Networks of species interactions and biodiversity

We combine mathematical models, simulations, and data set analyses to address fundamental and applied questions in ecology. Our current major research interest focuses on the structure and dynamics of ecological networks. This complements main approaches to biodiversity research that neglect species interactions or assume these are homogeneously distributed. As an example, our application of network theory to the study of mutualisms among free-living species has provided a quantitative framework to address mutualistic interactions at the community level. Our work has shown that these networks of mutual dependencies between plants and animals present general architectural patterns that maximize the number of coexisting species and increase the range of perturbations that can be withstood before one or more species goes extinct.


Recent Publications

  • Ecological succession drives the structural change of seed-rodent interaction networks in fragmented forests
    Yang, Xifu; Yan, Chuan; Zhao, Qingjian; Holyoak, Marcel; Fortuna, Miguel A; Bascompte, Jordi; Jansen, Patrick A; Zhang, Zhibin
    FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT 419: 42-50  10.1016/j.foreco.2018.03.023 JUL 1 2018
  • Comparing species interaction networks along environmental gradients
    Pellissier, L; Albouy, C; Bascompte, J; Farwig, N; Graham, C; Loreau, M; Maglianesi, MA; Melian, CJ; Pitteloud, C; Roslin, T; Rohr, R; Saavedra, S; Thuiller, W; Woodward, G; Zimmermann, NE; Gravel, D
    BIOLOGICAL REVIEWS, 93 (2):785-800; MAY 2018
  • Non-adaptive origins of evolutionary innovations increase network complexity in interacting digital organisms 
    Fortuna, Miguel A.; Zaman, Luis; Wagner, Andreas; et al. 
  • Indirect effects drive coevolution in mutualistic networks 
    Guimaraes, Paulo R. ., Jr.; Pires, Mathias M.; Jordano, Pedro; et al. 
    NATURE, 550 (7677): 511-+ OCT 26 2017 Article (Details)
  • A structural approach for understanding multispecies coexistence
    Saavedra, Serguei; Rohr, Rudolf P.; Bascompte, Jordi; et al.
    ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS 87(3):470-486   10.1002/ecm.1263 AUG 2017
  • Effects of network modularity on the spread of perturbation impact in experimental metapopulations 
    Gilarranz, Luis J.; Rayfield, Bronwyn; Linan-Cembrano, Gustavo; et al. 
    SCIENCE, 357 (6347): 199-201 JUL 14 2017 Article (Details)
  • Beyond pairwise mechanisms of species coexistence in complex communities
    Levine, Jonathan M.; Bascompte, Jordi; Adler, Peter B.; et al.
    NATURE 546(7656): 56-64   10.1038/nature22898 JUN 1 2017
Jordi Bascompte Zurich University

Prof. Dr. Jordi Bascompte
University of Zurich
Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
8057 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 635 61 26

Research topics

  • Plant-animal mutualistic networks
  • Coevolution
  • Food webs
  • Metapopulations and metacommunities


  • Integrating theory and experimental work
  • Community-wide impacts of global environmental change 
  • Integrating ecology and evolution