Alexandre Aebi

Interspecific interactions, taking place in agroecological ecosystems, are central to my scientific interests. My current research in biosafety is dedicated to crop and environment protection. By a combination of molecular, field, experimental and social approaches, I study the environmental impact of introduced and/or invasive insect species. Society evolution and its « new » environmental issues is central to my work. Global warming and the steady increase of international commercial activities impact the geographic distribution of many species. Global commercial exchanges erases bio-geographical boundaries between ecozones and allow the frequent movement of many organisms no longer confined to their natural geographic distribution. My research highlights general biological invasion processes that can only be fully understood in the light of social sciences. For example, the last line of defence against invasive insect is phytosanitary inspections at international airport and maritime ports. Understanding the logic of inspection choices or the risk perceptions of different inspectors is crucial to understand the full picture of biological invasions. Biological control is an alternative to pesticides and GMOs to control pest insect outbreaks. As any other technology, it comprises environmental risks. I am applying and developing environmental risk assessment procedures for improved biosecurity in the implementation of biological control in Switzerland and Europe. In particular, I work on the invasive chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus and its biological control agent, Torymus sinensis, an exotic parasitoid. This model system highlights the importance of sound biology knowledge and the need to study economical, legal as well as societal aspects for a comprehensive cost-risk-benefit analysis of the situation. The way the public perceives the problem, the role of actors such as regulators, scientist or chestnut growers in the construction of the problem may influence its outcome. Being able to throw biological as well as social aspects of the problem into the balance should help regulators in their decision process, and is a step in the direction of more participatory processes and attitudes in the administration of science.

Personal webpage (http://alexaebi.wordpress.com)

Visit the agroecology blog (http://www.unine.ch/agroecologie), a platform about teaching and research in biology and ethnology.


Professional experience

2012 - date:

Maître d’Enseignement et de Recherche in agroecology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

2008 - 2012:

Scientific collaborator. Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon, Research Station ART, Zürich, Switzerland.


Postdoc. Unit of Ecology & Evolution, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

2004 - 2006:

Postdoc. Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.



2000 - 2004:

PhD, Université de Neuchâtel, Suisse.

1998 - 1999:

Master, Université de Neuchâtel, Suisse.

1994 - 1998:

Bachelor en entomologie et botanique, Université de Neuchâtel, Suisse.

1990 - 1994:

Gymnase Cantonal de Neuchâtel, Switzerland.


Publication list

Peer-Reviewed Journals

23 Zindel R, Ofek M, Minz D, Palevsky E, Zchori-Fein E and Aebi A (2013) The bacterial community rules the nutritional ecology of its host, the bulb mite Rhizoglyphus robini (Acari: Astigmata: Acaridae). The FASEB Journal doi: 10.1096/fj.12-216242

22 Bruggisser OT, Sandau, Aebi A, Blandenier G, Fabian Y, Kehrli P, Naisbit RE and Bersier LF (2012) Direct and indirect bottom-up and top-down forces shape the abundance of the orb-web spider Argiope bruennichi. Basic and Applied Ecology 13: 706–714

21 Bacon SJ, Bacher S and Aebi A (2012) Gaps in border controls are related to quarantine alien insect invasions in Europe. PlosOne 7(10): e47689 PDF

20 Fabian Y, Sandau N, Bruggisser O, Kehrli P, Aebi A , Naisbit RE, Rohr RP and Bersier LF (2012) Diversity protects plant communities against generalist molluscan herbivores. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.359 PDF

19 Thomas AP, Trotman J, Wheatley A, Aebi A , Zindel R and Brown PMJ (2013) Predation of native coccinelids by the invasive alien Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): detection in Britain by PCR based gut analysis. Insect Conservation and Diversity 6:20-27 PDF

18 Aebi A , Vaissière BE, vanEngelsdorp D, Delaplane KS, Roubik DW and Neumann P (2011) Back to the future: Apis vs. non-Apis pollination. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27(3):142-143 PDF

17 Aebi A and Neumann P (2011) Endosymbionts and honey bee colony losses? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(10) 494 PDF

16* Aebi A, Brown PMJ, de Clercq P, Hautier L, Howe AG, Ingels B, Ravn HP, Sloggett JJ, Zindel R and Thomas A (2011) Detecting arthropod intraguild predation in the field. BioControl 56:429–440

15* Handley LJL, Estoup A, Thomas C, Lombaert E, Evand D, Lunt D, Aebi A and Roy H (2011) Ecological genetics of invasive species. BioControl 56:409–42

14* Gibbs M, Schönrogge K, Alma A, Melika G, Quacchia Q, Stone GN and Aebi A (2011) Torymus sinensis: a viable management option for the biological control of Dryocosmus kuriphilus in Europe? BioControl 56:527–538

13 Zindel R, Gottlieb Y, Aebi A. (2011) Arthropod symbiosis, a neglected parameter in pest and disease control programs. Journal of Applied Ecology 48: 864–872

12 Weinert LA, Werren JH, Aebi A, Stone GN and Jiggins FM (2009) Evolution and diversity of Rickettsia bacteria. BMC Biology 7:6 PDF

11 Aebi A, Shani T, Hansson C, Contreras-Garduno J, Mansion G and Benrey B (2008) The potential of native parasitoids for the control of Mexican bean beetles: A genetic and ecological approach. Biological Control 47: 289-297 PDF

10 Challis RJ, Stone GN, Mutun S, Nieves-Aldrey J-L, Preuss S, Rokas A, Aebi A, Sadeghi E and Tavakoli M (2007) Longitudinal range expansion and cryptic eastern species in the western Palaearctic oak gallwasp Andricus coriarius. Molecular Ecology 16 (10): 2103-2114 PDF

9 Aebi A, Schönrogge K, Melika G, Quacchia A, Alma A and Stone GN (2007) Native and introduced parasitoids attacking the invasive chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus. EPPO Bulletin 37: 166-171 PDF

8 Alvarez N, Mercier L, Hossaert-McKey M, Kunstler G, Aebi A and Benrey B. (2006) Ecological distribution and niche segregation of sibling species: the case of bean beetles, Acanthoscelides obtectus Say and A. obvelatus Bridwell. Ecological Entomology 31 (6): 582-590 PDF

7 Hansson C, Aebi A and Benrey B. (2004) Horismenus species (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in a bruchid beetle parasitoid guild, including the description of a new species. Zootaxa 548: 1-16 PDF

6 Aebi A, Butcher RDJ, Risterucci A-M, C. Hansson C and Benrey B. (2004) Microsatellite markers in a complex of Horismenus sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), parasitoids of bruchid beetles. Molecular Ecology Notes 4: 707-709 PDF

5 Aebi A, Shani T, Butcher RDJ, Alvarez N, Risterucci A-M and Benrey B. (2004) Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers in Zabrotes subfasciatus Boheman (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 4: 752-754 PDF

4 Alvarez N, Hossaert-McKey M, Rasplus J-Y, McKey D, Mercier L, Soldati L, Aebi A, Shani T and Benrey B (2004) Sibling species of bean bruchids: morphological and phylogenetic studies among Acanthoscelides obtectus Say and A. obvelatus Bridwell. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 43 (1): 29-37 PDF

3 Alvarez N, Aebi A, Risterucci A-M, Hossaert-McKey M and Benrey B. (2003) Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in Acanthoscelides obvelatus Bridwell (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 3(1): 12-14 PDF

* these peer-reviewed papers are published as chapters in the book:
Roy HE, De Clercq P, Lawson Handley LJ, Sloggett JJ, Poland RL and Wajnberg E (2012) Invasive Alien Arthropod Predators and Parasitoids: An Ecological Approach, Springer-Verlag. 275 pp.


Book Chapters

2 Aebi A, Schönrogge K, Melika G, Alma A, Bosio G, Quacchia A, Picciau L, Abe Y, Moriya S, Yara K, Seljak G and Stone GN (2006) Parasitoid Recruitment to the globally invasive chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus. In: Ecology and evolution of galling arthropods and their associates (eds. Ozaki K, Yukawa J, Ohgushi T, Price PW) Springer-Verlag, Tokyo. p: 103-121 PDF

1 Schönrogge K, Moriya S, Melika G, Randle Z, Begg T, Aebi A and Stone GN (2006) Early parasitoid recruitment in invading cynipid galls. In: Ecology and evolution of galling arthropods and their associates (eds. Ozaki K, Yukawa J, Ohgushi T, Price PW) Springer-Verlag, Tokyo. p: 91-101 PDF


Non peer-reviewed Journals

Schonrogge K. Randle Z, Hately S, Begg T, Aebi A, Stone G (2006) Cynipid invasions throughout Europe and within the UK. Antenna 30. 187


Contribution to Congress Proceedings

Babendreier D, Aebi A, Kenis M and Roy H (2010) IOBC/WPRS Working group “Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological Control Agents”, Proceedings of the first meeting on “Harmonia axyridis and other ladybirds” . IOBC/wprs Bulletin 58. 201 pp. PDF

Aebi A and Zindel R (2010). What can endosymbionts tell us about the Harmonia axyridis invasion? Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological Control Agents. IOBC/wprs Bulletin 58: 5-6 PDF

Zindel R and Aebi A (2010) PCR-based gut content analysis in Harmonia axyridis. Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological Control Agents. IOBC/wprs Bulletin 58: 193-194 PDF

Aebi A and Benrey B (2003) “Can plants structure parasitoids populations? The case of beans and parasitoids of bruchids” In: Abstracts from the XIII International Entomophagous Insects Workshop. Journal of Insect Science, 3: 33 30 pp.


General Audience

Aebi A, Zindel R (2013) Symbiontes et arthropodes – quelles implications pour la lutte biologique? Recherche Agronomique Suisse 4(2), 68-73. Translations in German. PDF_F PDF_D

Aebi A, Pawlowski J (2011) Un code-barres génétique pour la biodiversité Suisse? SCNATinfo 20. PDF

Aebi A, Bacher S, Claudon AS and Bacon S (2010) Die Invasion des Jetsets. ART Schriftenreihe 14: 27-31 French translation published here

Aebi A, Linder C, Kenis M and Zindel R (2009) Quelles mesures de lutte? / Was bahnt sich an? UFA-revue 1: 38-39 (Périodique Agricole). Translation in German PDF_D PDF_F

Aebi A, Schönenberger N, Bigler F (2011) Evaluating the use of Torymus sinensis against the chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus in the Canton Ticino, Switzerland. Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Report (ISBN: 978-3-905733-20-4) pp. 71 PDF available here



Aebi A (2004) The influence of host plants on the ecological genetics of the third trophic level: The case of beans, bruchids and their parasitoids. PhD Thesis, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Aebi A (1999) Chemically mediated host-location of a parasitoid of Zabrotes subfasciatus (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Master Thesis, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland