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Dr. Corine Buser-Schöbel


Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin


Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi PL B 41


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.

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:

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.

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.