Dr. Sofia J. van Moorsel

Community Ecologist

Welcome! I am a Post-doc interested in rapid evolution and how it influences community stability and functioning. I'm currently working with Prof. Andrew Gonzalez at McGill University in Montréal, Canada. I am co-advised by Prof. Owen Petchey at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.


May 19, '18. Manuscript accepted: I'm very happy that my PhD Chapter entitled Selection in response to community diversity alters plant performance and functional traits has been accepted for publication in Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. Using five plant species selected for twelve years in a biodiversity experiment in mixture or monoculture and plants without such a selection history, we assessed whether differential selection altered productivity, biodiversity effects, and functional trait differences within newly assembled monocultures and 2-species mixtures. (Link to the article will be provided as soon as it is published.)

April 6, '18. New publication: I'm happy to have contributed to a paper by Eri Yamasaki et al. Genomics meets remote sensing in global change studies: monitoring and predicting phenology, evolution and biodiversity recently published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.. In this paper we suggest integrating genomics and remote sensing to strengthen global change studies.

March 1, '18. Move to Montréal: I'm thrilled to announce that I've moved from Zurich to Montréal to do a Post-doc with Prof. Andy Gonzalez at McGill University. I'll be working within the LEAP project. All about the LEAP you can find here. Follow LEAP on Twitter (@LEAP_sci) to stay in the loop during the upcoming field season and for any exciting findings!

January 16, '18. New Phytologist Profile: A profile about myself was published in January 2018 in the Forum Section of New Phytologist. Have a look here. This is a rather weird publication which might not boost my h-index too much, but it will make my family proud. Thanks to New Phytologist for this opportunity.

January, '17. Post-doc position: I am very excited to start a Post-doc with Prof. Owen Petchey and Prof. Andrew Gonzalez in February 2018!

October 16, '17. Paper published: Today my first thesis chapter was accepted for publication in Ecology Letters. We tested effects of community evolution on primary productivity in 48 different plant communities of 1, 2, 4 or 8 grassland species. We found that productivity was increased if communities were assembled from plants that had previously been growing together for 8 years compared with communities assembled from plants without a common history. The observed positive effect of community evolution on productivity was independent of the presence of co-selected soil organisms but restricted to low diversity; mixtures of 8 species were not affected. We conclude that to preserve well-functioning ecosystems we need to protect interacting species in a community context.
You can read the paper here

October 4, '17. Successful PhD Defense: I successfully defended my thesis entitled Community Evolution Increases Ecosystem Functioning and Stability. Thanks to everyone who attended my presentation and the celebration afterwards. You can read the thesis here.

September 19, '17. Guest post for New Phyt blog: I was invited to write a short post about the 40th New Phytologist Symposium in Vienna. You can read it here.

September 15, '17. Poster Award: My poster won the poster prize at the New Phytologist Symposium in Vienna. Thanks to all the delegates for voting for my poster! See the poster here

Upcoming talks

There are currently no upcoming talks. Feel free to contact me about giving a talk. I'd be happy to come speak at your Department/University!