Our research focuses on the Chemical and Molecular Ecology of Plant - Insect Interactions. Information transfer between plants, herbivorous insects, predatory and parasitic insects is mediated by a plethora of chemical signals and cues, such as, e.g., plant volatiles or pheromones. Our major aim is to unravel this infochemical web in several tri- and multitrophic systems by studying the mechanisms and functions of chemical communication. The identification of infochemicals involved in multitrophic interactions, studies of their biological activities, and investigations of their biogenesis are our major tasks. We use chemical and molecular techniques as well as modern behavioural assays for our studies. Knowledge of the chemical ecology of multitrophic interactions may contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of a food web and lead to an optimal use of naturally occurring chemicals in crop and forest protection.
Our team is member of the Dahlem Centre of Plant Sciences, one of the research focus areas of the FU-Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Monika Hilker, the head of the Department Applied Zoology/Animal Ecology, is the speaker and director of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 973 “Priming and Memory of Organismic Responses to Stress“. Several members of our team are involved in this CRC: Tobias Otte is the scientific coordinator of the CRC, Urte Kohlhoff and Sabine Funke represent the CRC secretariat, Monika Hilker, Sven Geiselhardt, Anke Steppuhn are principal investigators of scientific projects funded by the CRC. You will find further information on the CRC here: www.sfb973.de