Anna-Liisa Laine

Professor of Ecology
University of Zürich, Switzerland

Director of Research Centre for Ecological Change
Visiting Professor at University of Helsinki

Administrative assistant Jacqueline Moser
Phone: +41 44 635 47 14

Understanding biodiversity for a better future.

We study ecosystems from the top down and from the bottom up to understand how the world stays green.

The interactions that link species to one another are the building blocks of biodiversity. In our work we are broadly interested in the eco-evolutionary feedback loops that drive species interactions.

To uncover these, we combine experimental, and molecular approaches with field surveys and mathematical modelling. These complementary approaches allow us to pinpoint the processes by which natural communities are structured and how they function.

This offers irreplaceable insight to understand how our biodiversity is responding to ongoing global change, and how we can improve sustainability of the global food production system.


Jacqueline Moser
Administrative Assistant

Krista Raveala
Lab Manager
Fieldwork, SQL, 3D modeling

Viviana Loaiza
Lab manager
Microbial ecology, integration

Matthias Furler
Nature, creativity, sports

Jenalle Eck
Post doc
Plant & microbial ecology

Hanna Susi
Post doc

Fletcher Halliday
Post doc
Global change, disease ecology

Pascal Niklaus
Independent Team Leader

Anna Norberg
Post doc

Seraina Cappelli
Post doc
Diversity,ecosystem function

Elina Kaarlejarvi
Post doc

Suvi Sallinen
PhD student
Disease community dynamics

Pezhman Safdari
PhD student
Bioinformatic analysis

Debra Zuppinger-Dingley
Program Manager, LSYGS PhD Program Ecology
Biodiversity, global change, evoecology

Maija Jokinen
PhD student
Molecular biology, viruses

Tanja Sostizzo
PhD student
co-supervised with Dr. Giselher Grabenweger

Mikko Tiusanen
Post doc

Szymon Czyzewski
MSc Student
Supervisor Dr. Fletcher Halliday
plants, grasshoppers, art

Luiz Domeignoz Horta
Post doc
Microbial ecology, diversity

Anita Bollmann-Giolai
Post doc
Plant environmental interactions, genomics

Michael Giolai
Post doc
Plant pathogen interactions, genomics

Sara Fraixedas
Post doc

Nadja Rohner
MSc Student
Supervisor Dr. Luiz Domeignoz-Horta
Nature, yoga

Michael Rechsteiner
PhD candidate
co-supervisor Prof. Dr.Andreas Wagner

Selina Lepori
MSc Student
Supervisor Dr. Luiz Domeignoz-Horta
Soil ecology

Paula Thitz
Post doc
Plant-invertebrate interations
Carbon Action


Key Research Themes

Long-term ecology

Long-term nature observation series are indispensable records of how individual populations and species are responding to environmental change. In the Research Centre for Ecological Change we are systematically collecting long-term ecological data for an unprecedented syntheses of how communities of organisms are responding to change.

Biodiversity in a changing world

We are studying how natural communities are responding to global change and how interactions among species across trophic levels are changing as well.

Global plant demography

As part of PlantPopNet, we are driving a coordinated global effort combining data and theory to understand abiotic and biotic drivers of population persistence and distribution in a changing world.

Biological diversity and sustainable food production

Humans have intensified and mechanized agricultural processes in an effort to boost efficiency, productivity and profits. As a result, global food systems are increasingly generating severe social, environmental, economic and climate costs. We are investigating how mechanisms that promote stability in natural ecosystems could be utilized to develop sustainable and climate-smart food production systems.

Intraspecific variation in host-parasite interactions

Understanding how diversity is maintained in host and parasite populations is one of the core challenges in disease biology. Using long-term population dynamic data combined with genomics and experimentation, we address this question in a natural plant-pathogen interaction. This work brings us one step closer to answering questions of how risks of virulence and pathogen occurrence evolve – important questions from both basic and applied points of view.

Pathogen communities

Across biological systems it is becoming increasingly clear that host populations and even single host individuals are typically exploited by diverse pathogen communities. In our work we aim to understand the spatio-temporal determinants of this diversity, and what the eco-evolutionary implications are for both hosts and pathogens.



Academy of Finland

Jane & Aatos Erkko Foundation

Nessling Foundation

University of Zürich

University of Helsinki


Safdari, P., Höckerstedt, L., Brosche, M., Salojärvi, J. & Laine, A.-L., 2021. Genotype-Specific Expression and NLR Repertoire Contribute to Phenotypic Resistance Diversity in Plantago lanceolata. Frontiers in Plant Science, 12, 1376. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.675760

Susi, H. and Laine, A.‐L. (2021), Agricultural land use disrupts biodiversity mediation of virus infections in wild plant populations. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.17156

Kaarlejärvi, E, Salemaa, M, Tonteri, T, Merilä, P, Laine, A‐L., 2021. Temporal biodiversity change following disturbance varies along an environmental gradient. Global Ecol Biogeogr.; 30: 476– 489. doi: 10.1111/geb.13233

Eck, J.L., Barrès, B., Soubeyrand, S., Siren, J., Numminen, E. & Laine, A.-L., 2020. Strain diversity and spatial distribution are linked to epidemic dynamics in host populations. The American Naturalist, Accepted.

Höckerstedt, L, Susi, H, Laine, A‐L., 2021. Effect of maternal infection on progeny growth and resistance mediated by maternal genotype and nutrient availability. Journal of Ecology; 00:1– 13. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.13568.

