Applied Network Ecology and Island Conservation
PD Dr. Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury

Human impacts on ecological systems and processes are pervasive. The underlying rationale of my research is the need for insight into natural ecological resilience and evolutionary processes to assess ecosystem responses to change.

Three aspects of this rationale drive my research:

1. Knowledge on communities and species’ interactions allows insights into the complex response of natural systems to change

2. Humans are at the centre of the change, and their actions define them as key players in any ecosystem

3. It is the ultimate responsibility of ecologists to consider and communicate the consequences of their findings to assist with applied biodiversity conservation and sustainable coexistence.

With this in mind, I use community ecology theory and tools derived from a network approach to address urgent ecosystem ecology and conservation questions. A central part of my work aims to identify the drivers of interactions in mutualistic networks, which determine biodiversity organisation and persistence. I am equally interested in quantifying detailed species interactions and identifying their role in shaping ecosystem processes. Most of my research is at the interface of empirical and theoretical ecology and applied community conservation.

nepenthes perveilli
Picture: Chrsitopher Kaiser-Bunbury
The endemic pitcher plant Nepenthes perveilli is found mainly on granitic inselbergs, which harbour remnants of endemic plant communities on the main inner islands of the Seychelles archipelago.
Bernica inselberg
Picture: Christopher Kaier-Bunbury
View across BeView across Bernica inselberg towards Morne Seychellois National Park. Note the sparse pockets of dwarf forest among the inselberg boulders in the foreground.

For the last 12 years I have had the privilege to pursue my research in perfectly-suited natural laboratories—first in Mauritius, then in the Seychelles (Biodiversity Hotspots in the Western Indian Ocean), together with highly engaged and committed collaborators, colleagues, students, and policy makers. With my colleagues and partners from local NGOs (SIF, PCA), parastatal (SNPA) and governmental organisations (UNDP/GEF, MoE), local (UniSey) and international universities (ETH Zurich, University of Zurich, DICE, CSIC-UIB, Aarhus University, CCT-CONICET) and research institutes (Senckenberg BiK-F), I work towards combining the results of my research with achieving goals and objectives outlined in institutional management plants, national research and conservation agendas (e.g. SSDS) and multilateral environmental agreements (e.g. CBD).

Training of local and international research staff in monitoring of plant-pollinator interactions.

I am pursuing three main research avenues:

  • Experimentally assessing the impact of ecological restoration on ecosystem integrity. Here I use plant-pollinator networks to quantify the community response of habitat restoration on pollination function.
  • Developing and implementing research and application strategies to use network theory in applied biodiversity conservation. This multi-facetted work encompasses various aspects of network ecology (including dynamic and structural equation modelling), conservation biology, applied restoration, and hard- and software development for evidence-based conservation.
  • Researching the ecology and evolution of palm forest community and thereby providing the foundation for adaptive management. Together with the Seychelles Islands Foundation, I work to understand the biotic and abiotic dynamics in the ancient coco de mer dominated palm forest of the Vallée de Mai, a natural UNESCO site in the Seychelles. The research is identified by the need for sustainable management of the site and the long-term mitigation of threats such as invasive alien species, poaching and habitat degradation.

The Vallée de Mai UNESCO palm forest is dominated by coco de mer palms (Lodoicea maldivica), which have up to 10m long petioles and giant leaf fronds, which catch nutrients and water, and funnel it down to the base of the trunk. Read more about the coco de mer’s ability to perform ‘parental care’ (also highlighted in New Scientist).

Coco de Mer forest

Coco de mer inhabitants – endemic geckos and snails – and a threat to the ecosystem in form of the introduced yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes. See our latest work on the invasion of the Vallée de Mai forest by yellow crazy ants here.

coco de mer inhabitants
Picture: Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury
The Vallée de Mai UNESCO palm forest is dominated by coco de mer palms.

Islands are valuable study systems because:

(1) they are often relatively simple compared to mainland systems;

(2) islands have been drivers of ecological and evolutionary theories for centuries; and

(3) oceanic islands have been disproportionately affected by forest exploitation, human-induced habitat destruction and invasive alien species invasions which have devastated natural island ecosystems.

Complex interaction studies addressing conservation-related ecological questions at the community level are therefore ideally suited to such comparatively simple natural systems.

For more information on our work, please check out my ResearchGate or Google Scholar profiles.

Morgan E, Määttänen K, Kaiser-Bunbury CN, Buser A, Fleischer-Dogley F & Kettle C.: Development of twelve polymorphic microsatellite loci for the endangered Seychelles palm Lodoicea maldivica (Arecaceae). Applications in Plant Sciences. In Press.

