Our main research question is how sexual attraction is involved in the initial divergence of populations, and thus the first step in speciation. Since sexual attraction can directly lead to assortative mating, we aim to understand which genes are involved in within-species variation and which factors may cause variation in sexual attraction. For a more detailed description, click on tab "Research" and on the link below to my website at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology.
Promo-clip Master track Ecology & Evolution
Science video „How is Genetic Variance Maintained through Sexual Selection?” with Astrid Groot, published on www.latestthinking.org (Open Access Video Journal)
Inaugural lecture 19 September 2018 (in Dutch)
82. Nojima S, Claben A, Groot AT, Schal C. 2018. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of chemicals emitted from the pheromone gland of individual Heliothis subflexa females. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202035. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202035
81. Groot AT, Nojima S, Heath JJ, Ammagarahalli B, van Wijk M, Claβen A, Santangelo RG, Lopez J, Schal C. 2018. Alcohol contributes to attraction of Heliothis (= Chloridea) virescens males to females. Journal of Chemical Ecology 44:621–630
80. Niepoth N, Gao K, De Roode JC, Groot AT. 2018. Comparing behavior and clock gene expression between caterpillars, butterflies, and moths. Journal of Biological Rhythms 33: 52-64 doi: 10.1177/0748730417746458
79. Van Wijk M, Heath J, Lievers R, Schal C, Groot AT. 2017. Proximity of signallers can maintain sexual signal variation under stabilizing selection. Scientific Reports 7:18101 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-17327-9
78. Jacquin-Joly E, Groot AT. Chapter 71 - Pheromones, Insects. In: Encyclopedia of Reproduction, second edition, Volume 6: Comparative Reproduction. Swanson P, Skinner M (section editors), in press.
77. Gouin A, Bretaudeau A, Nam K, Gimenez S, Aury J-M, Duvic B, Hilliou F, Durand N, Montagné N, Darboux I, Kuwar S, Chertemps T, Siaussat D, Bretschneider A, Moné Y, Ahn S-Y, Hänniger S, Gosselin Grenet A-S, Neunemann D, Maumus F, Luyten I, Labadie K, Xu W, Koutroumpa F, Escoubas J-M, Llopis A, Maïbèche-Coisne M, Salasc F, Tomar A, Anderson AR, Khan SA, Dumas P, Orsucci M, Guy J, Belser C, Alberti A, Noel N, Couloux A, Mercier J, Nidelet S, Dubois E, Liu N-Y, Boulogne I, Mirabeau O, Le Goff G, Gordon K, Oakeshott J, Consoli FL, Volkoff A-N, Fescemyer HW, Marden JH, Luthe DS, Herrero S, Heckel DG, Wincker P, Kergoat GJ, Amselem J, Quesneville H, Groot AT, Jacquin-Joly E, Nègre N, Lemaitre C, Legeai F, d’Alençon E, Fournier P. 2017. Two genomes of highly polyphagous lepidopteran pests. Scientific Reports 7: 11816 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-10461-4
76. Hosseini SA, Goldansaz SH, Menken SBJ, van Wijk M, Roessingh P, Groot AT. 2017. Field attraction of carob moth to host plants and conspecific females. Journal of Economic Entomology doi: 10.1093/jee/tox218
75. Hosseini SA, Goldansaz SH, Fotoukkiaii SM, Menken SBJ, Groot AT. 2017. Seasonal pattern of infestation by the carob moth Ectomyelois ceratoniae in pomegranate cultivars. Crop Protection 102 (2017) 19e24
74. Groot A and Smadja C. 2017. Bioluminescent sexually selected traits as an enginefor biodiversity across animal species. Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology. doi:10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100008
73. Junker R, Kuppler J, Amo L, Blande J, Borges R, van Dam N, Dicke M, Dötterl S; Ehlers B, Etl F, Gershenzon J, Glinwood R, Gols R, Groot AT, Heil M, Hoffmeister M, Holopainen J, Jarau S, John L, Kessler A, Knudsen J, Kost C, Larue A-A, Leonhardt S, Lucas-Barbosa D, Majetic C, Menzel F, Parachnowitsch A, Pasquet R, Poelman E, Raguso R, Ruther J, Schiestl F, Schmitt T,Tholl D, Unsicker S, Verhulst N, Visser M, Weldegergis B, Koellner T. 2017. Co-variation and phenotypic integration in chemical communication displays: biosynthetic constraints and eco-evolutionary implications. New Phytologist, doi: 10.1111/nph.14505.