Sallinen, S., Norberg, A., Susi, H. & Laine, A.-L., 2020. Intraspecific host variation plays a key role in virus community assembly. Nature Communications, 11, 5610. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19273-z

Halliday. F. W., Penczykowski, R., Barres, B., Eck, J., Numminen, E. & Laine, A.-L., 2020. Facilitative priority effects drive parasite assembly under coinfection. Nature Ecology & Evolution 4: 1510–152. doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-01289-9

Halliday, F. W., Rohr, J. R. & Laine, A.-L., 2020. Biodiversity loss underlies the dilution effect of biodiversity. Ecology Letters, 23:1611-1622. doi: 10.1111/ele.13590

Opedal, Ø., Ovaskainen, O. Saastamoinen, M., Laine, A.-L. & van Nouhuys, S., 2020. Host plant availability drives the spatio-temporal dynamics of interacting metapopulations across a fragmented landscape. Ecology, 00(00):e03186. doi: 10.1002/ecy.3186 

Numminen, E. & Laine, A.-L. 2020. The spread of a wild plant pathogen is driven by the road network. PLoS Computational Biology 16(3). doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.100770

Smith, A. L., Hodkinson, T. R., Villellas, J., Catford, J. A., Csergő, A. M., Blomberg, S. P., Crone, E., E., Ehrlén, J., Garcia, M. B., Laine, A.-L., Roach, D. B., Salguero-Gómez, R., Wardle, G. M., Childs, D. Z., Elderd, B. D., Finn, A., Munné-Bosch, S., Baudraz, M. E. A., Bódis, J., Brearley, F. Q., Bucharova, A., Caruso, C. M., Duncan, R. P., Dwyer, J. M., Gooden, B., Groenteman, R., Hamre, L. N., Helm, A., Kelly, R., Laanisto, L., Lonati, L., Moore, J. L., Morales, M., Olsen, S. L., Pärtel, M., Petry, W. K., Ramula, S., Rasmussen, P. U., Enri, S. R., Roeder, A., Roscher, C., Saastamoinen, M., Tack, A. J. M., Töpper, J. P., Vose, G. E., Wandrag, E. M., Wingler, A. and Buckley, Y. M. 2020.  Global gene flow releases invasive plants from environmental constraints on genetic diversity. Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences, 117 (8) 4218-4227. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1915848117

Laine, A.-L., Barrès, B., Numminen, E. & Sirén, J. 2019. Variable opportunities for outcrossing result in hotspots of novel genetic variation in a pathogen metapopulation. eLife, 8:e47091. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47091

Dallas, T., Laine, A.-L. & Ovaskainen, O. 2019. Detecting parasite associations within multispecies host and parasite communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286:1912. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1109

Numminen, E., Vaumourin, E., Parratt, S., Poulin, L., & Laine, A.-L. 2019. Variation and correlations between sexual, asexual and natural enemy resistance life-history traits in a natural plant pathogen population. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19: 142. doi: 10.1186/s12862-019-1468-2

Karvonen, A., Jokela, J. & Laine, A-L., 2019. Importance of sequence and timing of parasite coinfections. Trends in Parasitology, 35: 109-118. doi: 10.1016/

Susi, H. S., Filloux, D., Frilander, M. J., Roumagnac, P. & Laine, A-L. 2019. Diverse and variable virus communities in wild plant populations revealed by metagenomic tools. PeerJ. 7(24): 6140. doi: 10.7717/peerj.6140

Laine, A-L. & Mäkinen, H. 2018. Life-history correlations change under coinfection leading to higher pathogen load. Evolution Letters. 2: 126-133. doi: 10.1002/evl3.48

Penczykowski, R. M., Parratt, S. R., Barres, B., Sallinen, S. K. & Laine, A-L. 2018. Manipulating host resistance structure reveals impact of pathogen dispersal and environmental heterogeneity on epidemics. Ecology. 99: 2853-2863. doi: 10.1002/ecy.2526

Parratt, S. R. & Laine, A-L. 2018. Pathogen dynamics under both bottom-up host resistance and top-down hyperparasite attack. Journal of Applied Ecology. 55: 2976-2985. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13185

Vaumourin, E. & Laine, A-L. 2018. Role of Temperature and Coinfection in Mediating Pathogen Life-History Traits. Frontiers in Plant Science. 9: 1670. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01670

Höckerstedt, L. M., Siren, J. P. & Laine, A-L. 2018. Effect of spatial connectivity on host resistance in a highly fragmented natural pathosystem. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 31: 844-852. doi: 10.1111/jeb.13268


Click on “News” for more!


Anna-Liisa Laine
Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Winterthurerstrasse 190
8057 Zurich, Switzerland

Email: anna-liisa.laine[at]
Office: Y13-H-44
Phone: +41 44 635 4804
Twitter: @allaine

Administrative assistant:
Jacqueline Moser
Email: jacqueline.moser[at]
Phone: +41 44 635 47 14

Getting here

We are located in building Y13 at the Irchel campus of the University of Zurich.

Arriving by public transport

From the Zurich main station (Hauptbahnhof or HB), tram stop Bahnhofplatz/HB:

-Take tram 10, direction Seebach, to the stop “Universität Zürich” (about 13 min). From there walk through the park to the campus buildings.
-Take tram 14, direction Seebach, to the stop “Michbuck” (about 11 min).
-Take tram number 7, direction Stettbach, to the stop “Milchbuck”. From there walk through the park to the campus buildings.

This is the blue cow, a popular meeting point at the Irchel campus.

Tip: a 24 hour ticket within zone 110 is valid for any number of rides within 24 hours of purchase and costs the same as two single rides. Note that you have to buy your ticket at a tram stop, train station or using an app (ZVV, SBB). No tickets are sold inside the tram.

This is the blue cow, a popular meeting point at the Irchel campus.

Link to map of Irchel campus here (open street maps) and here (UZH official).