbusch), Keith Tierney (University of Alberta, Canada)
  • Microplastics
    Gunnar Gerdts (AWI, Helgoland), Bettina Meyer (AWI, Bremerhaven), Linda Amaral-Zettler (NIOZ, den Burg, NL), Erik van Sebille (University of Utrecht, NL), Markus Zennegg, P. Schmid (EMPA, Dübendorf)
  • Marine Mammals
    Helena Herr (Universität Hamburg)

Professional experience

After completing my doctorate in zoology at the University of Heidelberg (Prof. Dr. V. Storch), I joined the Department of Neurobiology at ETH Zürich (Prof. Dr. M. Schachner). Subsequently, I worked as a senior assistant at the Interdisciplinary Center for General Ecology at the University of Berne and then at the Center for Fish and Wildlife Health at the Institute for Animal Pathology in Berne. I achieved my habilitation (Venia docendi) at the Faculty of Science of the University of Basel with a thesis on fish as bioindicators. In 1999, I became the head of a project on fish catch decline (‘Fischnetz’) at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. In 2003, I was appointed Professor of Ecology at the University of Basel. At present, I am the head of the Man-Society-Environment research group at the Department of Environmental Sciences. I am also the head of two study courses: the bachelor course ‘Sustainability’ and the Master course in Sustainable Development (MSD). Since 2009, I have been a delegate for Switzerland on the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. I am also an active member of various committees and scientific advisory boards. Not only am I passionate about generating new scientific knowledge but transferring new knowledge to students and society in general.

Link to CV & Track record

A mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited



I am the head of a transfaculty study program in Sustainable Development for bachelor students (from third term onwards) at the University of Basel. Together with social sciences and economics colleagues, we have implemented a master-level course, the Master of Science in Sustainable Development (MSD). My focus areas are topics on sustainability from the natural science perspective; zoology, marine and freshwater ecosystems; and studies on the anthropogenic effects on ecosystems and aquatic organisms.

Personal information

I love to travel! It allows me to be curious, to learn and broaden my horizons. I am fascinated by and admire all the wonders of nature: the symmetry of leaf arrangements in plants, the migration performances of whales and migrating birds, the learning aptitude of mammals… and many more. Recreation for me means extended activities in nature, such as hiking, swimming and skiing. I relax best with a good novel, a fine meal, a delicious bar of chocolate. I love to work – preferably with enough time to think and develop ideas.