Evolutionary ecology of above-below-ground plant-animal interaction

Mechanistic Community Ecology, Soil Ecology

Which biotic and abiotic factors drive variation in species interactions remains a central question in ecology. In our lab we take advantage of natural variation in species interaction generated by ecological gradients, and we use different approaches, including field common gardens, behavioral assays, chemical and phylogenetic analyses to address this question. By studying multitrophic interactions in natural settings we aim at harnessing the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms of community assembly, and ultimately, we hope to use this fundamental knowledge for targeted application related to crop production and biological control of insect pests.

Recent Publications

  • Herbivore specificity and the chemical basis of plant-plant communication in Baccharis salicifolia (Asteraceae)
    Moreira, X; Nell, CS; Katsanis, A; Rasmann, S; Mooney, KA
    NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 220 (3):703-713; 10.1111/nph.14164 NOV 2018
  • Assessing the influence of biogeographical region and phylogenetic history on chemical defences and herbivory in Quercus species
    Moreira, X; Abdala-Roberts, L; Galman, A; Francisco, M; de la Fuente, M; Butroon, A; Rasmann, S
    PHYTOCHEMISTRY, 153 64-73; 10.1016/j.phytochem.2018.06.002 SEP 2018
  • Elevational gradients in plant defences and insect herbivory: recent advances in the field and prospects for future research
    Moreira, X; Petry, WK; Mooney, KA; Rasmann, S; Abdala-Roberts, L
    ECOGRAPHY, 41 (9):1485-1496; 10.1111/ecog.03184 NOV 2018
  • Root JA Induction Modifies Glucosinolate Profiles and Increases Subsequent Aboveground Resistance to Herbivore Attack in Cardamine hirsuta
    Bakhtiari, M; Glauser, G; Rasmann, S
    FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 9 10.3389/fpls.2018.01230 AUG 21 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
  • Latitudinal variation in plant chemical defences drives latitudinal patterns of leaf herbivory
    Moreira, X; Castagneyrol, B; Abdala-Roberts, L; Teran, JCBMY; Timmermans, BGH; Bruun, HH; Covelo, F; Glauser, G; Rasmann, S; Tack, AJM
    ECOGRAPHY, 41 (7):1124-1134; 10.1111/ecog.03326 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
  • Pleiotropic effect of the Flowering Locus C on plant resistance and defence against insect herbivores
    Rasmann, Sergio; Vilas, Julia Sanchez; Glauser, Gaetan; Cartolano, Maria; Lempe, Janne; Tsiantis, Miltos; Pannell, John R.
    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 106 (3):1244-1255; 10.1111/1365-2745.12894 MAY 2018
  • Lioptilodes friasi (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) Niche Breadth in the Chilean Mediterranean Matorral Biome: Trophic and Altitudinal Dimensions 
    Vargas, Hector A.; Rasmann, Sergio; Ramirez-Verdugo, Pamela; Villagra, Cristian A
    NEOTROPICAL ENTOMOLOGY, 47 (1): 62-68, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13744-017-0514-2 FEB 2018
  • Root symbionts: Powerful drivers of plant above- and belowground indirect defenses 
    Rasmann, Sergio; Bennett, Alison; Biere, Arjen; et al. 
    INSECT SCIENCE, 24 (6): 947-960 DEC 2017  Review (Details)
  • Earthworms affect plant growth and resistance against herbivores: A meta-analysis 
    Xiao, Zhenggao; Wang, Xie; Koricheva, Julia; et al. 
    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 32 (1): 150-160 JAN 2018 Article (Details)
  • A global analysis of elevational gradients in leaf herbivory and its underlying drivers: Effects of plant growth form, leaf habit and climatic correlates 
    Galman, Andrea; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Zhang, Shuang; et al. 
    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 106 (1): 413-421 JAN 2018 Article (Details)
Sergio Rasmann

Prof. Dr. Sergio Rasmann
University of Neuchâtel
Institute of Biology
2000 Neuchâtel

Tel: +41 (0)32 718 23 37

Research topics

  • Plant-animal interactions
  • Community ecology along ecological gradients
  • Above-belowground interactions
  • Plant-herbivore-microbe interaction
  • Evolutionary ecology of plant defense strategies



  • Chemical ecology
  • Metabolomics
  • Genomics
  • Entomology
  • Soil ecology