72. Haenniger S, Dumas P, Schöfl G, Gebauer-Jung S, Vogel H, Unbehend M, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2017. Genetic basis of allochronic differentiation in the fall armyworm. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17: 68 (DOI: 10.1186/s12862-017-0911-5)
71. Zizzari ZV, Engl T, Lorenz S, van Straalen NM., Ellers J, Groot AT. 2017. Love at first sniff: a spermatophore-associated pheromone mediates partner attraction in a collembolan species. Animal Behaviour 124: 121-127.
70. Staudacher H, Schimmel BCJ, Lamers MM, Wybouw N, Groot AT, Kant MR. 2017. Independent effects of a herbivore's bacterial symbionts on its performance and induced plant defences. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18: 182, doi:10.3390/ijms18010182.
69. Frerot B, Leppik E, Groot AT, Unbehend M, Holopainen JK. 2017. Chemical signatures in plant-insect interactions. In: Advances in Botanical Research 81: 139-167.2016
68. Hosseini SA, van Wijk M, Gao K, Goldansaz SH, Schal C, Groot AT. 2016. Experimental evidence for chemical mate guarding in a moth. Scientific Reports 6: 38567
67. Koutroumpa F, Groot AT, Dekker T, Heckel DG. 2016. Genetic mapping of male preference in the European corn borer identifies candidate genes affecting neurogenesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 113(42): E6401-E6408
66. Lievers R, Groot AT. 2016. Using disposable polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) coated fused silica optical fibers for sampling pheromones of moths. Plos One 11(8): e0161138.
65. Barthel A, Vogel H, Pauchet Y, Pauls G, Kunert G, Groot AT, Boland W, Heckel DG, Heidel-Fischer HM. 2016. Immune modulation enables a specialist insect to benefit from antibacterial properties. Nature communications 7: 12530. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12530
64. Groot AT, Unbehend M , Hänniger S, Juárez ML, Kost S, Heckel DG. 2016. Evolution of reproductive isolation of Spodoptera frugiperda . In Allison J & Cardé R (eds) Sexual communication in moths. Chapter 20: 291-300.
63. Staudacher H, Kaltenpoth M, Breeuwer JAJ, Menken SBJ, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2016. Variability of bacterial communities in the moth Heliothis virescens indicates transient association with the host. Plos One 11(5): e0154514.
62. Kost S, Heckel DG, Yoshido A, Marec F, Groot AT. 2016. A Z-linked sterility locus causes sexual abstinence in hybrid females and facilitates speciation in Spodoptera frugiperda. Evolution 70: 1418–1427
61. Groot AT, Dekker T, Heckel DG. 2016. The genetic basis of pheromone evolution in moths. Annual Review of Entomology 61:99–117.
60. Juárez ML, Ruiz MJ, Fernández P, Goane L,Villagrán ME, Arce O, Armiñana1 A, Páez Jerez PG, de la Vega MH, Vera MT, Groot AT. 2016. Communication interference in sympatrically occurring moth species. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 158: 25–33.
59. De Bruijn PJA, Egas M, Sabelis MW, Groot AT. 2016. Context-dependent alarm signalling in an insect. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 29: 665–671
58. Barthel A, Staudacher H, Schmaltz A, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2015. Sex-specific consequences of an induced immune response on reproduction in a moth. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15: 282
57. Schlager S, Beran F, Groot AT, Ulrichs C, Veit D, Paetz C, Karumuru BRM, Srinivasan R, Schreinder M, Mewis I. 2015. Pheromone blend analysis and cross-attraction among Maruca vitrata populations from Asia and West Africa. Journal of Chemical Ecology, in press.
