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

  • Facilitation by a dwarf shrub enhances plant diversity of human-valued species at high elevations in the Himalayas of Nepal
    Parajuli, Rabindra; O'Brien, Michael J.; Timilsina, Bishnu; Pugnaire, Francisco, I; Schoeb, Christian; et al.
    Basic And Applied Ecology 10.1016/j.baae.2021.04.004  AUG 2021
  • Temporal Differentiation of Resource Capture and Biomass Accumulation as a Driver of Yield Increase in Intercropping
    Engbersen, Nadine; Brooker, Rob W.; Stefan, Laura; Studer, Bjorn; Schob, Christian
    Frontiers In Plant Science 10.3389/fpls.2021.668803  MAY 28 2021
  • Positive Effects of Crop Diversity on Productivity Driven by Changes in Soil Microbial Composition
    Stefan, Laura; Hartmann, Martin; Engbersen, Nadine; Six, Johan; Schoeb, Christian
    Frontiers In Microbiology 10.3389/fmicb.2021.660749  APR 15 2021
  • Diversity increases yield but reduces reproductive effort in crop mixtures
    Chen JG, Engbersen N, Stefan L, Schmid B, Sun H, Schöb C
    Nature Plants, 2021, published online 24th June. Doi: 10.1038/s41477-021-00948-4
  • An experimental approach to assessing the impact of ecosystem engineers on biodiversity and ecosystem functions
    Losapio, Gianalberto; Schmid, Bernhard; Bascompte, Jordi; Michalet, Richard; Cerretti, Pierfilippo; Germann, Christoph; Haenni, Jean-Paul; Neumeyer, Rainer; Javier Ortiz-Sanchez, Francisco; Pont, Adrian C; Rousse, Pascal; Schmid, Jurg; Sommaggio, Daniele; Schoeb, Christian
    Ecology, DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3243  FEB 2021
  • Foundation species promote local adaptation and fine-scale distribution of herbaceous plants
    O'Brien, Michael J.; Carbonell, Elisa P.; Losapio, Gianalberto; Schlueter, Philipp M.; Schoeb, Christian
    Journal Of Ecology  DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13461  JUL 2020
  • Warming enhances growth but does not affect plant interactions in an alpine cushion species
    Pugnaire, Francisco, I; Piston, Nuria; Macek, Petr; Schoeb, Christian; Estruch, Carme; et al.
    Perspectives In Plant Ecology Evolution And Systematics   DOI: 10.1016/j.ppees.2020.125530  JUN 2020
  • Positive plant-plant interactions expand the upper distributional limits of some vascular plant species
    Raath-Kruger, MJ; McGeoch, MA; Schob, C; Greve, M; Le Roux, PC
    ECOSPHERE, 10 (8):10.1002/ecs2.2820 AUG 2019
  • 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
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