Understanding the dynamic of biological landscapes

Spatial Ecology

Global change including land use and climate changes are impacting ecosystems. Our studies seek to understand and forecast the changes in the biological (i.e. the distribution of species, communities, and ecosystems) and cultural landscape (under influence from human use) in space and time using spatial models. Shifts in biodiversity and ecosystem structure are expected to decrease the quality of the ecosystem goods and services provided within landscapes. Forecasts of how species assemblage will shift in response to global change and impact the provision of services is essential for planning. In addition, we study how ecosystems changed in the past (e.g. climate change during the Quaternary), which provide a crucial understanding to forecast how global changes will impact current ecosystems. To solve those questions, we combine field experiments, mathematical and statistical models.

Recent Publications

  • Soil nematode abundance and functional group composition at a global scale
    van den Hoogen, J; Geisen, S; Routh, D; Ferris, H; Traunspurger, W; Wardle, DA; de Goede, RGM; Adams, BJ; Ahmad, W; Andriuzzi, WS; Bardgett, RD; Bonkowski, M; Campos-Herrera, R; Cares, JE; Caruso, T; Caixeta, LD; Chen, XY; Costa, SR; Creamer, R; Castro, JMD; Dam, M; Djigal, D; Escuer, M; Griffiths, BS; Gutierrez, C; Hohberg, K; Kalinkina, D; Kardol, P; Kergunteuil, A; Korthals, G; Krashevska, V; Kudrin, AA; Li, Q; Liang, WJ; Magilton, M; Marais, M; Martin, JAR; Matveeva, E; Mayad, E; Mulder, C; Mullin, P; Neilson, R; Nguyen, TAD; Nielsen, UN; Okada, H; Rius, JEP;
    Pan, K; Peneva, V; Pellissier, L; da Silva, JCP; Pitteloud, C; Powers, TO; Powers, K; Quist, CW; Rasmann, S; Moreno, SS; Scheu, S; Setala, H; Sushchuk, A; Tiunov, AV; Trap, J; van der Putten, W; Vestergard, M; Villenave, C; Waeyenberge, L; Wall, DH; Wilschut, R; Wright, DG; Yang, JI; Crowther, TW
    NATURE, 572 (7768):194-+; 10.1038/s41586-019-1418-6 AUG 8 2019
  • Urban bumblebees are smaller and more phenotypically diverse than their rural counterparts
    Eggenberger, H; Frey, D; Pellissier, L; Ghazoul, J; Fontana, S; Moretti, M
    JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, 10.1111/1365-2656.13051
  • Comparing temperature data sources for use in species distribution models: From in-situ logging to remote sensing
    Lembrechts, JJ; Lenoir, J; Roth, N; Hattab, T; Milbau, A; Haider, S; Pellissier, L; Pauchard, A; Backes, AR; Dimarco, RD; Nunez, MA; Aalto, J; Nijs, I
  • Mountain building, climate cooling and the richness of cold-adapted plants in the Northern Hemisphere
    Hagen, O; Vaterlaus, L; Albouy, C; Brown, A; Leugger, F; Onstein, RE; de Santana, CN; Scotese, CR; Pellissier, L
    JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, 46 (8):1792-1807; 10.1111/jbi.13653 AUG 2019
  • Correlated Induction of Phytohormones and Glucosinolates Shapes Insect Herbivore Resistance of Cardamine Species Along Elevational Gradients
    Robert, CAM; Pellissier, L; Moreira, X; Defossez, E; Pfander, M; Guyer, A; van Dam, NM; Rasmann, S
    JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY, 45 (7):638-648; 10.1007/s10886-019-01084-2 JUL 2019
  • Climate and land-use changes reshuffle politically-weighted priority areas of mountain biodiversity
    Vincent, C; Fernandes, RF; Cardoso, AR; Broennimann, O; Di Cola, V; D'Amen, M; Ursenbacher, S; Schmidt, BR; Pradervand, JN; Pellissier, L; Guisan, A
    GLOBAL ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION, 17 10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00589 JAN 2019
  • The Latitudinal Diversity Gradient: Novel Understanding through Mechanistic Eco-evolutionary
    Pontarp, M; Bunnefeld, L; Cabral, JS; Etienne, RS; Fritz, SA; Gillespie, R; Graham, CH; Hagen, O; Hartig, F; Huang, S; Jansson, R; Maliet, O; Munkemuller, T; Pellissier, L; Rangel, TF; Storch, D; Wiegand, T; Hurlbert, AH
    TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, 34 (3):211-223; 10.1016/j.tree.2018.11.009 MAR 2019
