Senior research scientist / Directeur de recherche
Trained as an agronomer, Sandra Lavorel obtained a PhD in ecology in 1991. She has been a researcher at the French CNRS since 1994, and is now a Senior Researcher. She manages a research group on the ‘Dynamics of socio-ecosystems in a changing world’ at the Alpine Ecology Laboratory in Grenoble. Sandra Lavorel has received numerous awards including the Silver Medal of CNRS (2013), the Alexander von Humboldt Medal of the International Association for Vegetation Science (2015) and the Marsh Award of the British Ecological Society (2017). She was elected as a member of the French Academy of Sciences in 2013. After a PhD in plant community ecology, Sandra’s career has been dedicated to linking global change impacts on biodiversity to changes in ecosystem functioning, known as the Holy Grail for functional ecology. To address this challenge, Sandra contributed to the emergence of functional trait-based approaches, initially on plants and then across trophic levels. She has been at the forefront of their development to address questions ranging from disturbance responses, to biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning, and to the quantification of ecosystem services. Sandra’s current research focuses on impacts on ecosystems and their services of combined changes in climate and land management. This interdisciplinary research at the interface between functional ecology and social sciences, and with a close participation of local and regional stakeholders, contributes to national and international biodiversity and ecosystem assessments. She chairs the French National Ecosystem Assessment and has been an active contributor to assessments of the International Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem services (IPBES). In particular she was a lead author of the Europe and Central Asia assessment where she coordinated the work on pathways to sustainable futures. She joined the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel of IPBES in 2018.