Jump to: 2021 | 2017 | 2015 | 2014 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
Number of items: 27.


CaraDonna, Paul J. ; Burkle, Laura A. ; Schwarz, Benjamin ; Resasco, Julian ; Knight, Tiffany M. ; Benadi, Gita ; Blüthgen, Nico ; Dormann, Carsten F. ; Fang, Qiang ; Fründ, Jochen ; Gauzens, Benoit ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Winfree, Rachael ; Vázquez, Diego P. (2021):
Seeing through the static: the temporal dimension of plant-animal mutualistic interactions.
In: Ecology letters, 24 (1), pp. 149-161. ISSN 1461-0248,
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13623,


Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Mougal, James ; Whittington, Andrew E. ; Valentin, Terence ; Gabriel, Ronny ; Olesen, Jens M. ; Blüthgen, Nico (2017):
Ecosystem restoration strengthens pollination network resilience and function.
In: Nature, 542 (7640), pp. 223-227. ISSN 1476-4687,


Dinther, M. van ; Bunbury, N. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2015):
Trial of herbicide control methods for sisal (Agave sisalana) in the arid island environment of Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles.
In: Conservation evidence, 12, pp. 14-18. ISSN 1758-2067,

Edwards, Peter J. ; Fleischer-Dogley, Frauke ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2015):
The nutrient economy of Lodoicea maldivica, a monodominant palm producing the world's largest seed.
In: The New phytologist, 206 (3), pp. 990-999. ISSN 1469-8137,

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Fleischer-Dogley, F. ; Dogley, D. ; Bunbury, N. (2015):
Scientist's responsibilities towards evidence-based conservation in a small island developing state.
In: Journal of applied ecology, 52 (1), pp. 7-11. ISSN 1365-2664,

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Blüthgen, Nico (2015):
Integrating network ecology with applied conservation: a synthesis and guide to implementation.
In: AoB PLANTS, 7, pp. plv076. ISSN 2041-2851,

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Mougal, James ; Valentin, Terence ; Gabriel, Ronny ; Blüthgen, Nico (2015):
Herbicide application as a habitat restoration tool: impact on native island plant communities.
In: Applied Vegetation Science, 18 (4), pp. 650-660. ISSN 1654-109X,


Carvalheiro, Luísa Gigante ; Biesmeijer, Jacobus Christiaan ; Benadi, Gita ; Fründ, Jochen ; Stang, Martina ; Bartomeus, Ignasi ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Baude, Mathilde ; Gomes, Sofia I F. ; Merckx, Vincent ; Baldock, Katherine C. R. ; Bennett, Andrew T. D. ; Boada, Ruth ; Bommarco, Riccardo ; Cartar, Ralph ; Chacoff, Natacha ; Dänhardt, Juliana ; Dicks, Lynn V. ; Dormann, Carsten F. ; Ekroos, Johan ; Henson, Kate S. E. ; Holzschuh, Andrea ; Junker, Robert R. ; Lopezaraiza-Mikel, Martha ; Memmott, Jane ; Montero-Castaño, Ana ; Nelson, Isabel L. ; Petanidou, Theodora ; Power, Eileen F. ; Rundlöf, Maj ; Smith, Henrik G. ; Stout, Jane C. ; Temitope, Kehinde ; Tscharntke, Teja ; Tscheulin, Thomas ; Vilà, Montserrat ; Kunin, William E. (2014):
The potential for indirect effects between co-flowering plants via shared pollinators depends on resource abundance, accessibility and relatedness.
In: Ecology letters, 17 (11), pp. 1389-99. ISSN 1461-0248,

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Cuthbert, H. ; Fox, R. ; Birch, D. ; Bunbury, N. (2014):
Invasion of yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes in a Seychelles UNESCO palm forest.
In: Neobiota, (22), pp. 43-57. [Article]

Kueffer, C. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2014):
Reconciling conflicting perspectives for biodiversity conservation in the Anthropocene.
In: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, (14), pp. 131-137. [Article]

Finger, Aline ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Kettle, Chris J. ; Valentin, Terence ; Ghazoul, Jaboury (2014):
Genetic connectivity of the moth pollinated tree Glionnetia sericea in a highly fragmented habitat.
In: PloS one, 9 (10), pp. e111111. ISSN 1932-6203,

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Vázquez, D. ; Stang, M. ; Ghazoul, J. (2014):
Determinants of the microstructure of plant-pollinator networks.
In: Ecology, 95, pp. 3314-3324. ISSN 0012-9658,