  • Disentangling the processes driving plant assemblages in mountain grasslands across spatial scales and environmental gradients
    Scherrer, D; Mod, HK; Pottier, J; Litsios-Dubuis, A; Pellissier, L; Vittoz, P; Gotzenberger, L; Zobel, M; Guisan, A
    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 107 (1):265-278; 10.1111/1365-2745.13037 JAN 2019
  • A tale of two forests: ongoing aridification drives population decline and genetic diversity loss at continental scale in Afro-Macaronesian evergreen-forest archipelago endemics
    Mairal, M; Caujape-Castells, J; Pellissier, L; Jaen-Molina, R; Alvarez, N; Heuertz, M; Sanmartin, I
    ANNALS OF BOTANY, 122 (6):1005-1017; 10.1093/aob/mcy107 NOV 2 2018
  • Forecasted homogenization of high Arctic vegetation communities under climate change
    Stewart, Laerke; Simonsen, Caroline E.; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Schmidt, Niels Martin; Pellissier, Loic
    JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, 45 (11):2576-2587; 10.1111/jbi.13434 NOV 2018
  • The functional decoupling of processes in alpine ecosystems under climate change
    Pellissier, Loic; Rasmann, Sergio
    CURRENT OPINION IN INSECT SCIENCE, 29 126-132; 10.1016/j.cois.2018.07.005 OCT 2018
  • Growth-competition-herbivore resistance trade-offs and the responses of alpine plant communities to climate change
    Pellissier, L; Descombes, P; Hagen, O; Chalmandrier, L; Glauser, G; Kergunteuil, A; Defossez, E; Rasmann, S
    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 32 (7):1693-1703; https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13075 JUL 2018
  • Plant physical and chemical defence variation along elevation gradients: a functional trait-based approach
    Kergunteuil, Alan; Descombes, Patrice; Glauser, Gaetan; Pellissier, Loic; Rasmann, Sergio
    OECOLOGIA, 187 (2):561-571; 10.1007/s00442-018-4162-y JUN 2018
  • The unfolding of plant growth form-defence syndromes along elevation gradients
    Defossez, Emmanuel; Pellissier, Loic; Rasmann, Sergio
    ECOLOGY LETTERS, 21 (5):609-618; 10.1111/ele.12926 MAY 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; https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12366 MAY 2018
  • Comparing spatial diversification and meta-population models in the Indo-Australian Archipelago
    Chalmandrier, L; Albouy, C; Descombes, P; Sandel, B; Faurby, S; Syenning, JC; Zimmermann, NE; Pellissier, L
    ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE, 5 (3): https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171366 MAR 2018
  • Lags in the response of mountain plant communities to climate change 
    Alexander, Jake M.; Chalmandrier, Loic; Lenoir, Jonathan; et al. 
    GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY, 24 (2): 563-579 https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13976 FEB 2018
  • Linking species diversification to palaeo-environmental changes: A process-based modelling approach 
    Descombes, Patrice; Gaboriau, Theo; Albouy, Camille; et al. 
  • Are global hotspots of endemic richness shaped by plate tectonics? 
    Pellissier, Loic; Heine, Christian; Rosauer, Dan F.; et al. 
  • Improving spatial predictions of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity 
    D'Amen, Manuela; Mateo, Ruben G.; Pottier, Julien; et al. 
    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 106 (1): 76-86 JAN 2018
Loic Pellissier

Prof. Dr. Loïc Pellissier
ETH Zurich
Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems
8092 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 632 32 03

Research topics

  • Species distribution, interaction and community assembly 
  • The role of historical event in shaping current biodiversity
  • Monitoring changes in ecosystems
  • Climate and land-use change
  • Changes along environmental gradients
  • Biogeography



  • Plant-insect interactions 
  • Plant defense strategies 
  • Community ecology 
  • Phylogeography
  • Ecosystem good and services