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

  • 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. 
    NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 8: AUG 24 2017 Article (Details)
  • 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 Article (Details)
  • Editorial overview: Ecology: The chemical ecology of human disease transmission by mosquito vectors 
    Mescher, Mark C.; De Moraes, Consuelo M. 
    CURRENT OPINION IN INSECT SCIENCE, 20: V-VI APR 2017 Editorial Material (Details)
  • 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 Article (Details)
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