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Research projects

Pheromone Group – insect chemical ecology
  • Chemical communication in sawflies and its use in forest protection
    Sawflies are in many cases major forest pest insects, which defoliate large areas of conifer forests in the Northern hemisphere. The project investigates the chemical ecology of especially the diprionid sawflies – aiming at using pheromones for monitoring and pest control of sawflies.

  • Chemical ecology in the evolution of sociality and nest parasitism
    The project aims to reveal what chemical cues are involved in the evolution of nest parasitism and defence. The model insects are gall-inducing thrips and their so called kleptoparasites, in Acacia trees in the Australian desert.

  • Chemical ecology of obligate pollination mutualisms
    Mutualisms include interactions between species which are beneficial for both partners, and when they include species which are completely interdependent for survival and reproduction they are called obligate. The roles of floral scent in host detection and discrimination are studied in two such systems involving actively pollinating seed parasites: yucca moths on yucca plants and Epicephala moths on Phyllanthaceae plants.

  • Chemical ecology of psyllids on carrot and eucalyptus
    The carrot psyllid is the major pest of carrot in Northern Europe. This project study the chemical ecology of the psyllid in order to develop methods for reducing or controlling attacks.

  • Control of pest insects in clover seed production
    The aims of the research are to identify pheromones and host plant volatiles for several species of seed-eating weevils, and to use these compounds to develop environmentally friendly methods for monitoring and control of weevil populations in clover seed fields.

  • Evolutionary mechanisms of pheromone divergence in Lepidoptera
    The purpose of this research programme is to link molecular insight about the genetic and biochemical mechanisms underpinning the evolution of novel pheromones with ecological and evolutionary theories concerning the role of pheromones in reproductive isolation and speciation.

  • Host-race formation in the browntail moth
    The project aims to investigate if populations of browntail moth feeding on evergreen and deciduous hosts, on several areas of Europe and the USA, are genetically differentiated and if adaptation to specific host plants has affected the chemical communication between males and females, giving insight into the process of host race formation in this species. Ultimately, results will allow monitoring and controlling outbreaks of the species by possibly using its sex pheromone.

  • New forest pests in a changing climate
    This challenging project aims to value the pest potential of newly discovered pest insect Hungarian spruce scale including climatic influences on host and insects. Also to provide methods to monitor and predict potential outbreaks and to offer management strategies for these insects (e.g. monitoring traps).

  • Pheromones for conservation – odour-based methods for monitoring threatened saproxylic insects
    The project aims to integrate chemical ecology into conservation biology, by using insects living on dead or dying decidious trees, so called saproxylic insects. Many of these insects are today threatened throughout its range in Europe because its habitat has become increasingly fragmented in the modern agricultural landscape.
  • Pheromones and kairomones for control of stored product pests
    In this project we investigate how pheromones or food odours can be used to improve detection and monitoring, as well as, control of some important indoor-pest insects
  • Pheromones for managing insects in spruce seed orchards
    This project aims at identifying the sex pheromones of the three major moth pests to be used for monitoring of their phenology, dispersal and population density in spruce seed orchards. Seed orchards serve an important role for the production of high-quality seeds and thus in the generation of new forests.
  • Sex pheromone biosynthesis and odorant receptors in gall midges
    This project aims to identify pheromone biosynthetic enzymes and odorant receptors (ORs) of the Hessian fly, a serious pest of wheat.
  • The pheromone brewery
    We would like to overcome waste problems inherent to synthetic pheromone production by designing and developing an innovative green chemistry alternative, i.e., the synthesis of pheromones in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly plant factory or in yeast cell factories.
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