56. Staudacher H, Menken SBJ, Groot AT. 2015. Effects of immune challenge on the oviposition strategy of a noctuid moth. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, in press.
55. Van Geffen K, Groot AT, Van Grunsven RHA, Donners M, Berendse F, Veenendaal E. 2015. Artificial night lighting disrupts sex pheromone in a noctuid moth Ecological Entomology 40: 401-408
54. Barthel A, Kopka I, Vogel H, Zipfel P, Heckel DG,Groot AT. 2014. Immune defence strategies of generalist and specialist insect herbivores. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 281, 20140897
53. Dúmenil C, Judd GJR, Bosch D, Baldessari M, Gemeno C, Groot AT. 2014. Intraspecific variation in female sex pheromone of the codling moth Cydia pomonella. Insects 5: 705-721.
52. Groot AT. 2014. Circadian rhythms of sexual activities in moths: a review. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, section Chemical Ecology, 2: 43.
51. Groot AT, Schöfl G, Inglis O, Donnerhacke S, Classen A, Schmalz A, Santangelo RG, Emerson J, Gould F, Schal C, Heckel DG. 2014. Within-population variability in a moth sex pheromone blend: genetic basis and behavioural consequences. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 218.
50. Henniges-Janssen K, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2014. Preference of diamondback moth larvae for novel and original host plant after host range expansion. Insects 5: 793-804
49. Juárez ML, Schöfl G, Vera MT, Vilardi JC, Murúa MG, Willink E, Hänniger S, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2014. Population structure of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) corn- and rice-host form in South America: Are they host races? Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 152: 182-199
48. Karpinski A, Haenniger S, Schoefl G, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2014. Host plant specialization in the generalist moth Heliothis virescens. Evolutionary Ecology 28:1075–1093
47. Xu J, Huigens ME, Orr D, Groot AT. 2014. Differential arrestment of Trichogramma wasps to extreme sex pheromone types of the noctuid moth Heliothis virescens. Ecological Entomology 39: 627–636.
46. Groot A.T., H. Staudacher, A. Barthel, O. Inglis, G. Schöfl, R.G. Santangelo, S. Gebauer-Jung S, H. Vogel, J. Emerson, C. Schal C, D.G. Heckel anf F. Gould. 2013. One quantitative trait locus for intra- and interspecific variation in a sex pheromone. Molecular Ecology 22: 1065–1080.
45. Unbehend M, Hänniger S, Vásquez GM, Juárez ML, Reisig D, McNeil JN, Meagher RL, Jenkins DA, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2013. Geographic variation in sexual attraction of Spodoptera frugiperda corn- and rice-strain males to pheromone lures. Plos One 9, e89255
44. Unbehend M, Hänniger S, Meagher RL, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2013. Pheromonal divergence between two strains of Spodoptera frugiperda. Journal of Chemical Ecology 39: 364-376.
43. Hagström AK, Liénard MA, Groot AT, Hedenström E, Löfstedt C. 2012. Semi–selective fatty acyl reductases from four heliothine moths influence the specific pheromone composition. PLoS One 7(5), e37230.
42. Juárez ML, Murúa MG, García MG, Ontivero M, Vera MT, Vilardi JC, Groot AT, Castagnaro AP, Gastaminza G, Willink E. 2012. Host association of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) corn and rice strains in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Journal of Economic Entomology, 105(2): 573-582.
41. Przybyłowicz T, Roessingh P, Groot AT, Biesmeijer K, Oostermeijer G, Chittka L, Gravendeel B. 2012. Possible chemical mimicry of the European lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus) . Contributions to Zoology 81: 103-110.
40. Groot AT, Classen A, Inglis O, Blanco CA, Lopez J Jr, Teran Vargas A, Schal C, Heckel DG, Schoefl G. 2011. Genetic differentiation across North America in the generalist moth Heliothis virescens and the specialist H. subflexa. Molecular Ecology 20: 2676-2692.
39. Henniges-Janssen K, Reineke A, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2011. Complex inheritance of larval adaptation in Plutella xylostella to a novel host plant. Heredity 107: 421-432.