Schleuning, Matthias ; Fründ, Jochen ; Klein, Alexandra-Maria ; Abrahamczyk, Stefan ; Alarcón, Ruben ; Albrecht, Matthias ; Andersson, Georg K. S. ; Bazarian, Simone ; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin ; Bommarco, Riccardo ; Dalsgaard, Bo ; Dehling, D. Matthias ; Gotlieb, Ariella ; Hagen, Melanie ; Hickler, Thomas ; Holzschuh, Andrea ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Kreft, Holger ; Morris, Rebecca J. ; Sandel, Brody ; Sutherland, William J. ; Svenning, Jens-Christian ; Tscharntke, Teja ; Watts, Stella ; Weiner, Christiane N. ; Werner, Michael ; Williams, Neal M. ; Winqvist, Camilla ; Dormann, Carsten F. ; Blüthgen, Nico (2012):
Specialization of mutualistic interaction networks decreases toward tropical latitudes.
In: Current biology : CB, 22 (20), pp. 1925-31. ISSN 1879-0445,

Finger, A. ; Kettle, C. J. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Valentin, T. ; Mougal, J. ; Ghazoul, J. (2012):
Forest fragmentation genetics in a formerly widespread island endemic tree: Vateriopsis seychellarum (Dipterocarpaceae).
In: Molecular Ecology, 21 (10), pp. 2369-82. ISSN 1365-294X,

Hagen, M. ; Kissling, W. D. ; Rasmussen, C. ; Aguiar, M. A. M. de ; Brown, L. ; Carstensen, D. W. ; Alves-dos-Santos, I. ; Dupont, Y. L. ; Edwards, F. K. ; Genini, J. ; Guimarães, P. R. ; Jenkins, G. B. ; Jordano, P. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Ledger, M. ; Maia, K. P. ; Darcie Marquitti, F. M. ; McLaughlin, Ó. ; Morellato, L. P. C. ; O'Gorman, E. J. ; Troejelsgaard, K. ; Tylianakis, J. M. ; Morais Vidal, M. ; Woodward, G. ; Olesen, J. M. (2012):
Biodiversity, species interactions and ecological networks in a fragmented world.
In: Advances in Ecological Research, (46), pp. 89-210. [Article]

Finger, A. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Kettle, C. (2012):
Developments of polymorphic microsatellite markers of the Seychelles endemic tree Glionnetia sericea (Rubiaceae).
In: Conservation Genetics Resources, (4), pp. 239-241. [Article]


Finger, A. ; Kettle, C. J. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Valentin, T. ; Doudee, D. ; Matatiken, D. ; Ghazoul, J. (2011):
Back from the brink: potential for genetic rescue in a critically endangered tree.
In: Molecular Ecology, 20 (18), pp. 3773-84. ISSN 1365-294X,

Fleischer-Dogley, F. ; Kettle, C. ; Edwards, P. ; Ghazoul, J. ; Määttänen, K. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2011):
Morphological and genetic differentiation in populations of the dispersal-limited Coco de Mer (Lodoicea maldivica): implications for management and conservation.
In: Diversity & Distribution, (17), pp. 235-243. [Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Valentin, T. ; Mougal, J. ; Matatiken, D. ; Ghazoul, J. (2011):
The tolerance of island plant-pollinator networks to alien plants.
In: Journal of Ecology, (99), pp. 201-213. ISSN 0022-0477,

Noble, T. ; Bunbury, N. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Bell, D. J. (2011):
Ecology and co-existence of two endemic day gecko (Phelsuma) species in Seychelles native palm forest.
In: Journal of Zoology, (283), pp. 73-80. [Article]


Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Muff, Stefanie ; Memmott, Jane ; Müller, Christine B. ; Caflisch, Amedeo (2010):
The robustness of pollination networks to the loss of species and interactions: a quantitative approach incorporating pollinator behaviour.
In: Ecology letters, 13 (4), pp. 442-52. ISSN 1461-0248,

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Traveset, A. ; Hansen, D. M. (2010):
Conservation and restoration of plant-animal mutualisms on oceanic islands.
In: Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, (12), pp. 131-143. [Article]

Finger, A. ; Ghazoul, J. ; Todd, M. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Kettle, C. (2010):
Development of thirteen polymorphic microsatellite markers for the Seychelles endagered and endemic jellyfish tree Medusagyne oppositifolia (Medusagynaceae).
In: Conservation Genetics Resources, (2), pp. 173-175. [Article]

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Valentin, T. ; Mougal, J. ; Matatiken, D. ; Ghazoul, J. (2010):
Plants and pollinators on inselbergs: how does plant invasion affect mutualistic interactions?
In: Kapisen : journal of the Plant Conservation Action Group Seychelles, (8), pp. 4-5. [Article]

