Baptiste Bovay

PhD student

Research interests

I have a broad range of research interests going from botany to evolution and this is especially useful when studying ecology. Indeed, my primary aim as a PhD student is to understand how climate change will affect, challenge and even create novel relationships between species. 
As you may have noticed, this world is currently changing more and more rapidly (in 2023, the global temperature increase was 1.45°C higher compared to the pre-industrial era). This rapid change thus challenges species persistence in many ecosystems. This is especially true for Alpine ecosystems, which are known to be complex and very sensitive. 


Understanding the impact of climate change on ecosystems is crucial to have the ability to design conservation plans and management strategies which are realistic and effective. Specifically, ecosystems will be largely challenged these coming decades by rising temperatures driving many species to change their distribution. This is especially visible along elevation gradients where species migrate rapidly toward higher elevations to track their optimal climatic conditions. However, different functional group of species migrates at different rates, typically, insects migrate faster than plants. These asynchronous range shifts are predicted to create many different interactions which could threaten the persistence of some species. 
During this PhD, I am conducting several experiments aiming to understand the effect of warmer temperatures and species migration on alpine ecosystems. Using various experimental designs, I am trying to elucidate the following points: 
i) How insects react to novel alpine host plants.
ii) The effects of the migration, or the absence of migration, of different trophic level (herbivores and predators) on alpine communities’ dynamics. 
iii) The impact of novel plant-herbivore interactions on alpine soils.

Main topics

  • Botany and entomology
  • Chemical ecology
  • Climate change
  • Soil biology
  • Tri-trophic interactions 

Teaching activities

  • Alpine excursion (6 ECTS), Master of Science in Biology, University of Neuchâtel
  • Apprentissage par problèmes APP (9 ECTS), Bachelor of Science in Biology, University of Neuchâtel
  • Introduction pratique (3 ECTS), Bachelor of Science in Biology, University of Neuchâtel
  • Master thesis supervision (60 ECTS), Master of Science in Biology, University of Neuchâtel

Baptiste Bovay



+41 32 718 22 68