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

  • Earth history events shaped the evolution of uneven biodiversity across tropical moist forests.
    Hagen O, Skeels A, Onstein R, Jetz W, Pellissier L.
    PNAS, Publication date: Oct 2021. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2026347118
  • gen3sis: A general engine for eco-evolutionary simulations of the processes that shape Earth’s biodiversity.
    Hagen O, Flück B, Fopp F, Cabral JS, Hartig F, Pontarp M, et al. (2021)
    PLoS Biol 19(7): e3001340. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001340, https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3001340
  • Low spatial autocorrelation in mountain biodiversity data and model residuals
    Chevalier, Mathieu; Mod, Heidi; Broennimann, Olivier; Di Cola, Valeria; Schmid, Sarah; Niculita-Hirzel, Helene; Pradervand, Jean-Nicolas; Schmidt, Benedikt R; Ursenbacher, Sylvain; Pellissier, Loic; Guisan, Antoine
    Ecosphere  10.1002/ecs2.3403 Published: MAR 2021
  • The effect of community-wide phytochemical diversity on herbivory reverses from low to high elevation
    Fernandez-Conradi, Pilar; Defossez, Emmanuel; Delavallade, Adrien; Descombes, Patrice; Pitteloud, Camille; et al.
    Journal Of Ecology, 10.1111/1365-2745.13649, MAR 2021
  • Detection of the elusive Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) using environmental DNA at Malpelo island (Eastern Pacific, Colombia)
    Juhel, Jean-Baptiste; Marques, Virginie; Polanco Fernandez, Andrea; Borrero-Perez, Giomar H.; Mutis Martinezguerra, Maria; et al.
    Ecology And Evolution, 10.1002/ece3.7057, APR 2021
  • Spatial and evolutionary predictability of phytochemical diversity
    Defossez, E; Pitteloud, C; Descombes, P; Glauser, G; Allard, PM; Walker, TWN; Fernandez-Conradi, P; Wolfender, JL; Pellissier, L; Rasmann, S
    Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America  10.1073/pnas.2013344118 JAN 19 2021
  • The structure of plant-herbivore interaction networks varies along elevational gradients in the European Alps
    Pitteloud, Camille; Walser, Jean-Claude; Descombes, Patrice; de Santana, Charles Novaes; Rasmann, Sergio; Pellissier, Loic
    Journal Of Biogeography  10.1111/jbi.14014 FEB 2021
  • Novel trophic interactions under climate change promote alpine plant coexistence
    Patrice Descombes; Camille Pitteloud; Gaëtan Glauser; Emmanuel Defossez; Alan Kergunteuil; Pierre-Marie Allard; Sergio Rasmann; Loïc Pellissier
    Science, 10.1126/science.abd7015,    DEC 2020
  • Rapid climate change results in long-lasting spatial homogenization of phylogenetic diversity
    Saladin, Bianca; Pellissier, Loic; Graham, Catherine H.; Nobis, Michael P.; Salamin, Nicolas; et al.
    Nature Communications  DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18343-6  SEP 16 2020
  • Greater topoclimatic control of above- versus below-ground communities
    Mod HK; Scherrer D; Di Cola V; Broennimann O; Blandenier Q;  Breiner, FT; Buri A; Goudet, J; Guex, N; Lara, E; Mitchell, EAD; Niculita-Hirzel, H; Pagni, M; Pellissier, L; Pinto-Figueroa, E; Sanders, IR; Schmidt, BR; Seppey, CVW; Singer, D; Ursenbacher, S; Yashiro, E; van der Meer, JR; Guisan, A
    Global Change Biology  DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15330  DEC 2020
  • Marine fish diversity in Tropical America associated with both past and present environmental conditions
    Polanco, Andrea F.; Fopp, Fabian; Albouy, Camille; Brun, Philipp; Boschman, Lydian; et al.
    Journal Of Biogeography  DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13985  DEC 2020
  • SoilTemp: A global database of near-surface temperature
    Lembrechts, Jonas J; Aalto, Juha; Ashcroft, Michael B; De Frenne, Pieter; Kopecky, Martin; et al.
    Global Change Biology  DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15123  NOV 2020
  • Inflection point in climatic suitability of insect pest species in Europe suggests non-linear responses to climate change
    Gruenig, Marc; Calanca, Pierluigi; Mazzi, Dominique; Pellissier, Loic
    Global Change Biology  DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15313  NOV 2020
  • Contrasting responses of above- and below-ground herbivore communities along elevation
    Pitteloud, Camille; Descombes, Patrice; Sanchez-Moreno, Sara; Kergunteuil, Alan; Ibanez, Sebastien; et al.
    Oecologia  DOI: 10.1007/s00442-020-04778-7  NOV 2020
  • Saproxylic species are linked to the amount and isolation of dead wood across spatial scales in a beech forest
    Haeler, Elena; Bergamini, Ariel; Blaser, Stefan; Ginzler, Christian; Hindenlang, Karin; et al.
    Landscape Ecology  DOI: 10.1007/s10980-020-01115-4  OCT 2020
  • Integrating ecosystem services within spatial biodiversity conservation prioritization in the Alps
    Ramel, Cindy; Rey, Pierre-Louis; Fernandes, Rui; Vincent, Claire; Cardoso, Ana R.; et al.
    Ecosystem Services  DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2020.101186  OCT 2020
  • Reptile species richness associated to ecological and historical variables in Iran
    Kafash, Anooshe; Ashrafi, Sohrab; Yousefi, Masoud; Rastegar-Pouyani, Eskandar; Rajabizadeh, Mahdi; et al.
    Scientific Reports  DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-74867-3  OCT 23 2020
  • A landscape-scale assessment of the relationship between grassland functioning, community diversity, and functional traits
    van't Veen, Hanneke; Chalmandrier, Loic; Sandau, Nadine; Nobis, Michael P.; Descombes, Patrice; et al.
    Ecology And Evolution  DOI: 10.1002/ece3.6650  SEP 2020
  • Forecast increase in invasive rabbit spread into ecosystems of an oceanic island (Tenerife) under climate change
    Bello-Rodriguez, Victor; Mateo, Ruben G.; Pellissier, Loic; Cubas, Jonay; Cooke, Brian; et al.
    Ecological Applications OI: 10.1002/eap.2206  SEP 2020
  • Harnessing paleo-environmental modeling and genetic data to predict intraspecific genetic structure
    Yannic, Glenn; Hagen, Oskar; Leugger, Flurin; Karger, Dirk N.; Pellissier, Loic
    Evolutionary Applications  DOI: 10.1111/eva.12986  JUL 2020
  • Crop and forest pest metawebs shift towards increased linkage and suitability overlap under climate change
    Grunig, Marc; Mazzi, Dominique; Calanca, Pierluigi; Karger, Dirk Nikolaus; Pellissier, Loic
    Communications Biology  DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-0962-9  MAY 11 2020
  • 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 vulnerability of marine mammals to global warming (vol 10, 548, 2020)
    Albouy, Camille; Delattre, Valentine; Donati, Giulia; Frolicher, Thomas L.; Albouy-Boyer, Severine; et al.
    Scientific Reports   DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-61227-4  MAR 3 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
  • Global vulnerability of marine mammals to global warming
    Albouy, Camille; Delattre, Valentine; Donati, Giulia; Frolicher, Thomas L.; Albouy-Boyer, Severine; et al.
    Scientific Reports  DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-57280-3   JAN 17 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
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