Rist, L. ; Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Fleischer-Dogley, F. ; Edwards, P. ; Bunbury, N. ; Ghazoul, J. (2010):
Sustainable harvesting of Coco de Mer, Lodoicea maldivica, in the Vallée de Mai, Seychelles.
In: Forest Ecology and Management, (260), pp. 2224-2231. [Article]


Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Müller, Christine B. (2009):
Indirect interactions between invasive and native plants via pollinators.
In: Die Naturwissenschaften, 96 (3), pp. 339-46. ISSN 1432-1904,

Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. ; Memmott, J. ; Müller, C. B. (2009):
Community structure of pollination webs of Mauritian heathland habitats.
In: Perspectives in Plant ecology, Evolution and Systematics, (11), [Article]

This list was generated on Mon Nov 29 03:51:47 2021 CET.
Jump to: 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003
Number of items: 12.


Kaiser, Christopher N. ; Hansen, D. M. ; Müller, C. B. (2009):
Exotic pest insects: another perspective on coffee and conservations.
In: Oryx, (42), pp. 143-146. [Article]

Kaiser, Christopher N. ; Hansen, D. M. ; Müller, C. B. (2009):
Habitat structure affects reproductive success of the rare endemic tree Syzygium mamillatarum (Myrtaceae) in restored and unrestored sites in Mauritius.
In: Biotropica, (40), [Article]


Hansen, Dennis M. ; Kaiser, Christopher N. ; Müller, Christine B. (2008):
Seed dispersal and establishment of endangered plants on Oceanic Islands: the Janzen-Connell model, and the use of ecological analogues.
In: PloS one, 3 (5), pp. e2111. ISSN 1932-6203,

Kueffer, C. ; Matatiken, D. ; Beaver, K. ; Fleischer-Dogley, F. ; Kaiser, Christopher N. (2008):
Seychelles Plant Conservation Research Workshop 2007.
In: Kapisen: journal of the Plant Conservation Action Group Seychelles, (8), pp. 4-5. [Article]


Kueffer, C. ; Beaver, K. ; Kaiser, Christopher N. (eds.) (2007):
Seychelles Plant Conservation Research Agenda 2008-2015.
Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles, Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Transport and Plant Conservation Action Group, [Book]

Kaiser, Christopher N. ; Müller, C. B. (2007):
Island invaders : the role of introduced mutualists in pollination in Mauritius.
In: The Annual Meeting of the Swiss Zoological, Botanical and Mycological Societies,
ETH Zürich, [Conference or Workshop Item]

Kueffer, C. ; Matatiken, D. ; Beaver, K. ; Fleischer-Dogley, F. ; Kaiser, Christopher N. (2007):
Seychelles Plant Conservation Research Workshop 2007.
In: Birdwatch, 63, pp. 3-5. [Article]


Kaiser, Christopher N. (2006):
Habitat restoration in Mauritius : adding pollinators to the equation.
In: Kapisen, (6), pp. 6-8. [Article]


Atkinson, R. ; Sevathian, J. C. ; Kaiser, Christopher N. ; Hansen, D. M. (2005):
A Guide to the plants in Mauritius.
Vacoas, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, [Book]

Gopall, J. ; Ah-King, J. ; Atkinson, R. ; Sevathian, J. C. ; Hansen, D. M. ; Kaiser, Christopher N. (2005):
The native plants and animals of Mauritius.
Vacoas, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, [Book]


Kaiser, Christopher N. ; Hansen, D. M. ; Müller, C. B. (2004):
Effects of habitat restoration on native trees : a pollination case study in Mauritius.
In: Symposium of the Zürich-Basel Plant Science Centre,
ETH Zürich, [Conference or Workshop Item]


Atkinson, R. ; Sevathian, J. C. ; Virahsawmy, M. ; Ah-King, J. ; Clayton, J. ; Kaiser, Christopher N. ; Hansen, D. M. ; Cranwell, S. ; Mauremootoo, J. (2003):
A field guide to the common trees & shrubs of upland forest in Mauritius.
Vacoas, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, [Book]

This list was generated on Fri Nov 26 19:34:37 2021 CET.

Kaiser, Christopher N.: Functional integrity of plant-pollinator communities in restored habitats in Mauritius. PhD Thesis. Institute of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Zürich, Switzerland, 2006

Kaiser, Christopher N.: Influence of wind and pollen gathering by bees on reproductive success of the tropical grass Brachiaria platynota K. Schum. (Poaceae: Paniceae) at Kakamega Forest Nature Reseerve, Kenya. Diploma Thesis, Zoological Research Institute and Museum Koenig, Univ. of Bonn, 2002