Olivia Rusconi

Scientific collaborator

Research domains

We are currently facing the sixth mass extinction of species caused largely by anthropogenic actions. More than thirty years ago, Conservation Biology was developed with three main axes: (i) catalogue biodiversity, (ii) study the causes of biodiversity decline and (iii) develop practical approaches to prevent species extinction. Endangered plant species translocations (reinforcement of populations, introductions and reintroductions) are a part of the practical measures of this third axe.

Although the translocation of endangered plants is a method that has been used for a long time, the choice of sites to reimplant them stays problematic and complex. Indeed, this selection requires a deep understanding of the ecology of the studied plants. In order to improve this situation, the aim of this PhD thesis is to develop a multidisciplinary methodology that allows an optimal selection of translocation sites. Cypripedium calceolus L. (Orchidaceae) is used as model species.

In a previous, study (Rusconi, O. (2017). Conservation of endangered plants: a roadmap for the selection of translocation sites. M.Sc. thesis, Université de Neuchâtel), the abiotic niche (climate, topography, soils, etc.) of Cypripedium calceolus was described to optimize the selection of translocation sites. In order to complete this study, population genetics, pollination system of Cypripedium calceolus and its mycorrhiza have still to be analysed.

This PhD thesis is undertaken between two laboratories of the University of Neuchâtel (Laboratory of Soil biology and Laboratory of functional Ecology). In addition, this is a partnership with the Service de la faune, des forêts et de la Nature du canton de Neuchâtel, the Botanical Garden of Neuchâtel and the Swiss biodiversity Forum.

Main topics

  • Conservation Biology
  • Conservation of endangered plants
  • Research of translocation sites
  • Orchid conservation
  • Orchid pollination
  • Population genetics of orchids
  • Orchid mycorrhiza


Interview of Olivia Rusconi, RTS, CQFD 26 avril 201920 septembre 2022

Teaching activities

  • Practical work about soil biology (Master BGS)
  • Soil and vegetation excursions (Master BGS)
  • Franco-Swiss internship (Master BGS)



Olivia Rusconi



+ 41 32 718 22 68