38. Henniges-Janssen K, Schöfl G, Reineke A, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2011. Oviposition of diamondback moth in the presence and absence of a novel host plant. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 101, 99-105.
37. Schöfl G, Dill A, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2011. Allochronic separation vs. mate-choice: nonrandom patterns of mating between fall armyworm host-strains. American Naturalist, 177(4), 470-485
36. Terenius O, A Papanicolaou, J.S. Garbutt, I. Eleftherianos, H. Huvenne, S. Kanginakudru, M. Albrechtsen, C.J. An, J.L. Aymeric, A. Barthel, P. Bebas, K. Bitra, A. Bravo, F. Chevalieri, D.P. Collinge, C.M. Crava, R.A. Maagd, de, B. Duvic, M. Erlandson, I. Faye, G Felfoldi, H. Fujiwara, R. Futahashi, A.S. Gandhe, H.S. Gatehouse, L.N. Gatehouse, J.M. Giebultowicz, I. Gomez, C.J.P. Grimmelikhuijzen, A.T. Groot, F. Hauser, D.G. Heckel, D.D. Hegedus, S. Hrycaj, L.H. Huang, J.J. Hull, G. Iatrou, M Iga, M.R. Kanost, J. Kotwica, C.Y. Li, J.H. Li, J.S. Liu, SM Lundmark, S. Matsumoto, M. Meyering-Vos, P.J. Millichap, A. Monteiro, N. Mrinal, T Niimi, D. Nowara, A. Ohnishi, V. Oostra, K. Ozaki, M. Papakonstantinou, A. Popadic, M.V. Rajam, S. Saenko, R.M. Simpson, M. Soberon, M.R. Strand, S. Tomita, U. Toprak, P. Wang, C.W. Wee, S. Whyard, W.Q. Zhang, J. Nagaraju, R.H. Ffrench-Constant, S. Herrero, K. Gordon, L. Swelters & G. Smagghe (2011). RNA interference in Lepidoptera: An overview of successful and unsuccessful studies and implications for experimental design. Journal of Insect Physiology, 57(2), 231-245.
35. Blanco CA, Gould F, Groot AT, Abel CA, Hernandez G, Perera OP, Teran-Vargas AP. 2010. Offspring from sequential natings between Bacillus thuringiensis-resistant and Bacillus thuringiensis-susceptible Heliothis virescens moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 103, 801-808.
34. Gould F, Estock M, Hillier NK, Powell B, Groot AT, Ward CM, Emerson JL, Schal C, Vickers NJ. 2010. Sexual isolation of male moths explained by a single pheromone response QTL containing four receptor genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, 8660-8665.
33. Groot AT, Blanco CA, Claßen A, Inglis O, Santangelo RG, Lopez J, Heckel DG, Schal C. 2010. Variation in sexual communication of the tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens. Southwestern Entomologist, 35, 367-372.
32. Groot AT, Claßen A, Staudacher H, Schal C, Heckel DG. 2010. Phenotypic plasticity in sexual communication signal of a noctuid moth. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23, 2731-2738.
31. Groot AT, Marr M, Heckel DG, Schöfl G. 2010. The roles and interactions of reproductive isolation mechanisms in fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) host strains. Ecological Entomology, 35, 105-118.
30. Lassance JM, Groot AT, Liénard MA, Binu A, Borgwardt C, Andersson F, Hedenström E, Heckel DG, Löfstedt C. 2010. Allelic variation in a fatty-acyl reductase gene causes divergence in moth sex pheromones. Nature, 466, 486-489.
29. Olsson S, Kesevan S, Groot AT, Dekker T, Heckel DG, Hansson B. 2010. Ostrinia revisited: Evidence for sex linkage in European Corn Borer Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner) pheromone reception. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10.
28. Vogel H, Heidel A, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2010. Transcriptome analysis of the sex pheromone gland of the noctuid moth Heliothis virescens. BMC Genomics, 11, 29.
