Working towards a better understanding of
FOREST ENTOMOLOGY & PROTECTION
Evolutionary ecology of insects – from gene to ecosystem
Our research group is working towards a better understanding of the ecology and evolution of forest insects to maintain the ecological and economical services of our forests. More specifically, we try to get a holistic insight of how other micro- and macroorganisms, such as microbial symbionts or natural enemies, influence the interactions between herbivorous insects and their plant hosts. To this end, we apply methods from evolutionary biology, ecology, entomology, microbiology, and a wide range of state-of-the-art techniques from histology, molecular and chemical ecology.
We are internationally known for our almost unique ability to rear bark and ambrosia beetles in artificial media in the laboratory. Combined with our own experimental forest, greenhouses and flying cages this enables us to study these insects at different scales from gene to ecological context.
Insect Behaviour & Symbiosis
Bark beetles have specific, but across species highly diverse, mutualistic interactions with fungi. How do they influence beetle fitness and population dynamics?
Forest Protection works at the interface of ecology, entomology, economy and society. It is thus central to the management of forests and accordingly links many disciplines.
Bark beetles are embedded in interactions with diverse microbes. How do they functionally affect the ecology and evolution of the beetles and beetle-fungus mutualisms?
Biodiversity in Wittental
A unique place for research and practical teaching modules, as well as student experimental space for biodiversity enhancement measures and acquisition of taxonomic knowledge.
MICROBIAL SYMBIONTS AND FUNGICULTURE
Ambrosia beetles grow their own food fungi. But how do they control what symbionts live in their fungal gardens?
SYMBIONTS OF PARASITIC SPECIES
Some bark beetles inhabit living trees without killing them. What bacteria and fungi help them to overwhelm tree defences?
Ambrosia beetles live in social societies. How do they cooperatively fight pathogens within their nests?
BIOLOGY OF FUNGAL SYMBIONTS
Ambrosia beetles live in close associations with fungi. Do these fungi reproduce sexually or asexually, and how are their spores transmitted between nests?
Coffee Berry Borer
SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AND BIOCONTROL
The coffee berry borer is the major pest of coffee worldwide. What is the life cycle of this poorly understood species and how does it behave?
INTRODUCTION OF NON-NATIVE SPECIES
Due to international wood trading, ambrosia beetles are easily transported to areas outside their original range. How do they affect native beetles in their new habitats?
EFFECTS ON HOST PLANT SYMBIONTS
Galling aphids change the defense chemistry of their host trees. How does this affect the fungi that live within the tree's leaves?
TROPHIC INTERACTIONS WITH LEAF SYMBIONTS
Do beetles feeding on thistle leaves prefer plants which are infected by fungi?
These beetles are fascinating animals for two reasons: First, they live in social societies, and second, they actively farm fungi for food.
Bark beetles occur in every region of the world. They play a key role in many forest ecosystems.
These aphids not only suck at their host plant. They also force it to build a home for them!
With their specialized feet these beetles strongly adhere their flat body to leaves. Larvae use their feces to build a shield.
COFFEE BERRY BORER
This beetle is so tiny that it can spend most of its life within a single coffee bean. It is the most devastating pest of coffee worldwide.