Who we are
Our program is broadly interested in the topic of biological communication and the role of information transfer via signals and cues in mediating complex ecological interactions. Most of our empirical work focuses on the role of chemical signaling in interactions among plants, insects, and microbes, with a particular focus on volatile chemistry and olfaction. We explore these topics through work on a wide range of study systems and employ diverse empirical techniques, ranging from molecular biology and analytical chemistry to behavioral studies and ecological field work.
Our program also oversees the ETH Zürich Insect Collection. Housing, more than 2 million specimens, the ETH Collection is one of the largest in Central Europe and has both scientific and historical significance, particularly with respect to the insects of Switzerland and Swiss Entomology.
Broader impacts of our research
Our work focuses on identifying and exploring important scientific questions in ecology and evolution with relevance to pressing societal challenges, including sustainable food production, disease transmission, and the stability of ecological communities in the face of rapid environmental change. To address these questions, we have developed an multi-disciplinary research program that integrates work across a variety of fields in order to link underlying molecular and biochemical mechanisms to broad ecological patterns and processes. In addition to research, our program is committed to excellence in teaching and student training. We are also actively involved in outreach activities aimed at a broader audience, including through the educational activities of the ETH Zürich Insect Collection, which routinely hosts visiting school groups and other members of the general public.