27. Blanco CA, Andow DA, Abel CA, Sumerford DV, Hernandez G, Lopez JD, Adams L, Groot AT, Leonard R, Parker R, Payne G, Pereira OP, Teran-Vargas AP, Azuara-Dominguez A. 2009. Bacillus thuringiensis CryAc resistance frequency in Tobacco Budworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 102(1), 381-387.
26. Blanco CA, Rojas MG, Groot AT, Morales-Ramos J, Abel CA. 2009. Size and chemical composition of Heliothis virescens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) spermatophores. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 102(4), 629-637.
25. Gould FL; Groot AT; Vasquez GM; Schal C. 2009. Sexual communication in Lepidoptera: a need for wedding genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology. In: Goldsmith MR; Marec F (Eds.): Molecular Biology and Genetics of the Lepidoptera. Taylor & Francis.
24. Groot AT, Estock ML, Horovitz JL, Hamilton J, Santangelo RG, Schal C, Gould F. 2009a. QTL analysis of sex pheromone blend differences between two closely related moths: insights into divergence in biosynthetic pathways. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 39: 568-577.
23. Groot AT, Inglis O, Bowdridge S, Santangelo RG, Blanco C, Lopez Jr J, Teran-Vargas A, Gould F, Schal C. 2009b. Geographic and temporal variation in moth chemical communication. Evolution 63: 1987-2003.
22. Schöfl G, Heckel DG, Groot AT. 2009. Time-shifted reproductive behaviours among fall armyworm (Noctuidae: Spodoptera frugiperda) host strains: Evidence for differing modes of inheritance. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22: 1447-1459.
21. Blanco C, Perera OP, Groot AT, Hernandez G, Teran-Vargas AP. 2008. Paternity allocation in a mutant Heliothis virescens colony. Southwestern Entomologist 33, 253-263
20. Groot AT, Marr M, Schöfl G, Lorenz S, Svatoš A, Heckel DG. 2008. Host strain specific sex pheromone variation in Spodoptera frugiperda. Frontiers in Zoology 5: 21
19. Groot AT, Santangelo RG, Ricci E, Brownie C, Gould F, Schal C. 2007. Differential attraction of Heliothis subflexa males to synthetic pheromone lures in Eastern US and Western Mexico. Journal of Chemical Ecology 33: 353-368.
18. Groot AT, Horovitz JL, Hamilton J, Santangelo RG, Schal C, Gould F. 2006. Experimental evidence for interspecific directional selection on moth pheromone communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103: 5858-5863
17. Sheck AL, Groot AT, Ward C, Gemeno C, Wang J, Gould F. 2006. Genetics of pheromone blend differences between Heliothis virescens and Heliothis subflexa: a chromosome mapping approach. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 19: 600-617.
16. Choi M-Y, Groot AT, Jurenka RA. 2005. Pheromone biosynthetic pathways in the moths Heliothis subflexa and Heliothis virescens. Archives Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 59: 53-58.
15. Groot AT, Fan Y, Brownie C, Jurenka RA, Gould F, Schal C. 2005. Effect of PBAN on pheromone production in mated Heliothis virescens and Heliothis subflexa females. Journal of Chemical Ecology 31: 15-28.
14. Groot AT, Gemeno C, Brownie C, Gould F, Schal C. 2005. Male and female antennal responses in Heliothis virescens and H. subflexa to conspecific and heterospecific sex pheromone compounds. Environmental Entomology 32:256-263.
13. Groot AT, Ward C, Wang J, Pokrzywa A, O'Brien J, Bennett J, J. Kelly, R.G. Santangelo, C. Schal & F. Gould. 2004. Introgressing pheromone QTL between species: towards and evolutionary understanding of differentiation in sexual communication. Journal of Chemical Ecology 30: 2495-2514.
12. Drijfhout FP, Groot AT, van Beek TA, Visser JH. 2003. Mate location in the green capsid bug, Lygocoris pabulinus. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 106: 73-77.
