Sandra Lavorel is a functional ecologist recognized for her work on the responses of biodiversity and ecosystems to global change. She is known for her pioneering work on plant functional traits, taking them from concepts to the discovery of patterns of spatial and temporal variation across scales, and of their effects on important ecosystem functions that underpin people?s quality of life. Lavorel was born in Lyon, France. She graduated from Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon and Montpellier University with a PhD in ecology and evolution. She was a postdoctoral fellow in ecosystem ecology at the Research School of Biological Sciences of the Australian National University, Canberra. She joined the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in 1994, where she is currently a Senior Researcher. She leads the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Portfolio at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, New Zealand and is an affiliate of CSIRO in Australia. Throughout her career she has been involved in international global change science coordination and in national and international assessments for science-policy interface. Lavorel is a member of the French Academy of Sciences, of the Academia Europeae.

Research Interests

Sandra Lavorel's current research focuses on impacts of changes in climate and land management on ecosystems, and how these link to people's quality of life through ecosystem services. She builds on concepts and methods of functional ecology including functional traits to quantify ecosystem services and to understand mechanisms underpinning their interrelationships, their spatial variation and their temporal dynamics. Recently she has been expanding this knowledge to understand how ecosystems and their biodiversity can support people's adaptation to global change through mechanisms of ecological resilience, ecosystem transformation and regulating functions. She is engaged in interdisciplinary research to support local, regional and global transitions to sustainability.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology