Liette Vasseur

Professor, Biological Sciences; UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability: from local to global; Member of the Brock Environmental Sustainability Research Centre

Liette Vasseur

Office: Mackenzie Chown F 228
905 688 5550 x4023

Dr. Vasseur is a full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Brock University where she is also an affiliate of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, one of the five transdisciplinary spaces at the university. Since 2014, she holds the UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability: from Local to Global at Brock. She is also a Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute Fellow at Brock. Her research program is highly interdisciplinary and links issues such as community-based ecosystem management, climate change adaptation and resilience and sustainable agriculture and rural communities. In Canada it includes impacts of extreme events on meadow ecosystems, use of new technologies in sustainable agriculture, conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem/landscape sustainable development and resilience in Niagara rural communities.

Dr. Vasseur’s community-research work on climate change adaptation with the City of Greater Sudbury led her to receive in 2011 the Latornell Pioneers Award from Conservation Ontario. She was part of the codirection committee of a large project on Coastal Communities Challenges in the face of Climate Change, funded by the Social and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which looked at resilience and ecosystem-based adaptations in ten coastal communities of Atlantic Canada.  She has produced over 150 publications and more than 250 presentations as a researcher.

Dr. Vasseur’s work focuses not only on Canada but also internationally such as in China, where she was a Minjiang Scholar, and she is currently a visiting scholar at the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University. She is also involved in Ecuador on climate change adaptation and resilience (Paramos) as well as sustainable agriculture development (San Juan) in Ecuador with ESPOCH in Riobamba. Previously she has worked in Burkina Faso on community-based conservation management.

Other activities

  • Brock University Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award, October 12, 2018.
  • Deputy Chair and Vice-Chair (North America) of the Commission for Ecosystem Management of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and co-lead of the thematic group on Climate Change and Biodiversity Policy and Practice
  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Botany; Associate Editor in Chief, Journal of Biosafety
  • As the topic of women has also been a point of focus in her international research, she is involved in some women organizations. She was the President of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT) and the President-Elect of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES). She is currently on the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee of the Canadian Botanical Association

I hold a BSc in Ecology from the Université de Sherbrooke, a MSc in Biology at Univ. du Québec à Montréal, and a Ph.D. in Biology at Queen’s University and PDF at McGill.

Li, J, L. Shi, L. Vasseur, M. You and S. You. Environmental heterogeneity drives genetic divergence of tea green leafhopper populations in China. Entomologia Generalis (accepted January 30, 2023).

Ben Kalifa, M.H., H. VanVolkenburg and L. Vasseur. 2023. Testing cover crop species under three soil moisture conditions in a controlled greenhouse environment. Canadian Journal of Plant Science (accepted January 12, 2023).

Vasseur, L., B. May, M. Caspell, A. Marino, P. Garg, J. Baker and S. Gauthier. Using an inverted funnel analogy to develop a theory of change supporting resilient ecosystem-based adaptation in the Great Lakes Basin: a case study of Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. Facets 7: 1348–1366 (accepted without revision).

Ke, F., J. Li, L. Vasseur, MS You and S. You. 2022. Temporal sampling and network analysis reveal rapid population turnover and dynamic migration pattern in overwintering regions of a cosmopolitan pest. Front. Genet. 13:986724. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2022.986724

Zhao, Q., L. Shi, W. He, J. Li, S. You, S. Chen, J. Lin, Y. Wang, L. Zhang, G. Yang, L. Vasseur, M. You. 2022. Genomic Variation in the Tea Leafhopper Reveals the Basis of Adaptive Evolution. Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics, doi: (in press August 28. 2022)

Dong, S.J., B. Liu, M. Zou, L. Liu, M. Cao, M. Huang, L. Vasseur, M. You and L. Peng. Identification of chorion genes and RNA interference-mediated functional characterization of chorion-1 in Plutella xylostella. Journal of Integrative Agriculture (submitted November 10, 2021, revised version resubmitted March 22, 2022, accepted May 8, 2022)

Vasseur, L., M. J. Thornbush and S. Plante. 2022. Engaging Communities in Adaptation to Climate Change by Understanding the Dimensions of Social Capital in Atlantic Canada. Sustainability14, 5250.

Li, J., L. Shi, L. Vasseur, Q, Zhao, J. Chen, M. You and S. You. 2022. Genetic analyses reveal regional structure and demographic expansion of the predominant tea pest Empoasca onukii (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Journal of Pest Management 78: 2838-2850.

VanVolkenburg, H., I. Vandeplas, K. Touré, S. Sanfo, F. Lamarana Baldé, and L. Vasseur.  2022. Do Covid-19 and food insecurity influence existing inequalities between women and men in Africa? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 19, 2065.

Marco-Heredia, R., R.M.B. Torres, L. Vasseur, L. Puhl, D. Barreto and C.G.H. Díaz-Ambrona. 2022. Sustainability dimensions assessment in four traditional agricultural systems in the Amazon. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, section Land, Livelihoods and Food Security 5:782633.

Chen, Y., Z. Liu, J. Régnière, L. Vasseur, F. Ke; S. Chen, J. Li, J. Huang, G.M. Gurr, M You and S. You. 2021. Large-scale genome-wide study reveals climate adaptive variability in a cosmopolitan herbivore. Nature Communications 12: 7206.

Vasseur, L., H. VanVolkenburg, I. Vandeplas, K. Touré, S. Sanfo and F.L. Baldé. 2021. The Effects of Pandemics on the Vulnerability of Food Security in West Africa—A Scoping Review. Sustainability 2021, 13, 12888.

Ke, F., L. Vasseur, H. Yi, L. Yang, B. Wang and M. Kang. 2021. Gene flow, linked selection, and divergent sorting of ancient polymorphism shape genomic divergence landscape in a group of edaphic specialists. Molecular Ecology 31: 104-118. DOI: 10.1111/mec.16226

Pozsgai, G., G.L. Lövei, L. Vasseur, G. Gurr, P. Batáry, J. Korponai, N.A. Littlewood, J. Liu, A. Móra, J. Obrycki, O. Reynolds, J.A. Stockan, H. VanVolkenburg, J. Zhang, W. Zhou and M. You. 2021. Irreproducibility in searches of scientific literature: a comparative analysis. Ecology and Evolution 11(21): 14658–14668. DOI:

Gauthier, S., B. May and L. Vasseur. 2021. Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Protect Avian Species in Coastal Communities in the Greater Niagara Region, Canada. Climate 9, 91.

Zhang, X., S. Chen, L. Shi, D. Gong, S. Zhang, D. Zhan, L. Vasseur, Y. Wang, J. Yu, X. Xu, R. Qi, W. Wang, Y. Ma, P. Wang, N. Ye, D. Ma, Q. Zhao, X. Ma, X. Kong, J. Lin, L. Wei, Y. Ma, R. Li, G. Hu, H. He, L. Zhang, H. Wang, R. Ming, H. Tang and M. You. 2021. Haplotype-resolved genome assembly provides insights into evolutionary history of the tea plant Camellia sinensis. Nature Genetics 53: 1250-1259.

Caspell, M. and L. Vasseur. 2021. Evaluating and visualizing drivers of coastline change: A Lake Ontario case study. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. Special issue Geomatic Applications to Coastal Research. 10: 375.

Izurieta, G, A. Torres, J. Patiño, C. Vasco, L. Vasseur, H. Reyes and B. Torres. 2021. Exploring community and key stakeholders’ perception of scientific tourism as a strategy to achieve SDGs in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Tourism Management Perspectives 39: 100830.

Vasseur, L. 2021. How Ecosystem-Based Adaptation to Climate Change Can Help Coastal Communities through a Participatory Approach. Sustainability 13, 2344.

Shi, L., H. He, G. Yang, H. Huang, L. Vasseur* and M. You*. 2021. Are yellow sticky cards and light traps effective on tea green leafhoppers and their predators in Chinese tea plantations? Insects 12, 14.

DeCock-Caspell, M. and L. Vasseur. 2021. Responding to natural disasters with disaster risk reduction and management. Facets 6: 240–251. DOI: 10.1139/facets-2020-0032 (featured article).

Vasseur, L. 2021. Enjeux d’éducation aux changements climatiques auprès des communautés. Éducation relative à l’environnement: Regards, recherches, réflexions 15:2. DOI : 10.4000/ere.5908 (republished: Volume 16 – 2 | 2021, URL : ; DOI :

Baker, J., D. Dupont and L. Vasseur. 2021. Exploring Canadian Ramsar sites Ecosystem and Sustainability. Wetlands 41: article 6.

Yang, F., H. Sohaib, A. Saqib, J. Chen; Q. Ruan, L. Vasseur, W. He and M. You. 2020. DNA sequencing and metabolic profiling reveal the roles of gut microbiota and metabolites in Plutella xylostella host adaptation. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21, 6283; doi:10.3390/ijms21176283

Chen W., L. Vasseur, S. Zhang, H. Zhang, J. Mao, T. Liu, X. Zhou, X. Wang, M. You and G.M. Gurr. 2020. Mechanism and consequences for avoidance of superparasitism in the solitary parasitoid Cotesia vestalis. Scientific Reports 10:11463.

Andrade, A., C. Zambrana-Torrelio, L. Vasseur, C. Nelson, S. Carver and I. Convery. 2020. Rewilding for Human Health: Exploring the connections between zoonotic diseases, human health and well-being, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Ecologist – News.

Liu, Z., S. Fu, X. Ma, S.W. Baxter, L. Vasseur, L. Xiong, Y. Huang, G. Yang, S. You and M. You. 2020. Novel mechanism of resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis toxin Cry1Ac in Plutella xylostella involving two ATP-binding cassette transporter genes. Plos Pathogens 16(8): e1008697. ppat.1008697

Zou, M., Q. Wang, L. Chu, L. Vasseur, Y. Zhai, Y. Qin, W. He, Y. Gang, Y. Zhou, L. Peng and M. You. 2020. CRISPR/Cas9-induced vitellogenin knockout lead to incomplete embryonic development in Plutella xylostella. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 123 (August 2020): 10340.

Brown, L. and L. Vasseur. 2020. An analysis of aquatic invasive species management in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada: Establishment of a database to improve knowledge sharing. Management of Biological Invasions 11(3): 588-606.

VanVolkenburg, H, F. Guinel and L. Vasseur. 2020. Impacts of smooth pigweed (Amaranthus hybridus) on cover crops in Southern Ontario. Agronomy 10: 529. doi:10.3390/agronomy10040529

You*, M., F. Ke, S. You, Z. Wu, Q. Liu, W. He, L. Vasseur*, G.M. Gurr*, S.W. Baxter, H. Cerda, G. Yang, L. Peng, M. Xie, L. Cai, C.J. Douglas, M.B. Isman, M.S. Goettel, Q. Song, Q. Fan, G. Wang-Pruski, D.C. Lees, Y. Jin, Z. Yue*, J. Bai, T. Liu, Y. Zheng, Z. Zeng, S. Lin, Y. Wang, Q. Zhao, X. Xia, W. Chen, L. Chen, M. Zou, J. Liao, Q. Gao, X. Fang, Y. Yin, H. Yang, J. Wang, L. Han, Y. Lu and M. Zhuang (* corresponding authors). 2020. Variation among 532 genomes unveils the origin and evolutionary history of a global herbivore. Nature Communications

He, H., L. Shi, G. Yang, M. You and L. Vasseur. 2020. Ecological Risk Assessment of Soil Heavy Metals and Pesticide Residues in Tea Plantations. Agriculture 10, 47; doi:10.3390/agriculture10020047.

Chen, W., Y. Dong, H.S.A. Saqib, L. Vasseur, W. Zhou, L. Zheng, Y. Lai, X. Ma, L. Lin, X. Xu, W. He and M. You. 2020. Functions of duplicated glucosinolate sulfatases in the development and host adaptation of Plutella xylostella based on a CRISPR/Cas9 system. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 119: 103316.

Peng, L., Q. Wang, M. Zou, Z. Liu, Y. Qin, L. Vasseur, L. Chu, Y. Zhai, W. He, G. Yang and M. You. 2020. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated vitellogenin receptor knockout reveals its reproductive functions in Plutella xylostella. Frontiers Physiology 10:1585. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01585

Hameed, S.M., X. Jing, W. Chen, J. Chen, L. Vasseur, G. Wang-Pruski and G. Yang. 2019. Function and characterization of the Argonaute2 gene in the RNA interference pathway in the diamondback moth. Arch Biochem Mol Biol 2019; 10 (4): 035-051.

Zhang, L., X. Jing, W. Chen, Y. Wang, J. Lin, L. Zheng, Y. Dong, L. Zhou, F. Li, F. Yang, L. Peng, L. Vasseur, W. He and M. You.  2019. Host plant-derived miRNAs potentially modulate the development of a cosmopolitan insect pest, Plutella xylostella. Biomolecules 9, 602; doi:10.3390/biom9100602.

Daigle, C. and L. Vasseur. 2019. Is It Time to Shift Our Environmental Thinking? A Perspective on Barriers and Opportunities to Change. Sustainability 11, 5010. Doi:10.3390/su11185010.

Peng, L., L. Wang, M. Zou, L. Vasseur, Q. Wang, L. Chu, Y. Qin, Y. Zhai and M. You. 2019. Identification of Halloween genes in Plutella xylostella and their functional analysis using RNA interference. Frontiers Physiology 10, 1120. Doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01120

Zhang, L., X. Jing, W. Chen, J. Bai, L. Vasseur, W. He, M. You. 2019. Selection of reference genes for expression analysis of plant-derived microRNAs in Plutella xylostella using qRT-PCR and ddPCR. PlosOne 14(8): e0220475.

Ke, F., S. You, S. Huang, W. Chen, T. Liu, W. He, D. Xie, Q. Li, X. Lin, L. Vasseur, G.M. Gurr, and M. You. 2019. Herbivore range expansion triggers adaptation in a newly-associated third trophic level species and shared microbial symbionts. Scientific Reports 9:10314 10.1038/s41598-019-46742-3.

Chen, W., W. He, Y. Dong, L. Lin, X. Ma, H.S.A. Saqib, X. Xu, L. Zhang, X. Jing, L. Peng, Y. Wang, L. Vasseur, W. He and M. You. 2019. Implication for DNA methylation involved in the host transfer of diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.). Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. e21600: 1-14.

Zhao, Q. W. Zhong, D. Ma, W. He, Y. Li, L. Vasseur and M. You. 2019. Genome-wide profiling of the alternative splicing provides insights into development and sex determination in Plutella xylostella. BMC Genomics 20:463.

Wyckhuys, K.A.G., G. Pozsgai, G.L. Lovei, L. Vasseur, G.M. Gurr, O.L. Reynolds and M. Goettel. 2019. Culturomics Global Disparity in Public Awareness of the Biological Control Potential of Invertebrates. The Science of the Total Environment 660: 799-806.

Torres, B., L. Vasseur, R. López, P. Lozano, Y. García, Y. Arteaga, C. Bravo, C. Barba and Antón García. 2019. Structure and above ground biomass along an elevation gradient: a case study in an Evergreen Andean Amazon Forests of Napo, Ecuador. Agroforestry Systems.

Wyckhuys, K.A.G., A.C. Hughes, C. Buamas, A.C.  Johnson, L. Vasseur, L. Reymondin, J.P. Deguine, and D. Sheil. 2019. Biological control protects tropical forests. Communications Biology 2 : article 10 (2019).

Plante, S. L. Vasseur and J. Santos-Silva. 2018. Adaptation des communautés côtières aux effets des changements climatiques sous l’angle de la résilience : lier la gouvernance locale au développement durable. VertigO 18 (2) : URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/vertigo.22079

Vasseur, L. 2018. Learning the role of biodiversity monitoring in a biosphere reserve. International Journal of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves 2 (1): 18-21.

Hameed, M.S., Z. Wang, L. Vasseur and G. Yang. 2018. Molecular Cloning and functional analysis of Argonaute-3 in diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella). International Journal of Molecular Sciences 19: 1249; doi:10.3390/ijms19041249.

Vasseur, L., R. Labbe and M. Goettel. 2018. Use of biological control against arthropod pests in Canadian greenhouse crop production. Journal of Biosafety 27: 1-15.

You, Y., M. Xie, L. Vasseur and M. You. 2018. Selecting and Validating Reference Genes for Quantitative Real-time PCR in Plutella xylostella (L.). Genome 61: 349-358.

Xia, X., B. Sun, G. Gurr, L. Vasseur, M. Xue and M. You. 2018. Gut microbiota mediating insecticide resistance of Plutella xylostella. Frontiers in Microbiology 9: article 25.

Lin, J., X. Xia, X. Yu, J. Shen, Y. Li, H. Lin, S. Tang, L. Vasseur and M. You. 2018. Gene expression profiling provides insights into the immune mechanism of Plutella xylostella midgut to microbial infection. GENE 647: 21-30.

Zhao, Q., D. Ma, Y. Huang, W. He, Y. Li, L. Vasseur and M. You. 2017. Genome-wide investigation of transcription factors provides insights into transcriptional regulation in Plutella xylostella. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 293(2), 435-449.

Wang, D., L. Li, L. Vasseur, Y. Li and G. Yang.  2017. De novo transcriptome sequencing of Isaria cateniannulata and comparative analysis of gene expression in response to heat and cold stresses. PlosONE 12 (10): e0186040. O

Peng, L., Y. Yang, M. Zou, L. Wang, W. He, Y. Wang, Q. Wang, L. Vasseur and M. You. 2017. Transcriptome profiling of the ovary reveals genes involved in oogenesis in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae). GENE 637: 90-99.