11. Groot AT, Heijboer A, Visser JH, Dicke M. 2003. Oviposition preference of Lygocoris pabulinus (Het., Miridae) in relation to plants and conspecifics. Journal of Applied Entomology 127: 65-71
10. Drijfhout FP, Groot AT, Posthumus MA, van Beek TA, de Groot AE. 2002. Coupled gas chromatographic-electroantennographic responses of Lygocoris pabulinus to female and male produced pheromones. Chemoecology 12: 113-118
9. Groot AT, Dicke M. 2002. Insect-resistant transgenic plants in a multitrophic context. The Plant Journal 31 (4): 387-406.
8. Drijfhout FP, Groot AT. 2001. Close-range attraction in Lygocoris pabulinus. Journal of Chemical Ecology 27: 1133-1149.
7. Groot AT, Dicke M. 2001. Transgenic crops in an agro-ecological context: multitrophic aspects of insect-resistant plants. Wageningen, Ponsen & Looyen. ISBN 90-6754-652-6. 76 pp.
6. Groot AT, Drijfhout FP, Heijboer A, van Beek TA, Visser JH. 2001. Disruption of sexual communication in the mirid bug Lygocoris pabulinus by hexyl butanoate. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 3: 49-55.
5. Groot AT, Visser JH. 2001. Influence of host plants on sexual communication in the herbivorous bug Lygocoris pabulinus. Chemoecology 11: 161-166.
4. Groot AT, Smid HM. 2000. Polyandry in Lygocoris pabulinus – effects on sexual communication and fecundity. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 38: 143-155.
3. Groot AT, Timmer R, Gort G, Lelyveld GP, Drijfhout FP, van Beek TA, Visser JH. 1999. Sex-related perception of insect and plant volatiles in Lygocoris pabulinus (L.). Journal of Chemical Ecology 25: 2357-2371.
2. Groot AT, van der Wal AJ, Schuurman A, Visser JH, Blommers LHM, van Beek TA. 1998. Copulation behaviour of Lygocoris pabulinus under laboratory conditions. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 88: 219-228.
1. Tuomisto H, Groot AT. 1995. Identification of the juveniles of some ferns from western Amazonia. American Fern Journal 85: 1-28.
Sexual attraction is the first step in determining who mates with whom. The evolution of sexual communication thus plays a pivotal role in the process of speciation. However, very little is known on the causes of initial divergence between populations in finding mating partners, and whether variation in sexual attraction can drive divergence between populations or whether such variation follows after populations have diverged due to ecological factors. Nocturnal moths are ideal animals to address this research question, because their communication channel is virtually all pheromonal, and the pheromone components are very well defined. Our research revolves around the following two major questions: I) what is the genetic basis of intraspecific variation in sexual communication, and II) what environmental factors may (have) cause(d) variation in sexual communication. Our research can be divided into six main areas.
Moth sexual pheromones are widely studied as a fine-tuned system of intraspecific sexual communication that reinforces interspecific reproductive isolation. The female signal is unimodal and exclusively chemical, produced in a well-defined gland, and readily quantified. The male behavioral response is robust and specific, and the well-studied pheromone sensory system serves as an important model for decoding olfactory preference in general. However, although female sex pheromones of >1,600 moth species have been identified, their evolution poses a dilemma: How can the female pheromone and male preference simultaneously change to create a new pattern of species-specific attraction? We aim to solve this puzzle by identifying the genes underlying intraspecific variation in signals (Lassance, Groot et al. 2010. Nature 466) and responses (Koutroumpa et al. 2016. PNAS 113) and to understand the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for their interspecific divergence. The methods we use are quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses to identify the genomic regions and candidate genes, and CRISRPR-cas9 to functionally characterize the candidate genes.
Postdoc project Arthur de Fouchier (funded by the Max Planck Society), PhD project Elise Fruitet (IMPRS fellow)
Plasticity in the sex pheromone composition in female moths can be expected, because females produce their pheromone de novo every night and in many moth species females can perceive their own pheromone compounds. We found plasticity in the sex pheromone of a noctuid moth (see Groot et al. 2010. J. Evol. Biol. 23). We currently aim to identify the level and extent of plasticity in moth sexual communication, and the underlying mechanisms.
