Dr. Tobias Lortzing


Institute of Biology

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

Adresse Haderslebener Str. 9
Raum 201
12163 Berlin
Telefon 030-8385 3834
E-Mail Tobias.Lortzing[at]fu-berlin.de


Plants defend themselves when they are attacked by insects. I study plant-insect interactions in a wild wine, the bittersweet nightshade Solanum dulcamara. As a chemical/molecular field-ecologist, I investigate the defense strategies of this plant on ecological, chemical and molecular scales. Very recently, we discovered a new form of extrafloral nectar that is secreted directly from the herbivore-inflicted wounds on the plant. This nectar attracts ants for indirect defense and may represent a first step in the evolution of nectaries. I also characterize the transcriptomic and metabolomic changes of the plant in response to herbivory and the phytohormonal regulation of the plant‘s inducible defenses under various biotic and abiotic stress conditions.

Current projects

Induced plant defences in Solanum dulcamara


Teaching activities

Practical couses and seminars in basic ecology and advanced practical courses in plant-defence ecology.


Lortzing, T., Calf, O.W., Böhlke, M., Schwachtje, J., Kopka, J., Geuss D., Kosanke, S. van Dam, N.M. and Steppuhn, A. (2016) Plant-bleeding for defence: Extrafloral nectar secretion from wounds of Solanum dulcamaraNature Plants. 2(5): 16056 

Lortzing, T. and Steppuhn, A. (2016) Jasmonate signalling in plants shapes plant-insect interaction ecology. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 14: 32–39.

Nguyen, D, D'Agostino, N, Tytgat, TO, Sun, P, Lortzing, T, Visser, EJ, Cristescu, SM, Steppuhn, A, Mariani, C, van Dam, NM, and Rieu, I (2016), Drought and flooding have distinct effects on herbivore-induced responses and resistance in Solanum dulcamara. Plant, Cell & Environment, doi: 10.1111/pce.12708.