Biocommunication & ecology

Chemistry plays a key role in mediating diverse ecological interactions among species, with important implications for agriculture, human health, and environmental sustainability. Our research program explores the ways in which chemical cues and signals mediate interactions among plants, insects, and microbes, with a  primary focus on volatile chemistry and olfaction.

Key areas of interest include: (i) chemical mediation of tri-trophic interactions among plants, insect herbivores, and the herbivore's natural enemies; (ii) pathogen effects on host plant chemistry and implications for host-vector interactions and disease transmission; (iii) the influence of plant-associated microbes on plant interactions; and (iv) factors influencing inter-individual variation in plant chemistry and the evolution of plant signaling phenotypes.


Recent Publications

  • Variation in growth and defence traits among plant populations at different elevations: Implications for adaptation to climate change
    Buckley, J; Widmer, A; Mescher, MC; De Moraes, CM
    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 107 (5):2478-2492; 10.1111/1365-2745.13171 SEP 2019
  • Herbivory and inbreeding affect growth, reproduction, and resistance in the rhizomatous offshoots of Solanum carolinense (Solanaceae)
    Nihranz, CT; Kolstrom, RL; Kariyat, RR; Mescher, MC; De Moraes, CM; Stephenson, AG
    EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY, 33 (4):499-520; 10.1007/s10682-019-09997-w AUG 2019
  • Divergent behavioural responses of gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars from three different subspecies to potential host trees
    McCormick, AC; Arrigo, L; Eggenberger, H; Mescher, MC; De Moraes, CM
    SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 9 10.1038/s41598-019-45201-3 JUN 20 2019
  • Sorghum 3-Deoxyanthocyanidin Flavonoids Confer Resistance against Corn Leaf Aphid
    Kariyat, RR; Gaffoor, I; Sattar, S; Dixon, CW; Frock, N; Moen, J; De Moraes, CM; Mescher, MC; Thompson, GA; Chopra, S
    JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY, 45 (5-6):502-514; 10.1007/s10886-019-01062-8 JUN 2019
  • Combined effects of mutualistic rhizobacteria counteract virus-induced suppression of indirect plant defences in soya bean
    Pulido, H; Mauck, KE; De Moraes, CM; Mescher, MC
    PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 286 (1903):10.1098/rspb.2019.0211 MAY 22 2019
  • Costs of plant defense priming: exposure to volatile cues from a specialist herbivore increases short-term growth but reduces rhizome production in tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
    Yip, EC; Tooker, JF; Mescher, MC; De Moraes, CM
    BMC PLANT BIOLOGY, 19 10.1186/s12870-019-1820-0 MAY 21 2019
  • Trade-offs between defenses against herbivores in goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
    Yip, EC; Sowers, RP; Helms, AM; Mescher, MC; De Moraes, CM; Tooker, JF
    ARTHROPOD-PLANT INTERACTIONS, 13 (2):279-287; SI 10.1007/s11829-019-09674-3 APR 2019
  • A key floral scent component (-trans-bergamotene) drives pollinator preferences independently of pollen rewards in seep monkeyflower
    Haber, AI; Sims, JW; Mescher, MC; De Moraes, CM; Carr, DE
    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 33 (2):218-228; 10.1111/1365-2435.13246 FEB 2019
  • Can we use human odors to diagnose malaria?
    Stanczyk, NM; De Moraes, CM; Mescher, MC
    FUTURE MICROBIOLOGY, 14 (1):5-9; 10.2217/fmb-2018-0312 JAN 2019
  • Divergence in Glucosinolate Profiles between High- and Low-Elevation Populations of Arabidopsis halleri Correspond to Variation in Field Herbivory and Herbivore Behavioral Preferences
    Buckley, James; Pashalidou, Foteini G.; Fischer, Martin C.; Widmer, Alex; Mescher, Mark C.; De Moraes, Consuelo M.
    INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES, 20 (1): 10.3390/ijms20010174 JAN 1 2019
  • Pollination and reproduction of an invasive plant inside and outside its ancestral range
    Petanidou, T; Price, MV; Bronstein, JL; Kantsa, A; Tscheulin, T; Kariyat, R; Krigas, N; Mescher, MC; De Moraes, CM; Waser, NM
    ACTA OECOLOGICA-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 89 11-20; 10.1016/j.actao.2018.03.008 MAY 2018
  • Volatile biomarkers of symptomatic and asymptomatic malaria infection in humans
    De Moraes, CM; Wanjiku, C; Stanczyk, NM; Pulido, H; Sims, JW; Betz, HS; Read, AF; Torto, B; Mescher, MC
    PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 115 (22):5780-5785; 10.1073/pnas.1801512115 MAY 29 2018
  • Identification of an insect-produced olfactory cue that primes plant defenses 
    Helms, Anjel M.; De Moraes, Consuelo M.; Troeger, Armin; et al. 
  • Plant spines deter herbivory by restricting caterpillar movement 
    Kariyat, Rupesh R.; Hardison, Sean B.; De Moraes, Consuelo M.; et al. 
    BIOLOGY LETTERS, 13 (5): MAY 2017
  • Editorial overview: Ecology: The chemical ecology of human disease transmission by mosquito vectors 
    Mescher, Mark C.; De Moraes, Consuelo M. 
  • Effects of malaria infection on mosquito olfaction and behavior: extrapolating data to the field 
    Stanczyk, Nina M.; Mescher, Mark C.; De Moraes, Consuelo M. 
    CURRENT OPINION IN INSECT SCIENCE, 20: 7-12, 10.1016/j.cois.2017.02.002  APR 2017
  • The volatile emission of a specialist herbivore alters patterns of plant defence, growth and flower production in a field population of goldenrod 
    Yip, Eric C.; De Moraes, Consuelo M.; Mescher, Mark C.; et al. 
    FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 31 (5): 1062-1070 MAY 2017
Consuelo De Moraes

Prof. Dr. Consuelo De Moraes
ETH Zurich
Institute of Agricultural Sciences
8092 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 632 39 20

Research topics

  • Chemical Ecology
  • Plant-insect interactions
  • Plant-Pathogen interactions
  • Plant Signaling


  • Ecology
  • Chemical Communication
  • Chemistry
  • Entomology