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.


  • Lioptilodes friasi (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) Niche Breadth in the Chilean Mediterranean Matorral Biome: Trophic and Altitudinal Dimensions 
    Author(s): Vargas, Hector A.; Rasmann, Sergio; Ramirez-Verdugo, Pamela; Villagra, Cristian A
    Source: NEOTROPICAL ENTOMOLOGY, 47 (1): 62-68, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13744-017-0514-2 FEB 2018
  • Title: Root symbionts: Powerful drivers of plant above- and belowground indirect defenses 
    Author(s): Rasmann, Sergio; Bennett, Alison; Biere, Arjen; et al. 
    Source: INSECT SCIENCE, 24 (6): 947-960 DEC 2017 
    Document Type: Review (Details)
  • Title: Earthworms affect plant growth and resistance against herbivores: A meta-analysis 
    Author(s): Xiao, Zhenggao; Wang, Xie; Koricheva, Julia; et al. 
    Source: FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 32 (1): 150-160 JAN 2018 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: A global analysis of elevational gradients in leaf herbivory and its underlying drivers: Effects of plant growth form, leaf habit and climatic correlates 
    Author(s): Galman, Andrea; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Zhang, Shuang; et al. 
    Source: JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 106 (1): 413-421 JAN 2018 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Community-level relaxation of plant defenses against herbivores at high elevation 
    Author(s): Callis-Duehl, Kristine; Vittoz, Pascal; Defossez, Emmanuel; et al. 
    Source: PLANT ECOLOGY, 218 (3): 291-304 MAR 2017 
    Document Type: 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