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

  • A global database of soil nematode abundance and functional group composition
    van den Hoogen, Johan; Geisen, Stefan; Wall, Diana H.; Wardle, David A.; Traunspurger, Walter; et al.
    Scientific Data  DOI: 10.1038/s41597-020-0437-3   MAR 26 2020
  • Plant physical and chemical traits associated with herbivory in situ and under a warming treatment
    Descombes, Patrice; Kergunteuil, Alan; Glauser, Gaetan; Rasmann, Sergio; Pellissier, Loic
    Journal Of Ecology  DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13286   MAR 2020
  • Global determinants of freshwater and marine fish genetic diversity
    Manel, Stephanie; Guerin, Pierre-Edouard; Mouillot, David; Blanchet, Simon; Velez, Laure; Albouy, Camille; Pellissier, Loic
    Nature Communications 11(1) Article Number: 692 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-14409-7 FEB 10 2020
  • Consistency of spatio-temporal patterns of avian migration across the Swiss lowlands
    Tschanz, Philippe; Pellissier, Loic; Shi, Xu; Liechti, Felix; Schmid, Baptiste
  • A Minimal Model for the Latitudinal Diversity Gradient Suggests a Dominant Role for Ecological Limits
    Etienne, Rampal S.; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Hagen, Oskar; Hartig, Florian; Hurlbert, Allen H.; et al.
    American Naturalist, https://doi.org/10.1086/705243, NOV 2019
  • The productivity-biodiversity relationship varies across diversity dimensions
    Brun, Philipp; Zimmermann, Niklaus E.; Graham, Catherine H.; Lavergne, Sebastien; Pellissier, Loic; Munkemuller, Tamara; Thuiller, Wilfried
    Nature Communications,  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13678-1, 2019
  • Model complexity affects species distribution projections under climate change
    Brun, Philipp; Thuiller, Wilfried; Chauvier, Yohann; Pellissier, Loic; Wueest, Rafael O.; et al.
    Journal Of Biogeography,  DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13734
  • A Minimal Model for the Latitudinal Diversity Gradient Suggests a Dominant Role for Ecological Limits
    Etienne, Rampal S.; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Hagen, Oskar; Hartig, Florian; Hurlbert, Allen H.; Pellissier, Loic; Pontarp, Mikael; Storch, David
    American Naturalist,  DOI: 10.1086/705243
  • Plant physical and chemical traits associated with herbivory in situ and under a warming treatment
    Descombes, P; Kergunteuil, A; Glauser, GG; Rasmann, S; Pellissier, L
    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY,  https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13286, OCT 2019
  • A process-based model supports an association between dispersal and the prevalence of species traits in tropical reef fish assemblages
    Donati, GFA; Parravicini, V; Leprieur, F; Hagen, O; Gaboriau, T; Heine, C; Kulbicki, M; Rolland, J; Salamin, N; Albouy, C; Pellissier, L
    ECOGRAPHY, 10.1111/ecog.04537 
  • Ecological constraints coupled with deep-time habitat dynamics predict the latitudinal diversity gradient in reef fishes
    Gaboriau, T; Albouy, C; Descombes, P; Mouillot, D; Pellissier, L; Leprieur, F
    PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 286 (1911):10.1098/rspb.2019.1506 SEP 18 2019
  • Cross-scale effects of land use on the functional composition of herbivorous insect communities
    Neff, F; Bluthgen, N; Chiste, MN; Simons, NK; Steckel, J; Weisser, WW; Westphal, C; Pellissier, L; Gossner, MM
    LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY, 34 (8):2001-2015; 10.1007/s10980-019-00872-1 AUG 2019
  • 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
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