Huang, Y., B. Zeng, Y. Wang, X. Xu, Q. Meng, Y-P. Huang, L. Vasseur and M. You. 2017. Functional characterization of Pol III U6 promoters for gene knockdown and knockout in Plutella xylostella. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 89:71-78.

Vasseur, L., M. Thornbush and S. Plante. 2017. Climatic and Environmental Changes Affecting Communities in Atlantic Canada. Sustainability 9, 1293; doi:10.3390/su9081293.

Zhao, Q., D. Ma, L. Vasseur, and M. You. 2017. Segmental duplications in Lepidoptera genomes reveal species-specific adaptive evolution. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17: 161. DOI 10.1186/s12862-017-1007-y

Vasseur, L., D, Horning, M. Thornbush, E. Cohen-Shacham, A. Andrade, E. Barrow, S. Edwards, P. Wit, and M. Jones. 2017. Complex problems and unchallenged solutions: bringing ecosystem governance to the forefront of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ambio 46: 731-742. doi:10.1007/s13280-017-0918-6

Chen, W., L. Vasseur, M. You, J. Li, C. Wang, R. Meng, G.M. Gurr. 2017. Parasitoids manipulate zombie caterpillar feeding behaviour to reduce risk of intra-guild predation. Scientific Reports 7: 42636 doi:10.1038/srep42636.

Jia, X., X. Ye, J. Chen, X. Lin, L. Vasseur and M. You. 2017. Purification and biochemical characteristics of a cyclodextrin glycosyltransferase from Geobacillus thermoglucosidans CHB1. Starch. DOI: 10.1002/star.201700016

Xia, X., D. Zheng, H. Zhong, B. Qin, G.M. Gurr, L. Vasseur, J. Lin, Y. Wang, F. Song, Y. Li, H. Lin and Mi. You. 2017. Metagenomic sequencing of diamondback moth gut microbiome unveils key holobiont adaptations for herbivory. Frontiers in Microbiology (26 April 2017)

Vasseur, L. 2017. Chapter 7. Diversifying the garden: a way to ensure food security and women empowerment. In Fletcher, A.J. and W. Kubik (Eds). Women in Agriculture Worldwide: Key Issues and Practical Approaches. Gower Publishing, Surrey, UK. Published July 13, 2016: 103-115.

Chen, Y., L. Vasseur and M. You. 2017. Potential distribution of the invasive loblolly pine mealybug, Oracella acuta (Hemiptera: Pseudococidae), in Asia under future climate change scenarios. Climatic Change 141: 719-732.

Shi, L., L. Vasseur, H. Huang, Z. Zeng, G. Hu, X. Liu and M. You. 2017. Adult leafhoppers Empoasca onukii Matsuda change behaviors under varying light conditions. PlosONE 12(1): e0168439. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168439

Lin, J.,  X. Xia, J. Shen, Y. Li, H. Lin, S. Tang, L. Vasseur and M. You. Expression profiling of the immune genes in response to microorganism infections in the Plutella xylostella midgut. Insect Science (accepted September 28, 2016).

Lin, M., L. Vasseur, G. Yang, G. Gurr and M. You. 2016. Wetting properties changing with insect development: behavioural and morphological differences between nymphs and adults of Empoasca onukii Matsuda. Scientific Reports 6: 37026 | DOI: 10.1038/srep37026

Qi, W., X. Ma, W. He, W. Chen, M. Zou, G.M. Gurr, L. Vasseur and M. You. 2016. Characterization and expression profiling of ATP-binding cassette transporter genes in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.). BMC Genomics 17:760. DOI 10.1186/s12864-016-3096-1

Vasseur, L. 2016. Looking at ecosystem governance as a way to achieve environmental sustainability and tackling “wicked” problems. In Sreekumari Kurissery, Rosario Turvey, I. Florin Pendea (Eds.). Environmental Sustainability. Wiley Publisher: 114-125.

Plante, S., Vasseur L. and C. Da Cunha. 2016. Chapter 4. Adaptation to climate change and Participatory Action Research (PAR): lessons from municipalities in Quebec, Canada. In Jörg Knieling (Ed.). Climate Adaptation Governance. Theory, Concepts and Praxis in Cities and Regions. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim: 69-88 (published May 20, 2016).

Vasseur, L. and M. You. 2016. Facing climate change through sustainable agriculture: Can results from China be transferred to Africa? In Bryant, C. M. Adama Sarr and K. Delusca (Eds.). Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change. Springer: 167-184.