Consequences of insect invasions for plant-insect interactions mediated by volatile organic compounds (InvaVOL)

research database P3 of SNF

Plant volatiles play an exceedingly important role in the interactions among plants and insects, as many insects use plant volatiles to locate vital resources. Herbivorous insects, for instance, use plant volatiles to locate host plants as food for themselves or their offspring and pollinators use flower volatiles to locate flowers that offer nectar and pollen. Of special interest for plant-insect interactions are herbivore-induced plant volatiles, which are mainly released by the plants upon herbivory. These herbivore-induced BVOVs are also very important signals in the context of the interactions between plants and insects. The proposed collaborative project is based on the hypothesis that these fine-tuned plant-mediated interactions will be disrupted if novel herbivores are introduced into an ecosystem. By studying and modeling these effect of invading insects we aim to not only contribute to the fundamental understanding of the role of BVOCs in the interactions among plants and associated insects, but will also provide information on the environmental and possible economic consequences of invasive insects. We expect that the impact of invasive insects, through the alteration of info chemical networks, can be considerable. By not only studying this impact of invading insects on plant ecosystems in Europe, but also for insects coming into regions of Northern Africa and the Middle East, we hope to also contribute to better ecosystem and crop protection in several developing countries in these regions.


Project Leader:

Professor Ted Turlings
University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland


Principal Investigators:

Professor Florian P. Schiestl
University of Zurich, Switzerland

Professor Nicole Van Dam and Dr Simona Cristescu
Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Professor Peter Anderson and Professor Mattias Larsson
Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Alnarp, Sweden

Dr Silvia Fineschi
National Research Council, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

Dr Salvatore Cozzolino
University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Professor Pavel Kindlmann
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

Associated Partner:

Dr Jeffrey Harvey
Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Heteren, The Netherlands