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Dr. Corine Schöbel - Personal Homepage

Organisational unit Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
Address Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf

Room Bi PL B 41
Contact Phone: +41 44 739 2528
Fax: +41 44 7392 215
Web / E-Mail

Professional and Research Interests

I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in host-pathogen interactions, as well as the pathways of spread and epidemiology of introduced pathogens. I am using molecular genetic and bioinformatic tools, field sampling and laboratory infection experiments to answer fundamental and applied questions in the field. So far, I have worked with multiple animal and plant systems, and in the past years my focus has been the ecology and epidemiology of plant pathogenic fungi and their mycoviruses.

Recent publications

Researcher ID



Schoebel, C.N., Botella, L., V., Lygis, V. & Rigling, D. Population genetic analysis of a parasitic mycovirus to infer the invasion history of its fungal host, Molecular Ecology, accepted:

Trapiello, E., Schoebel, C.N., Rigling, D. Fungal community in symptomatic ash leaves in Spain, Baltic Forestry, in press.

Queloz, V., Hopf, S., Schoebel, C.N., Rigling, D., Gross, A., Ash dieback in Switzerland: history and scientific achievements, book chapter in Fraxinus Dieback in Europe: Elaborating Guidelines and Strategies for Sustainable Management:


Lygis, V., Prospero, S., Burokiene, D., Schoebel, C. N., Marciulyniene, D., Norkute, G. & Rigling, D. 2016. Virulence of the invasive ash pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus in old and newly established populations, Plant Pathology.

Rigling, D., Schöbel, C., Hilfiker, S., Meier, F., Engesser, R., Scheidegger, C., Stofer, S., Senn-Irlet, B., & Queloz, V. 2016. Das Eschentriebsterben: Biologie, Krankheitssymptome und Handlungsempfehlungen, Merkbl. Prax. No 57, in German.

Rigling, D., Schöbel, C., Hilfiker, S., Meier, F., Engesser, R., Scheidegger, C., Stofer, S., Senn-Irlet, B., & Queloz, V. 2016. Le dépérissement des pousses du frêne. Biologie, symptômes et recommandations pour la gestion. Notice pour le praticien No 57, in French.

Schöbel, C. Das Eschentriebsterben. G Plus Magazin für die grüne Branche, Ausgabe 7/2016, in German.


Molecular Diagnostics & monitoring of quarantine organisms in Switzerland

My main responsibilities are the monitoring of Phytophthora species in Switzerland in order to detect potential P. ramorum outbreaks and molecular diagnostics of fungi and Phytophthora species.

Please see our project homepage for more details. (Alle Informationen sind auch auf Deutsch vorhanden).


Ash dieback project

The ascomycetous fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (synonym: H. pseudoalbidus, basionym: Chalara fraxinea) is a new invasive pathogen causing severe ash dieback thus threatening the existence of Fraxinus spp. in Europe. This disease was first recorded  in eastern Poland and Lithuania in the mid 1990s and has now spread across the continent. Today, ash stands in Lithuania experience a post-epidemic chronic dieback with only a small fraction of asymptomatic trees. In Switzerland, the disease was first reported in 2008 in Northwestern Switzerland, from where it expands rapidly to other regions. Options for management of this novel forest disease are currently very limited and mainly directed to search for resistance in the host trees. 

Mycoviruses are commonly found in all major groups of plant pathogenic fungi. Some of these viruses were found to cause debilitating disease or reduce virulence in its fungal host and thereby have the potential to be used as biological control agents. 

The main aims of this project are therefore: 
(i) to characterize epidemic (Swiss) and post-epidemic (Lithuanian) populations of the ash dieback pathogen H. fraxineus in respect to virulence, genetic diversity and occurrence of mycoviruses

(ii) to assess biological control potential of the identified mycoviruses against the disease. 

This is a joint project between the Phytopathology group at WSL and the Laboratory of Phytopathogenic Microorganisms of the Institute of Botany at the Nature Research Centre (Lithuania). Please check for more information.

Please see our project homepage for more details. (All information is also available in German, Italian and French (Deutsch, Francais, Italiano)


Phytophthora citricola project

Genetic analyses of four closely-related plant-pathogenic Phytophthora species to infer their population structure, pathways of spread, and demographic history.

