Oskar Hagen, PhD, Biodiversity, Research, Science, Biology, Evolution, Ecology, Macroevolution, Macroecology, Conservation Biology, Computational Biology, Theoretical Biology, Informatics, mechanistic model, modeling, Fireflies, vagalume, Photopollution, Lightpollution, Hermetia, TreeSimGM, gen3sis, gasm, ETHZ, WSL, UFSCar, Brazil, Switzerland, Hagen, Oskar.



Oskar Hagen

PhD cand. at WSL and ETH Zürich

diverse_world cc Oskar Hagen

Biodiversity Modeling

Conservation Biology

Environmental Sciences

Eco-evolutionary Dynamics

Currently based in Zürich, I am finishing my PhD, where I investigate the role of past environmental conditions and eco-evolutionary feedbacks in shaping biodiversity gradients.

I’m a Swiss-Brazilian citizen with a family divided by the Atlantic, born in Venezuela and raised in the countryside of Brazil. The interdisciplinary of my interests forged an unusual career path. I first studied informatics in a 2 year formal technical education, then I graduated in Conservation Biology in Brazil. Later, I came to Switzerland and pursued my Master in Environmental Sciences at ETH. My master thesis was conducted at the theoretical biology group, with major in Ecology and Evolution at the department of integrative biology. After the Master’s I left Switzerland and worked on public and private sectors. Now I am back in the land as a PhD candidate in landscape ecology.

During my bachelor at UFSCar I collaborated with several research groups and gained experience on teaching, field work, data analysis and population dynamics modelling. At that point, I investigated and quantified the effects of artificial illumination at firefly’s populations. I proposed fireflies as potential flagship species and bioindicators for artificial ilumination once they can be easily spotted at night and are charismatic (a rare characteristic among insects). While monitoring firefly populations in Atlantic rain forests over the years I fell in love with these lightning bugs and became engaged in communicating and tackling Photopollution.

Throughout my Master`s at ETH, I enhanced my mathematical and modelling skills, specifically regarding speciation and extinction processes. We proposed a generalized model and evaluated the effects of different extinction and speciation processes on phylogenetic trees shape, trying to better understand macroevolutionary forces. Our results suggested an age-dependent speciation, and we also briefly discussed motivations and plausible biological implications of our findings. This research project developed to other scientific collaborations towards extinction processes from a conservation and macroevolutionary/paleontological perspective. Yielding a few publications, an R-package TreeSimGM (simulates phylogenies) and the expansion of the software PyRate (estimates macroevolutionary rates from fossil data using a Bayesian framework). These projects strengthened my interest in better understanding biodiversity dynamics and consolidated my interest towards applied ecology and computational biology (still in love with the fireflies though!).

Away from academia, I conducted an internship at the forestry department of the Federal Office for the Environment in Switzerland (BAFU) and worked as a consultant in a conservation project in Laos. The project targeted the implementation of SN-REDD in two national protected areas in the South and was the first public-private partnership in the country. Later, in Belize, I got involved with a Swiss and a Belizean NGO. There I looked at conectivity and finantial independence of a mosaic of protected and sustainable use natural areas. Early 2015 I dove into an insect farm start-up project in Brazil, which is still operational with my partial involvement. Our plans are to reduce waste from other industrial sectors while providing organic fertilizer and alternative protein sources to fish and chicken production. I dream of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly animal feed production in comparison to the current soya and overexploited fishmeal production systems.

In my free time I love to photograph and observe nature (e.g. landscapes, wildlife and human beings). Moreover I enjoy painting, drawing, handcrafting and playing the ukulele.

Current Research

In order to access the role of past environmental conditions and eco-evolutionary feedbacks in shaping biodiversity gradients, I developed a macroevolutionary computational mechanistic model called gen3sis (standing for General Engine for Eco-Evolutionary Simulations). This allows me to infer biodiversity patterns from historical environmental dynamics and better understand ecological and evolutionar (i.e. speciation and extinction) processes. Gen3sis is avaiable as an R-package and with it, it is possible for the first time, to test and create new hypothesis under a general framework (i.e. acting mutually at evolutionary and ecological temporal resolution) and quantify processes shaping the biodiversity patterns we observe today. For that I must additionaly compile and recreate paleoenvirolmental conditions as well as obtain empirical species distribution, traits and evolutionary histories. Ultimately, gen3sis will inform on the ecosystem responses to global changes, and especially the loss of diversification potential for biodiversity as well as how macro-dynamics most likely responded in the deep past. This may challenge current conservation practice, and move current concepts toward an increased focus on the conservation of evolutionary potential.


Portuguesemother tongue






Formal Education

07.2016 Now

PhD candidate in Environmental Sciences: Landscape Ecology

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, WSL, Switzerland
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich, ETH, Switzerland

09.2010 09.2013

Master in Environmental Sciences: Ecology and Evolution

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH, Switzerland

03.2006 12.2009

Bachelor in Biology: Conservation Biology

Federal University of São Carlos - campus Sorocaba, UFSCAR, Brazil

01.2005 12.2007

Vocational and Technical Education: Informatics – Communications Networking

SENAI Swiss-Brazilian - Regional Department of São Paulo, SENAI/DR/SP, Brazil

Complementary Formation

03.2010 08.2010

Obligatory Swiss Military Service

Schweizer Armee

  • Function: ABC Korporal
  • Defense of Atomic, Biological and Chemical weapons and formation as Sub-official

01.1999 06.2004

Classical Guitar, Rhythmic and Musical theory

Municipal Music School of Porto Feliz, EMM, Brazil


Hagen_publication  G Yannic, O Hagen, F Leugger, D.N. Karger, L Pellissier (2020) Harnessing paleo-environmental modeling and genetic data to predict intraspecific genetic structure. Evolutionary Applications

Hagen_publication  GFA Donati, V Parravicini, F Leprieur, O Hagen, T Gaboriau, C Heine, M Kulbicki, J Rolland, N Salamin, C Albouy, L Pellissier (2019) A process‐based model supports an association between dispersal and the prevalence of species traits in tropical reef fish assemblages. Ecography

Hagen_publication  M Gerecke*, O Hagen*, J Bolliger, AM Hersperger, F Kienast, B Price, L Pellissier (2019) Assessing potential landscape service trade-offs driven by urbanization in Switzerland. Palgrave Communications

Hagen_publication  O Hagen, L Vaterlaus, C Albouy, A Brown, F Leugger, RE Onstein, C Novaes de Santana, CR Scotese, L Pellissier (2019) Mountain building, climate cooling and the richness of cold‐adapted plants in the Northern Hemisphere. Journal of Biogeography

Hagen_publication  RS Etienne, JS Cabral, O Hagen, F Hartig, AH Hurlbert, L Pellissier, M Pontarp, D Storch (2019) A minimal model for the latitudinal diversity gradient suggests a dominant role for ecological limits. The American Naturalist

Hagen_publication  M Pontarp, L Bunnefeld, JS Cabral, RS Etienne, SA Fritz, R Gillespie, CH Graham, O Hagen, F Hartig, S Huang, R Jansson, O Maliet, T Münkemüller, L Pellissier, TF Rangel, D Storch, T Wiegand, AH Hurlbert (2019) The latitudinal diversity gradient: Novel understanding through mechanistic eco-evolutionary models. Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Hagen_publication  BH Warren, O Hagen, F Gerber, C Thébaud, E Paradis, E Conti (2018) Evaluating alternative explanations for an association of extinction risk and evolutionary uniqueness in multiple insular lineages. Evolution

Hagen_publication  L Pellissier, P Descombes, O Hagen, L Chalmandrier, G Glauser, A Kergunteuil, E Defossez, S Rasmann (2018) Growth-competition-herbivore resistance trade-offs and the responses of alpine plant communities to climate change. Functional Ecology

Hagen_publication  O Hagen, T Andermann, TB Quental, A Antonelli, D Silvestro (2017) Estimating age-dependent extinction: contrasting evidence from fossils and phylogenies. Systematic Biology

Hagen_publication  EO Hagen, O Hagen, JD Ibáñez-Álamo, OL Petchey, KL Evans (2017) Impacts of urban areas and their characteristics on avian functional diversity. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Hagen_publication  O Hagen, T Stadler (2017) TreeSimGM: Simulating phylogenetic trees under general Bellman-Harris models with lineage-specific shifts of speciation and extinction in R. Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Hagen_publication  O Hagen, K Hartmann, M Steel, T Stadler (2015) Age-dependent speciation can explain the shape of empirical phylogenies. Systematic Biology

Hagen_publication  O Hagen, RM Santos, MN Schlindwein, VR Viviani (2015) Artificial night lighting reduces firefly (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) occurrence in Sorocaba, Brazil. Advances in Entomology

Hagen_publication  VR Viviani, MY Rocha, O Hagen (2010) Bioluminescent beetles (Coleoptera: Elateroidea: Lampyridae, Phengodidae, Elateridae) in the municipalities of Campinas, Sorocaba-Votorantim and Rio Claro-Limeira (SP, Brazil): biodiversity and influence of urban sprawl. Biota Neotropica

Extracurricular Activities

06.2019 Now

Reviewer of journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)

08.2018 Now

Reviewer of journal Ecography

02.2018 Now

Reviewer of journal Global Change Biology

06.2017 Now

05.2014 Now

Reviewer of journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution

10.2007 12.2009

Director and Founder of Academic Journal (Jornal OCASO)

Federal University of São Carlos - campus Sorocaba, UFSCAR, Brazil

  • Under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Monica Caron

05.2006 12.2009

Director of information at the Academic Center

Federal University of São Carlos - campus Sorocaba, UFSCAR, Brazil


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Above and Below Laos 2014

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Rock and Ice Heart Switzerland 2012

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Tarzan and Jane Portugal 2016

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The in and out side Zambia 2013

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Brown Laos 2014

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Rainbow Switzerland 2013

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Red Laos 2013

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Berg Dragonsaur Switzerland 2018

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Calm Forest Laos 2013

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Climby Switzerland 2017

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Float Laos 2013

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Lost and Found Tanzania 2017

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Small is Beautiful Brazil 2015