Mehdi Cherif

Contact Information

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Senior lecturer


Works at:

Ecology and Environmental Sciences


Umeå universitet , SE-901 87 Umeå , Sverige

Visiting Address:

KB. H4, Linnaeus väg 6, Umeå, A4.42.21


+46 90 786 92 39


mehdi.cherif@umu.seEmail 3

mehdi.cherif@emg.umu.seEmail 1

mehdi.cherif@mail.mcgill.caEmail 2


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I work to better understand the links between the biological components of ecosystems and their physical and chemical components.

In concrete terms, I inverstigate how the building blocks of ecosystems, essential elements such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, affect feeding interactions among species. For example, it has been shown that herbivores feeding on plants that are overly rich in carbon face deficits in other elements, such as nitrogen, and grow poorly. I strive to extend this multi-element vision of ecology, an approach called ecological stoichiometry, from the study of pairwise species interactions to the study of tfood webs, the whole set of species feeding on each other. In practice, I am involved in a project looking into the stoichiometric effects of reindeers on the mineralization of nitrogen by soil microbes in the arctic. I also study various plant-insect interactions in the field (leaf-eating insects on mountain birch trees) and in the lab, using willows, aspen (Populus tremula×tremuloides) and chrysomelid beetle species (Chrysomela tremulae and Phratora vittelinae).

Concurrently, I explore how physical forces that act on each and everyone, such as gravity and drag, affect feeding interaction between species, and thus shape food webs. I collaborate with researchers at McGill University in Montréal, Canada,  the University of Bath, in the UK, and the CNRS Experimental Ecology Station in Moulis, France, on a project that explicitly incorporates the effects of physical factors on the parameters driving trophic interactions. We have developed models of food webs as they emerge from species that interact according to these physical rules.

My long-term goal is to come with a better understanding of the role of physico-chemical factors in shaping food webs and ecosystems, past, present and future.

Publications from Umeå university



Year sorteringsordning


Sitters, Judith
te Beest, Mariska
Cherif, Mehdi; et al.

Interactive Effects Between Reindeer and Habitat Fertility Drive Soil Nutrient Availabilities in Arctic Tundra
Ecosystems (New York. Print)



Cherif, Mehdi
Faithfull, Carolyn
Guo, Junwen; et al.

An Operational Framework for the Advancement of a Molecule-to-Biosphere Stoichiometry Theory
Frontiers in Marine Science, 4



Cherif, Mehdi

Stoichiometry and Population Growth in Osmotrophs and Non‐Osmotrophs



Portalier, Sebastien M. J.
Cherif, Mehdi
Zhang, Lai; et al.

Size-related effects of physical factors on phytoplankton communities
Ecological Modelling, 323: 41-50



Cherif, Mehdi
Elser, James

Ecological Stoichiometry



Cherif, Mehdi
Granados, Monica
Duffy, Sean; et al.

Potential for Local Fertilization: A Benthocosm Test of Long-Term and Short-Term Effects of Mussel Excretion on the Plankton
PLoS ONE, 11(6)



Cherif, Mehdi
Loreau, Michel

Plant - herbivore -decomposer stoichiometric mismatches and nutrientcycling in ecosystems
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, 280(1754): 20122453-



Cherif, Mehdi

Biological Stoichiometry: The Elements at the Heart of Biological Interactions



Cherif, Mehdi
Loreau, Michel

Towards a more biologically realistic use of Droop's equations to model growth under multiple nutrient limitation
Oikos, 119(6): 897-907



Doi, Hideyuki
Cherif, Mehdi
Iwabuchi, Tsubasa; et al.

Integrating elements and energy through the metabolic dependencies of gross growth efficiency and the threshold elemental ratio
Oikos, 119(5): 752-765



Older publications

• Cherif, M. (2012). Biological Stoichiometry: The elements at the heart of biological interactions. In D. A. Innocenti (Ed.), Stoichiometry and Research - The Importance of Quantity in Biomedicine: INTECH.
• Cherif, M., & Loreau, M. (2010). Towards a more biologically realistic use of Droop's equations to model growth under multiple nutrient limitation. Oikos, 119: 897-907.
• *Doi, H., Cherif, M., Iwabuchi, T., Katano, I., Stegen, J. C., & Striebel, M. (2010). Evaluating the Allometry of Gross Growth Efficiency and the Threshold Elemental Ratio: Towards an Integrated Understanding of Elements and Energy Dynamics. Oikos, 119:752-765
• Cherif, M., & Loreau, M. (2009). When microbes and consumers determine the limiting nutrient of autotrophs: a theoretical analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 276:487-497.
• Cherif, M., & Loreau, M. (2007). Stoichiometric constraints on resource use, competitive interactions, and elemental cycling in microbial decomposers. The American Naturalist, 169:709-724.
• Després, L., Cherif, M. (2004). The role of competition in adaptive radiation: a field study on sequentially ovipositing host-specific seed predators. Journal of Animal Ecology, 73: 109-116.

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