Prof. Yvonne Willi


Büro 05
Hebelstrasse 1
4056 Basel

+41 (0)61 207 23 20


Associate Professor and research group leader




Research interest

  • Population genetics, quantitative genetics
  • Adaptation under environmental change
  • Adaptation to ecological gradients
  • Conservation biology, small populations
  • Plant mating system evolution
  • Evolution of plant life history traits
  • The genomic underpinning of climate adaptation
  • Evolution of mating system and selfish genetic elements in Arabidopsis lyrata


Positions held

since 10/2015 Associate Professor, University of Basel
2009 - 2015
SNSF Professor, University of Neuchâtel
2006 - 2009
Postdoc/Lecturer, ETH Zürich
2005 - 2006
Postdoc, Melbourne University
005 PhD in Environmental Sciences, University of Zürich



Paccard A, Van Buskirk J, Willi Y (2016) Quantitative genetic architecture at latitudinal range boundaries: reduced variation but higher trait independence. American Naturalist, in press

Fracassetti M, Griffin PC, Willi Y (2015) Validation of pooled whole-genome re-sequencing in Arabidopsis lyrata. PLoS ONE 10, e0140462

Wos G, Willi, Y (2015) Temperature-stress resistance and tolerance along a latitudinal cline in North American Arabidopsis lyrata. PLoS ONE 10, e0131808

Griffin PC, Willi Y (2014) Evolutionary shifts to self-fertilization restricted to geographic range margins in North American Arabidopsis lyrata. Ecology Letters 17:484–490

Paccard A, Fruleux A, Willi, Y (2014) Latitudinal trait variation and responses to drought in Arabidopsis lyrata. Oecologia 175:577–587

Stefansson TS, McDonald BA, Willi Y (2014) The influence of genetic drift and selection on quantitative traits in a plant pathogenic fungus. PLoS ONE 9, e112523

Stefansson TS, Willi Y, Croll D, McDonald BA (2014) An assay for quantitative virulence in Rhynchosporium commune reveals an association between effector genotype and virulence. Plant Pathology 63:405-414

Paccard A, Vance M, Willi Y (2013) Weak impact of fine-scale landscape heterogeneity on evolutionary potential in Arabidopsis lyrata. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26:2331-2340

Willi Y, Griffin P, Van Buskirk J (2013) Drift load in populations of small size and low density. Heredity 110:296–302

Willi, Y (2013) Mutational meltdown in selfing Arabidopsis lyrata. Evolution 67:806-815

Willi, Y (2013) The battle of the sexes over seed size: support for both kinship genomic imprinting and interlocus contest evolution. American Naturalist 181:787-798

Blanckenhorn WU, Briegel U, Choffat Y, Demont M, Gautier R, Pemberton KL, Roschitzki-Voser H, Willi Y, Ward PI (2012) Temperature-mediated microhabitat choice and development time based on the pgm locus in the yellow dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 107:686-696

Willi Y, Hoffmann AA (2012) Microgeographic adaptation linked to forest fragmentation and habitat quality in the tropical fruit fly Drosophila birchii. Oikos 121:1627–1637

Willi Y, Frank A, Heinzelmann R, Kälin A, Spalinger R, Ceresini PC (2011) The adaptive potential of a plant pathogenic fungus, Rhizoctonia solani AG-3, under heat and fungicide stress. Genetica 139:903-908

Willi Y, Määttänen K (2011) The relative importance of factors determining genetic drift: mating system, spatial genetic structure, habitat, and census size in Arabidopsis lyrata. New Phytologist 189:1200-1209

Willi Y, Follador R, Keller N, Schwander Y, McDonald B (2010) Heritability under benign and stressful conditions in the plant pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola. Evolutionary Ecology Research 12:761-768

Willi Y, Määttänen K (2010) Evolutionary dynamics of mating system shifts in Arabidopsis lyrata. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23:2123-2131

Hoffmann, AA, Willi Y (2008) Detecting genetic responses to environmental change. Nature Reviews Genetics 9:421-432

Willi Y, Van Buskirk J, Hoffmann, AA (2006) Evolutionary potential of small populations. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 37:433-4