Networks of species interactions and biodiversity

Community Ecology

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

  • An experimental approach to assessing the impact of ecosystem engineers on biodiversity and ecosystem functions
    Losapio, Gianalberto; Schmid, Bernhard; Bascompte, Jordi; Michalet, Richard; Cerretti, Pierfilippo; Germann, Christoph; Haenni, Jean-Paul; Neumeyer, Rainer; Javier Ortiz-Sanchez, Francisco; Pont, Adrian C; Rousse, Pascal; Schmid, Jurg; Sommaggio, Daniele; Schoeb, Christian
    Ecology, DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3243  FEB 2021
  • Genetic correlations and ecological networks shape coevolving mutualisms
    Assis, Ana Paula A.; Thompson, John N.; Santana, Pamela Cristina; Jordano, Pedro; Bascompte, Jordi; et al.
    Ecology Letters  DOI: 10.1111/ele.13605  DEC 2020
  • Partner Fidelity and Asymmetric Specialization in Ecological Networks
    Fortuna, Miguel A.; Nagavci, Arxhina; Barbour, Matthew A.; Bascompte, Jordi
    American Naturalist  DOI: 10.1086/709961 SEP 1 2020
  • Loss of consumers constrains phenotypic evolution in the resulting food web
    Barbour, Matthew A.; Greyson-Gaito, Christopher J.; Sotoodeh, Arezoo; Locke, Brendan; Bascompte, Jordi
    Evolution Letters  DOI: 10.1002/evl3.170 JUN 2020
  • Measuring Coevolutionary Dynamics in Species-Rich Communities
    Hall, Alex R.; Ashby, Ben; Bascompte, Jordi; King, Kayla C.
    Trends In Ecology & Evolution 2020 10.1016/j.tree.2020.02.002
  • Finding the direction of lowest resilience in multivariate complex systems
    Weinans, Els; Lever, J. Jelle; Bathiany, Sebastian; Quax, Rick; Bascompte, Jordi; et al.
    Journal Of The Royal Society Interface 16 (159) Article Number: 20190629
    DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2019.0629 OCT 2019
  • The Impact of Mutualisms on Species Richness
    Chomicki, G; Weber, M; Antonelli, A; Bascompte, J; Kiers, ET
    TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, 34 (8):698-711; 10.1016/j.tree.2019.03.003 AUG 2019
  • Nestedness in complex networks: Observation, emergence, and implications
    Mariani, Manuel Sebastian; Ren, Zhuo-Ming; Bascompte, Jordi; et al.
    PHYSICS REPORTS-REVIEW SECTION OF PHYSICS LETTERS, 813 1-90; 10.1016/j.physrep.2019.04.001 JUN 15 2019
  • Mutualism and biodiversity
    Bascompte, Jordi
    CURRENT BIOLOGY, 29 (11):R467-R470; 10.1016/j.cub.2019.03.062 JUN 3 2019
  • Indigenous knowledge networks in the face of global change
    Camara-Leret, Rodrigo; Fortuna, Miguel A.; Bascompte, Jordi
  • Mutualistic interactions reshuffle the effects of climate change on plants across the tree of life
    Bascompte, Jordi; Garcia, Maria B.; Ortega, Raul; et al.
    SCIENCE ADVANCES 5 (5): eaav2539  10.1126/sciadv.aav2539 MAY 2019
  • Coevolutionary dynamics shape the structure of bacteria-phage infection networks
    Fortuna, MA; Barbour, MA; Zaman, L; Hall, AR; Buckling, A; Bascompte, J
    EVOLUTION, 73 (5):1001-1011; 10.1111/evo.13731 MAY 2019
  • Plant interactions shape pollination networks via nonadditive effects
    Losapio, G; Fortuna, MA; Bascompte, J; Schmid, B; Michalet, R; Neumeyer, R; Castro, L; Cerretti, P; Germann, C; Haenni, JP; Klopfstein, S; Ortiz-Sanchez, FJ; Pont, AC; Rousse, P; Schmid, J; Sommaggio, D; Schob, C
    ECOLOGY, 100 (3):10.1002/ecy.2619 MAR 2019
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