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

  • Title: Non-adaptive origins of evolutionary innovations increase network complexity in interacting digital organisms 
    Author(s): Fortuna, Miguel A.; Zaman, Luis; Wagner, Andreas; et al. 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Indirect effects drive coevolution in mutualistic networks 
    Author(s): Guimaraes, Paulo R. ., Jr.; Pires, Mathias M.; Jordano, Pedro; et al. 
    Source: NATURE, 550 (7677): 511-+ OCT 26 2017 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: A structural approach for understanding multispecies coexistence 
    Author(s): Saavedra, Serguei; Rohr, Rudolf P.; Bascompte, Jordi; et al. 
    Source: ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 87 (3): 470-486 AUG 2017 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Effects of network modularity on the spread of perturbation impact in experimental metapopulations 
    Author(s): Gilarranz, Luis J.; Rayfield, Bronwyn; Linan-Cembrano, Gustavo; et al. 
    Source: SCIENCE, 357 (6347): 199-201 JUL 14 2017 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Beyond pairwise mechanisms of species coexistence in complex communities 
    Author(s): Levine, Jonathan M.; Bascompte, Jordi; Adler, Peter B.; et al. 
    Source: NATURE, 546 (7656): 56-64 JUN 1 2017 
    Document Type: Review (Details)

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