Emmanuel Defossez


Research interests

I am a plant ecologist and biostatistician, primarily interested in how the combination of evolutionary constraints and plant-environment interactions drive species coexistence along elevation gradients.

By studying plant-environment interactions along elevational gradients through the lens of metabolomics, the major goal of my current research is to understand how plant metabolomes can be integrated into functional ecology to describe biotic interactions more accurately and to understand how the local environment constrains plant strategies, structures biodiversity, and shape landscape pattern.

From a bioinformatic perspective, I am interested in leveraging big data generated by current state-of-the-art tools applied to ecological research via machine-deep learning approach.



Defossez, E., Pitteloud, C., Descombes, P., Glauser, G., Allard, PM., Walker, T. W. N.., Fernandez-Conradi, P., Wolfender, JL., Pellissier, L., &  Rasmann, S. Spatial and evolutionary predictability of phytochemical diversity. PNAS; In press

Descombes, P., Pitteloud, C., Glauser, G., Defossez, E., Kergunteuil, A., Allard, P. M., ... & Pellissier, L. 2020. Novel trophic interactions under climate change promote alpine plant coexistence. Science, 370 (6523), 1469-1473.

Bakhtiari, M., Glauser, G., Defossez, E., & Rasmann, S. 2020. Ecological convergence of secondary phytochemicals along elevational gradients. New Phytologist.

Duthé, V., Defossez, E., van der Westhuizen, R., Glauser, G., & Rasmann, S. 2020. Out of scale out of place: Black rhino forage preference across the hierarchical organization of the savanna ecosystem. Conservation Science and Practice, 2(5), e191.

M. Pardos, M. del Río, H. Pretzsch, H. Jactel, K. Bielak, F. Bravo, G. Brazaitis, E. Defossez, M. Engel, K. Godvod, K. Jacobs, L. Jansone, A. Jansons, X. Morin, A. Nothdurft, L. Oreti, Q. Ponette, M. Pach, J. Riofrío, R. Ruíz-Peinado, A. Tomao, E. Uhl, R. Calama, The greater resilience of mixed forests to drought mainly depends on their composition: Analysis along a climate gradient across Europe. Forest Ecology and Management, 481, 118687.

Jourdan, M., Piedallu, C., Baudry, J., Defossez, E., & Morin, X. 2020. Tree diversity and the temporal stability of mountain forest productivity: testing the effect of species composition, through asynchrony and overyielding. European Journal of Forest Research, 1-14.

Pilar, F. C., Loïc, M., Defossez, E., & Rasmann, S. 2020. Seasonal changes in arthropod diversity patterns along an Alpine elevation gradient. Ecological Entomology.

Robert, C. A., Pellissier, L., Moreira, X., Defossez, E., Pfander, M., Guyer, A., ... & Rasmann, S. 2019. Correlated Induction of Phytohormones and Glucosinolates Shapes Insect Herbivore Resistance of Cardamine Species Along Elevational Gradients. Journal of chemical ecology, 1-11.

Xiao, Z., Jiang, L., Chen, X., Zhang, Y., Defossez, E., Hu, F., ... & Rasmann, S. 2019. Earthworms suppress thrips attack on tomato plants by concomitantly modulating soil properties and plant chemistry. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 130, 23-32.

Defossez, E., Pellissier, L., & Rasmann, S. 2018. The unfolding of plant growth form‐defence syndromes along elevation gradients. Ecology letters, 21(5), 609-618.

Pellissier, L., Descombes, P., Hagen, O., Chalmandrier, L., Glauser, G., Kergunteuil, A., Defossez, E., & Rasmann, S. 2018. Growth‐competition‐herbivore resistance trade‐offs and the responses of alpine plant communities to climate change. Functional ecology, 32(7), 1693-1703.

Callis-Duehl, K., Vittoz, P., Defossez, E., & Rasmann, S. 2017. Community-level relaxation of plant defenses against herbivores at high elevation. Plant Ecology, 218(3), 291-304.

Kergunteuil, A., Bakhtiari, M., Formenti, L., Xiao, Z., Defossez, E., & Rasmann, S. (2016). Biological control beneath the Feet: A review of crop protection against insect root herbivores. Insects, 7(4), 70.

Defossez, E., Courbaud, B., Lasbouygues, O., Schiffers, K., & Kunstler, G. (2016). Are variations of direct and indirect plant interactions along a climatic gradient dependent on species’ strategies? An experiment on tree seedlings. Oikos, 125(5), 708-717.

Rasmann, S., Pellissier, L., Defossez, E., Jactel, H., & Kunstler, G. (2014). Climate‐driven change in plant–insect interactions along elevation gradients. Functional Ecology, 28(1), 46-54.

Coince, A., Cordier, T., Lengellé, J., Defossez, E., Vacher, C., Robin, C., ... & Marçais, B. (2014). Leaf and root-associated fungal assemblages do not follow similar elevational diversity patterns. PloS one, 9(6).

Defossez, E., Courbaud, B., Marcais, B., Thuiller, W., Granda, E., & Kunstler, G. (2011). Do interactions between plant and soil biota change with elevation? A study on Fagus sylvatica. Biology letters, 7(5), 699-701.

Defossez, E., Djiéto-Lordon, C., McKey, D., Selosse, M. A., & Blatrix, R. (2011). Plant-ants feed their host plant, but above all a fungal symbiont to recycle nitrogen. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278(1710), 1419-1426.

Defossez, E., Selosse, M. A., Dubois, M. P., Mondolot, L., Faccio, A., Djieto‐Lordon, C., ... & Blatrix, R. (2009). Ant‐plants and fungi: a new threeway symbiosis. New Phytologist, 182(4), 942-949.    

˟ Defossez, E., ˟ Leotard, G., Debain, C., McKey, D., Kjellberg, F., & Blatrix, R. (2008). Local Genetic Co-Structuring of the Ant Petalomyrmex phylax and its Host Plant Leonardoxa a. africana: No Role for a Sixty Meter River Width in SeparatingSocial Forms. Sociobiology, 51(2), 363-372.
˟ both authors contributed equally work

Emmanuel Defossez



+41 32 718 23 87