Department of Biology

Suzanne Lommen

University of Fribourg
Dept of Biology
Unit Ecology & Evolution
Chemin du Musée 10
CH-1700 Fribourg

Room: 0.346C
04126 300 88 48 (direct)
04126 300 88 50 (secretary)




I am interested in the management of pests and invasive species, especially by biological control. Using experimentation and modeling, I aim to understand the underlying ecology, demography and evolution of the species and species interactions involved. I collaborate with professionals and stakeholders to test and evaluate new management options.


Background: common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is one of the most prominent invasive alien plant species in Europe. Originating from North America, it has become a worldwide invader. It can cause crop yield reductions and its allergenic wind-dispersed pollen are a problem for human health. Common ragweed is expected to expand its range in Europe. Therefore, we need to understand the drivers of its success and to develop long-term management strategies.

My focus: i) Understanding spatio-temporal variation in the population dynamics of ragweed. I  coordinate an international 3-year European-wide field survey on ragweed demography (, and use the data to construct an environmental-dependent demographic model of ragweed.

ii) Assessing the potential for classical biological control of ragweed, a control method relatively new to Europe. I will assess the efficacy of the exotic leaf beetle Ophraella communa by experimentation in the field, and by modeling its impact on ragweed population dynamics.

The framework: this research is performed in the framework of the European COST Action SMARTER (, which we coordinated from 2013 to 2016.


2009-2012 Applied Plant Research, Wageningen UR, The Netherlands Scientist and project leader on the integrated  control of pests and pathogens of ornamental crops.
2004-2008 Evolutionary Biology, Leiden University, The Netherlands  PhD research on the natural variation in wing length of a predatory ladybird, and its use in biological control of aphids.
1997-2003 Wageningen University, The Netherlands
MSc in Population Biology and Ecology
Thesis research:
- Netherlands Institute for Ecology, The Netherlands 
Inducible defence mechanisms against herbivores in cotton
- Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
Social structure and behaviour of an arboreal termite-
- University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Population genetics and behaviour of an invasive ant 

Other activities: teaching assistant in the department Educational Studies, journalist for the university newspaper, member of the board of the Student Union


Lommen STE, Jolidon EF, Sun Y, Bustamante Eduardo JI, Müller-Schärer H. An early suitability assessment of two exotic Ophraella species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) for biological control of invasive ragweed in Europe. Accepted for publication in the European Journal of Entomology.

Sun Y, Broennimann O, Roderick G, Poltavsky A, Lommen STE, Müller-Schärer H. Climatic suitability ranking of biological control candidates: a biogeographic approach for ragweed management in Europe. Accepted for publication in Ecosphere.

Lommen STE, De Jong PW, Pannebakker BA 2016. It is time to bridge the gap between exploring and exploiting: prospects for utilizing intraspecific genetic variation to optimize arthropods for augmentative pest control - a review. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. DOI: 10.1111/eea.12510

Müller-Schärer H, Lommen STE, Rosellini M, Bonini M, Boriani M, Bosio G and Schaffner U (2014). Ophraella communa, the ragweed leaf beetle, has successfully landed in Europe: fortunate coincidence or threat? Weed Research 54: 109-119. DOI: 10.1111/wre.12072

Lesna I, da Silva FR, Sato Y, Sabelis MW, Lommen STE (2014). Neoseiulus paspalivorus, a predator from coconut, as a candidate for controlling dry bulb mites infesting stored tulip bulbs. Experimental and Applied Acarology 63 (2): 189-204. DOI: 10.1007/s10493-014-9775-1

Lommen STE, Holness TC, De Jong PW, Van Kuik AJ, Brakefield PM (2013). Releases of a natural flightless strain of the ladybird beetle Adalia bipunctata reduce aphid-born honeydew beneath urban lime trees. BioControl 58: 195-204. DOI: 10.1007/s10526-012-9478-7  

Lommen STE, Conijn CGM, Lemmers MEC, Pham KTK, De Kock MJD (2012). Mites as vector of Tulip Virus X in stored tulip bulbs. IOBC-WPRS Bulletin 81: 57-67.

Lommen STE, Saenko SV, Tomoyasu Y, Brakefield PM (2009). Development of a wingless morph in the ladybird beetle, Adalia bipunctata. Evolution & Development 11: 278-289. DOI:   10.1111/j.1525-142X.2009.00330.x 

Lommen STE, Middendorp CW, Luijten CA, Van Schelt J, Brakefield PM, De Jong PW (2008). Natural flightless morphs of the ladybird beetle Adalia bipunctata improve biological control of aphids on single plants. Biological Control 47: 340-346.  DOI: 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2008.09.002

Ecology & Evolution - ch du musée - 1700 Fribourg - Tel +41 26 / 300 8835 - Fax +41 26 / 300 9741
heinz.mueller[at] - Swiss University