Isabelle Koenig

The main aim of my thesis is to analyse the effects of different kinds of ecological stress and disturbance on community assembly of soil micro-eukaryotes communities, in time and space using the metacommunities concept (Leibold et al., 2004) and an integrative approach combining community ecology, functional diversity and ecophylogenetics.

In order to test how stresses and disturbances impact soil eukaryotes communities, I will apply a two sided approach:

  1. Traditional, with the extraction and counting of taxa known or expected to react to the stress / disturbance (testate amoebae, nematodes and mites in a study regarding impact of decomposition of pig cadaver on forest soil; testate amoebae and the whole microbial community at low taxonomic level in a mesocosms study of impact of water level change in peatland community).
  2. Second, through phylogenetic dataset of soil micro-eukaryotes communities, I will analyse the effect of stress and disturbance on community assembly.


As new theoretical frameworks begin to be tested on soil micro-organisms, I will compare more traditional approaches (based on species counts) and new ones like functional diversity, the challenge being to find relevant traits to be taken in account.



2013 -

PhD (Soil biodiversity and functions in relation with stresses - sudden impact or long term changes), Laboratory of Soil Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.


Master thesis in Biogeosciences (Universities of Neuchâtel and Lausanne). Research project on testate amoebae, bryophytes and vascular plants as bioindicators in four peatlands located along an altitudinal gradient, University of Neuchâtel, Laboratory of Soil Biology, Switzerland, in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forrest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Biodiversity and Nature conservation biology (Biodiversität und Naturschutzbiologie), Birmensdorf and Lausanne


BSc in Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland


Certificate in Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control, Institut romand des sciences et des pratiques de la santé et du social (IRSP), Lausanne, Switzerland


Trained nurse, Bois-Cerf School, Lausanne, Switzerland



Koenig et al, 2015, "Comparative ecology of vascular plant, bryophyte and testate amoeba communities in four Sphagnum peatlands along an altitudinal gradient in Switzerland", Ecological Indicators, In Press