Photo by Philippe Rossier

Address and links

Departamental II – 252
Area of Biodiversity and Conservation
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
c/ Tulipán, s/n.
E-28933 Móstoles

Phone: +34 91 488 8287
E-mail: christian.schob at
Homepage at URJC
ORCID: 0000-0003-4472-2286
Google Scholar:

Short CV

2022 – Distinguished Researcher for Agricultural Ecology, University Rey Juan Carlos, Spain
2020 – 2021 Visiting Scientist, University Rey Juan Carlos, Spain
2017 – 2022 Assistant Professor for Agricultural Ecology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2014 – 2017 Independent Group Leader for Plant Interactions, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2013 – 2013 Visiting Scientist, University of Western Sydney, Australia
2012 – 2014 Postdoctoral researcher in Ecological Sciences, The James Hutton Institute, UK
2012 – 2012 Visiting Scientist, University of Concepción, Chile
2010 – 2012 Postdoctoral researcher in Functional Ecology, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas – CSIC, Spain
2008 – 2009 Scientific Author for Biodiversity, Schulverlag Plus AG, Switzerland
2006 – 2008 Research Assistant and Lecturer in Biology, PHBern, Switzerland
2008 PhD in Alpine Plant Ecology, University of Bern, Switzerland
2004 MSc in Plant Ecology, University of Bern, Switzerland

Research interests

I am a plant ecologist applying ecological concepts and methods to agricultural ecosystems, in particular crop fields. In my research I take an ecological perspective on crop plant communities. Most of our work focuses on plant–plant interactions among crop plants in monocultures, variety mixtures and species mixtures. I look at mechanisms of competitive and facilitative interactions among crops, and their environmental (e.g. soil, climate, management) and evolutionary (e.g. breeding) context dependence. I am particularly interested in exploiting the benefits of biodiversity in agriculture and do most of my research on mixed cropping systems (i.e. intercropping).

I do most of my research in field-​based experiments, which are complemented by observational studies and experiments in the greenhouse. I use the methodological toolbox of plant community and functional ecology, ranging from functional trait measurements in the field to mathematical modelling on the computer. 

My research is motivated by the transfer of ecological knowledge to agricultural systems in order to achieve a more sustainable, yet productive agriculture. Based on my ecological background I am convinced of the potential of biodiversity for agriculture. Ecological experiments and observations have demonstrated the benefits of functional and genetic diversity for a wide range of ecosystem services such as productivity or pest resistance. My research aims at investigating the potential of biodiversity for agroecosystems and getting a mechanistic understanding of these benefits in cropping systems. 

Current position

Distinguished Researcher for Agricultural Ecology at the Department of Biology & Geology, University Rey Juan Carlos, Spain.