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

  • Understanding and assessing vegetation health by in situ species and remote-sensing approaches
    Lausch, A; Bastian, O; Klotz, S; Leitao, PJ; Jung, A; Rocchini, D; Schaepman, ME; Skidmore, AK; Tischendorf, L; Knapp, S
    METHODS IN ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 9 (8):1799-1809; 10.1111/2041-210X.13025 AUG 2018
  • Environmental change issues: Integrated global change and biodiversity research for a sustainable future
    Zuppinger-Dingley, D; Krug, CB; Petchey, O; Schmid, B; Backhaus, N; Schaepman, ME
  • Genomics meets remote sensing in global change studies: monitoring and predicting phenology, evolution and biodiversity
    Yamasaki, E; Altermatt, F; Cavender-Bares, J; Schuman, MC; Zuppinger-Dingley, D; Garonna, I; Schneider, FD; Guillen-Escriba, C; van Moorsel, SJ; Hahl, T; Schmid, B; Schaepman-Strub, G; Schaepman, ME; Shimizu, KK
    CURRENT OPINION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, 29 177-186; 10.1016/j.cosust.2018.03.005 DEC 2017
  • Observations, indicators and scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services change - a framework to support policy and decision-making
    Krug, CB; Schaepman, ME; Shannon, LJ; Cavender-Bares, J; Cheung, W; McIntyre, PB; Metzger, JP; Niinemets, U; Obura, DO; Schmid, B; Strassburg, BBN; Van Teeffelen, AJA; Weyl, OLF; Yasuhara, M; Leadley, PW
    CURRENT OPINION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, 29 198-206; 10.1016/j.cosust.2018.04.001 DEC 2017
  • Monitoring biodiversity change through effective global coordination
    Navarro, LM; Fernandez, N; Guerra, C; Guralnick, R; Kissling, WD; Londono, MC; Muller-Karger, F; Turak, E; Balvanera, P; Costello, MJ; Delavaud, A; El Serafy, GY; Ferrier, S; Geijzendorffer, I; Geller, GN; Jetz, W; Kim, ES; Kim, H; Martin, CS; McGeoch, MA; Mwampamba, TH; Nel, JL; Nicholson, E; Pettorelli, N; Schaepman, ME; Skidmore, A; Pinto, IS; Vergara, S; Vihervaara, P; Xu, HG; Yahara, T; Gill, M; Pereira, HM
    CURRENT OPINION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, 29 158-169; 10.1016/j.cosust.2018.02.005 DEC 2017
  • How can global conventions for biodiversity and ecosystem services guide local conservation actions?
    Geijzendorffer, IR; van Teeffelen, AJA; Allison, H; Braun, D; Horgan, K; Iturrate-Garcia, M; Santos, MJ; Pellissier, L; Prieur-Richard, AH; Quatrini, S; Sakai, S; Zuppinger-Dingley, D
    CURRENT OPINION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, 29 145-150; 10.1016/j.cosust.2017.12.011 DEC 2017
  • 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. 
    GLOBAL ECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY, 27 (2): 233-244 FEB 2018 Article (Details)
  • Are global hotspots of endemic richness shaped by plate tectonics? 
    Pellissier, Loic; Heine, Christian; Rosauer, Dan F.; et al. 
    BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, 123 (1): 247-261 JAN 2018 Article (Details)
  • 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 Article (Details)
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