Research interests and responsibilities

Plants are sessile organisms, which means they hooked for life to the place where seeds germinated. Therefore, plants had to evolve and adapt to very different abiotic and biotic conditions in order to survive and thrive. While plants responses to individual environmental factor is rather well understood, the interaction between environmental factors and how they shape plant evolution is less understood. I’m particularly interested in filling this gap. In a context of changing environments (e.g global warming), there is an increasing need in understanding how different factors interact with each other in shaping plants evolution. Understanding past and present processes is of key importance in order to predict how species would respond to future changes.
In the Plant Ecology and Evolution group I will investigate on how multiple factors such abiotic factors, pollinators, herbivores can limit niches expansions in different Brassicaceae species.

Education and professional experience

since 04/2023  Postdoc – Plant Ecology and Evolution, University of Basel, Switzerland. Implied in projects with a focus on getting a better understanding on what limits Brassicaceae alpine species at ranges limits.
2018 - 2023 PhD – in Biology, Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
PhD project: “Effects of pollinator, herbivory, and soil in driving plant evolution: an experimental approach". (1) Plant phenotypic plasticity changes pollinator-mediated selection (2) Biotic interactions promote rapid divergent evolution in distinct soils (3) Biotic interactions foster local adaptation to soil. Project funded by the Swiss National Funding (SNF) and supervised by Florian Schiestl.
2015 - 2017 Master in Ecology and Environment: Functional, Behavioral, Evolutionary Ecology, University of Rennes 1, France.
Master thesis – Ecosystem, Biodiversity, Evolution (ECOBIO) – University of Rennes 1: (1) Cushion plant: morphological, physiological, and developmental strategies in response to extreme environments (2) Morphological and ecological variability in an endemic plant of the subantarctic islands of Kerguelen, Lyallia kerguelensis. Project supervised by Francoise Hennion and Michèle Tarayre.
Master side project – Ecosystem, Biodiversity, Evolution (ECOBIO) – University of Rennes 1: Temperature effect on seed germination and seedling performance of the invasive plants: Ludwigia hexapetala and Ludwigia peploides. Project supervised by Gabrielle Thiebaut


Dorey T, Schiestl FP (2022) Plant phenotypic plasticity changes pollinator-mediated selection. Evolution 76:2930-2944

Marchand LJ, Tarayre M, Dorey T et al (2021) Morphological variability of cushion plant Lyallia kerguelensis (Caryophyllales) in relation to environmental conditions and geography in the Kerguelen Islands: implications for cushion necrosis and climate change. Polar Biology 44:17–30

Labarrere B, Prinzing A, Dorey T Chesneau E, Hennion F (2019) Variations of secondary metabolites among natural populations of sub-Antarctic Ranunculus species suggest functional redundancy and versatility. Plants 8:234


Dr. Thomas Dorey

University of Basel
Departement of Environmental Sciences
Plant Ecology and Evolution
Schönbeinstrasse 6
4056 Basel