Plant-plant interactions

Plant Community Ecology

Our research focuses on the mechanisms of plant interactions and on their consequences for biodiversity, with emphasis on positive (facilitative) interactions. We use observational and experimental methods and apply trait-based approaches to look into competition and facilitation processes and to investigate their consequences for species coexistence and community assembly. We are particularly interested in niche-based approaches to plant interactions and the potential evolutionary consequences of facilitation for the interacting species. We study plant interactions in alpine, semi-arid and agricultural ecosystems.

Recent Publications

  • Increasing water availability and facilitation weaken biodiversity-biomass relationships in shrublands
    Guo, YP; Schob, C; Ma, WH; Mohammat, A; Liu, HY; Yu, SL; Jiang, YX; Schmid, B; Tang, ZY
    ECOLOGY, 100 (3):10.1002/ecy.2624 MAR 2019
  • Plant interactions shape pollination networks via nonadditive effects
    Losapio, G; Fortuna, MA; Bascompte, J; Schmid, B; Michalet, R; Neumeyer, R; Castro, L; Cerretti, P; Germann, C; Haenni, JP; Klopfstein, S; Ortiz-Sanchez, FJ; Pont, AC; Rousse, P; Schmid, J; Sommaggio, D; Schob, C
    ECOLOGY, 100 (3):10.1002/ecy.2619 MAR 2019
  • The assembly of a plant network in alpine vegetation
    Losapio, G; de la Cruz, M; Escudero, A; Schmid, B; Schob, C
    JOURNAL OF VEGETATION SCIENCE 29(6): 999-1006, DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12681, NOV 2018
  • Crop presence, but not genetic diversity, impacts on the rare arable plant Valerianella rimosa
    Rob W. Brooker, Alison J. Karley, Luna Morcillo, Adrian C. Newton, Robin J. Pakeman & Christian Schöb
    Plant Ecology & Diversity, 10:5-6, 495-507, DOI: 10.1080/17550874.2018.1437646  2017
  • A trait-based approach to understand the consequences of specific plant interactions for community structure 
    Schoeb, Christian; Macek, Petr; Piston, Nuria; et al. 
    JOURNAL OF VEGETATION SCIENCE, 28 (4): 696-704, JUL 2017
  • Species but not genotype diversity strongly impacts the establishment of rare colonisers 
    Schoeb, Christian; Hortal, Sara; Karley, Alison J.; et al. 
    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 31 (7): 1462-1470, JUL 2017
  • Resistance of plant-plant networks to biodiversity loss and secondary extinctions following simulated environmental changes 
    Losapio, Gianalberto; Schoeb, Christian 
    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 31 (5): 1145-1152, MAY 2017
  • Feedback effects between plant and flower-visiting insect communities along a primary succession gradient 
    Losapio, Gianalberto; Gobbi, Mauro; Marano, Giuseppe; et al. 
    ARTHROPOD-PLANT INTERACTIONS, 10 (6): 485-495, DEC 2016
  • Beneficiary feedback effects on alpine cushion benefactors become more negative with increasing cover of graminoids and in dry conditions
    Michalet, Richard; Schoeb, Christian; Xiao, Sa; et al.
    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY 30(1): 79-87 JAN 2016
  • Facilitation and sustainable agriculture: a mechanistic approach to reconciling crop production and conservation 
    Brooker, Rob W.; Karley, Alison J.; Newton, Adrian C.;  Pakeman, RJ ; Schoeb, Christian
    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 30 (1): 98-107 10.1111/1365-2435.12496 JAN 2016
  • A global meta-analysis of the relative extent of intraspecific trait variation in plant communities
    Siefert, Andrew; Violle, Cyrille; Chalmandrier, Loic; et al.
    ECOLOGY LETTERS 18(12):1406-1419 10.1111/ele.12508  DEC 2015
Christian Schoeb

Prof. Dr. Christian Schöb
ETH Zürich
Institute of Agricultural Sciences
8092 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 632 47 53

Research topics

  • Plant community ecology
  • Plant species coexistence
  • Plant interactions
  • Functional plant ecology
  • Evolutionary plant ecology
  • Alpine plant ecology



  • Agriculture and food security
  • Intercropping
  • Climate change impact
  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Biodiversity