Infochemicals that shape interactions between organisms

Chemical Ecology

The group of Chemical Ecology focuses on discovering infochemical pathways that govern interactions between organisms from different trophic levels. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we identify and characterize how plant chemistry modulates the interactions between plants, herbivores and their natural enemies belowground. We further investigate how climate change will drive these interactions in the coming decades. Finally, we assess the impact of plant chemistry onto physiological processes of larger herbivores: mice and human. The ultimate goal of our work is to provide fundamental knowledge that helps develop sustainable strategies for current societal challenges, such as food security, climate change, and human health.

Recent Publications

  • Herbivore-induced plant volatiles mediate defense regulation in maize leaves but not in maize roots
    van Doan, Cong; Zust, Tobias; Maurer, Corina; Zhang, Xi; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; et al.
    Plant Cell And Environment 10.1111/pce.14052  Early Access: APR 2021

  • Natural enemies of herbivores maintain their biological control potential under short-term exposure to future CO2, temperature, and precipitation patterns
    van Doan, Cong; Pfander, Marc; Guyer, Anouk S.; Zhang, Xi; Maurer, Corina; et al.
    Ecology And Evolution    10.1002/ece3.7314   MAY 2021

  • Western Corn Rootworm, Plant and Microbe Interactions: A Review and Prospects for New Management Tools
    Paddock, Kyle J.; Robert, Christelle A. M.; Erb, Matthias; Hibbard, Bruce E.
    Insects,   10.3390/insects12020171  FEB 2021

  • The plant metabolome guides fitness-relevant foraging decisions of a specialist herbivore
    Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Theepan, Vanitha; Robert, Christelle A. M.; Zust, Tobias; Hu, Lingfei; Su, Qi; Schimmel, Bernardus C. J.; Erb, Matthias
    PLOS BIOLOGY 19(2) Article Number: e3001114, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001114   FEB 2021

  • Volatile-mediated defence regulation occurs in maize leaves but not in maize root
    van Doan, Cong; Zust, Tobias; Maurer, Corina; Zhang, Xi; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Mateo, Pierre); Ye, Meng; Schimmel, Bernardus C. J.; Glauser, Gaetan; Robert, Christelle A. M
    Plant Cell And Environment  DOI: 10.1111/pce.13919  OCT 2020

  • Entomopathogenic nematodes from Mexico that can overcome the resistance mechanisms of the western corn rootworm
    Bruno, Pamela; Machado, Ricardo A. R.; Glauser, Gaetan; Kohler, Angela; Campos-Herrera, Raquel; Bernal, Julio; Toepfer, Stefan; Erb, Matthias; Robert, Christelle A. M; Arce, Carla C. M.; Turlings, Ted
    Scientific Reports 10(1), 10.1038/s41598-020-64945-x May 2020

  • ZEITLUPE facilitates the rhythmic movements of Nicotiana attenuata flowers
    Llorca, LC; Li, R; Yon, F; Schafer, M; Halitschke, R; Robert, CAM; Kim, SG; Baldwin, IT
    PLANT JOURNAL 103(1):‏ 308-322, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tpj.14732   JUL 2020

  • Adapted dandelions trade dispersal for germination upon root herbivore attack
    Bont, Zoe; Pfander, Marc; Robert, Christelle A. M.; Huber, Meret; Poelman, Erik H.; et al.
    Proceedings Of The Royal Society B-biological Sciences 287(1921) DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.2930 FEB 26 2020

  • Engineering bacterial symbionts of nematodes improves biocontrol potential of the western corn rootworm (Feb, 10.1038/s41587-020-0419-1, 2020)
    Machado, RAR; Thonen, L; Arce, CCM; Theepan, V; Prada, F; Wuthrich, D; Robert, CAM; Vogiatzaki, E; Shi, YM; Schaeren, OP; Notter, M; Bruggmann, R; Hapfelmeier, S; Bode, HB; Erb, M
    NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY,  DOI: 10.1038/s41587-020-0478-3, MAR 2020

  • Engineering bacterial symbionts of nematodes improves biocontrol potential of the western corn rootworm
    Machado, RAR; Thonen, L; Arce, CCM; Theepan, V; Prada, F; Wuthrich, D; Robert, CAM; Vogiatzaki, E; Shi, YM; Schaeren, OP; Notter, M; Bruggmann, R; Hapfelmeier, S; Bode, HB; Erb, M
    NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, DOI: 10.1038/s41587-020-0419-1, FEB 2020

  • Impact of Seasonal and Temperature-Dependent Variation in Root Defense Metabolites on Herbivore Preference in Taraxacum officinale
    Huang, Wei; Bont, Zoe; Herve, Maxime R.; Robert, Christelle A. M.; Erb, Matthias
    Journal Of Chemical Ecology 46(1): 63-75 DOI: 10.1007/s10886-019-01126-9  JAN 2020

Christelle Robert Uni Bern

Prof. Dr. Christelle Robert
University of Bern
Institute of Plant Sciences
3013 Bern

+41 31 631 31 55

Research topics

  • Chemically-mediated multi-trophic interactions
  • Metabolization of plant secondary metabolites by herbivores
  • Trophic cascades under climate change
  • Plant-derived diet and human health

Interdisciplinarity

  • Organic and analytical chemistry
  • Molecular biology
  • Microbiology
  • Behavioral Ecology
  • Medicine
  • Psychiatry