We are aiming to accomplish three major tasks:

(i) to develop and characterize polymorphic microsatellite markers for analysing the genetic structure of the four Phytophthora species in the P. citricola complex. 

(ii) to investigate worldwide population structure and pathways of spread. Using the new microsatellites, isolates from all currently known regions of occurrence of the four species will be analyzed. The expected results of the analyses include degree and spatial distribution of genetic diversity (e.g. forests, nurseries, geographical region) and possible pathways of spread (e.g. migration ways, source populations, natural expansion or human introductions);

(iii) to investigate the demographic history of P. plurivora in Europe by using coalescent-based methods.

Results of this project will help to better understand the worldwide population genetic structure and dynamics of closely-related Phytophthora species. In addition, the scientific Phytophthora community will benefit from the developed microsatellites which will offer the opportunity for additional population genetic studies.

This project is part of COST Action FP0801: Established and Emerging Phytophthora: Increasing Threats to Woodland and Forest Ecosystems in Europe; working group 1: Invasive potential and Ecology - Expertise and experiments with ecology & spread of Phytophthora.

Please see our project homepage for more details. 

Short CV

  • 07/2016 - present Scientific Staff Member working on Molecular Diagnostics of quarantine organisms (mainly responsible for Phytophtora species, incl. P. ramorum)
  • 08/2014 - 06/2016 Scientific Staff Member working on Ash dieback 
  • 04/2013 - 07/2014 Postdoc with Daniel Rigling working on the Ash dieback pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus
  • 08/2011 - 03/2013 Postdoc at WSL with Simone Prospero working on the population genetics & pathways of spread of plant pathogenic Phytophthora species
  • 2011 Assistant at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at Uni Zurich, working with Doug Woodhams on chytrid fungus
  • 2010 Dr. sc. ETH Zürich; thesis: Host-parasite interactions in Daphnia - the role of variable environments, with Dr. P. Spaak; accepted on the recommendation of  Prof J. Jokela, Prof E. Decaestecker and Dr. J. Wolinska
  • 2007 Diplom Biologin (MSc Biology) Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; thesis: Analysis of the genetic population structure    in the neotropical sacwinged bat Saccopteryx bilineata; supervisor Dr. F. Mayer
  • 2000 Undergraduate studies in Veterinary Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Students & Teaching at WSL

February: Dr. Alessandro di Patrizio (Catagna University, Italy)
Microsatellite genotyping & analysis of Phytophthora sp

October: Judith Kovacs (Sopron University Hungary), COST short term scientific mission
Microsatellite genotyping & analysis of Phytophthora sp.

September 2012 - March 2013: Hanna Vydrzel, Master thesis ETHZ
"Microsatellite development for Phytophthora gonapodyides and determination of the Phytophthora diversity in three Swiss rivers"

March: Dr. Daiva Burokiene (Vilnius, Lithuania), COST short term scientific mission
Microsatellite genotyping & analysis of the ash dieback pathogen H. fraxineus

July - October: Karin Moosbrugger (Uni. Salzburg), intern
Cultivation, RNA extraction & sequencing of the ash dieback H. fraxineus

January: Dr. Daiva Burokiene (Vilnius, Lithuania), COST short term scientific mission
Microsatellite genotyping & analysis of the ash dieback pathogen H. fraxineus

September - January 2015: Janine Schwarz, Project work, ETHZ
"Analysis of the Population Structure of H. fraxineus north and south of the Swiss Alps using H. fraxineus Mitovirus 1 as a Marker"

December: Oliver Zuberbühler, Laborant EFZ Fachrichtung Biologie IPA Aufgabenstellung
"Screening auf das Vorhandensein von Pilzviren in Isolaten des Erregerpilzes der Eschenwelke (H. fraxineus) und Test auf das Vorhandensein der RNA-Viren in Ascosporen mittels Analyse von Einzelspor-Kulturen"

January - May: Sandra Hilfinger, FWV Seminararbeit (Höheres Lehramt)
"Phytopathogene Neomyzeten" Verfassen eines Buchkapitels und einer Unterrichtseinheit zum Thema Eschentriebsterben.

January - April: Estefania Trapiello-Vazquez (Asturias, Spain), COST short term scientific mission
"Screening of ash petiole samples from Asturias for H. albidus and test the isolates for the presence of mitoviruses"