PhD project Rik Lievers, funded by NWO-ALW (award nr. 822.01.012)
In animals, sexual attraction is essential to finding the right mating partner. In moths, sexual attraction is very well defined: females attract males from a distance with a species-specific sex pheromone. In addition, moths are one of the most diverse group of animals, with ~120.000 species, each having its own sexual communication channel. However, sexual selection may also act on moth signals that have hardly been studied at all: close-range attraction, whereby males emit a sex pheromone from elaborate glands (hairpencils). The male sex pheromone is likely used by males as a chemical “ornament” that allows females to choose among males, and/or it may function in male-male competition. To understand how this chemical diversity is generated, we aim to determine the role of male close-range pheromone in female choice and male-male competition, to develop evolutionary scenarios on how mutual mate choice contributes to speciation. Collaborative project with Coby Schal at NCSU
PhD project Naomi Zweerus, funded by NWO-ALW (award nr: ALWOP.2015.075 ), and postdoc project Michiel van Wijk, funded by NSF (award nr: nr IOS-1456973)
Most likely generalists are exposed and/or affected differently to stress factors in their larval life than specialists, as generalists may encounter a number of different environments. Possibly, stress factors early in life (i.e. in the larval stage) affect adult (sexual) behavior. We are exploring differential immune defense responses in the generalist Heliothis virescens and the specialist H. subflexa and possible effects on their sexual communication (see Barthel et al. 2016. Nat. Comm. in press). In addition, we are exploring the level and extent of parasite-mediated sexual selection in moths (specifically Helicoverpa armigera) and butterflies, in collaboration with Dr. Jacobus de Roode.
PhD project Gao Ke
Many moth species show specific daily rhythms in their sexual activities, some species being sexually active early at night while others are sexually active late at night. However, the genetic differentiation of this allochronic separation has not been examined in any species so far. We are investigating the genetic basis of allochronic differentiation in two strains of the noctuid moth Spodoptera frugiperda, and latitudinal and temporal variation in timing of sexual activities in the noctuid moth Helicoverpa armigera.
Postdoc project Sabine Haenniger and PhD project Gao Ke
Female moths need to find suitable host plants to lay their eggs on. Identification of the host plant odors that females use can help to develop pest management strategies specifically aimed to trap female moths. In collaboration with Dr. Hossein Goldansaz (University of Tehran), we aim to identify host plant odors to which females of the carob moth Ectomyelois ceratoniae are attracted.
Postdoc project Seyed Ali Hosseini
Master students (Jan - July 2018):
BSc students (Feb - June 2018):
If you are highly motivated, dedicated and eager to become involved in our research on the evolution of sexual attraction, please contact me at email@example.com. Highly motivated MSc students are always welcome, and I would very much like to help PhD students and postdocs in finding funding for a research position.
Dr. Pascaline Dumas - Postdoc at UvA from May 2014 – Aug 2015, now teacher
Dr. Fraz Hussain - Postdoc at UvA from Jan – Nov 2013
Dr. Jinzhu Xu - visiting postdoc at UvA from Guandong Academy of Forestry, Guanzhou, China from Feb - Aug 2012
Dr. Gerhard Schoefl - Postdoc at MPICE from Feb 2007 – Jul 2010, now at DKMS Life Science Lab
Camila Andrea Plata Corredor - Honorary MSc student at RUG, MSc student at Groot lab from Jan - July 2017
Natalie Niepoth - MSc student at UvA from Jan - July 2017, now PhD student at Columbia Univ
Melis Yalçin - ERASMUS student from Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, Turkey from June - Aug 2016
Estefania Velilla Perdomo - MSc student at UvA Feb 2014 – May 2015, now PhD student at Free University
Ernesto Villacis Perez - MSc student at UvA Jan – Dec 2014, now PhD student at UvA
Zoe Clement - international student from Agrocampus Ouest, France. Internship at UvA from Sept 2014 – Jan 2015
Claudia Melis - ERASMUS student Italy, at UvA Oct 2012 – Jan 2013
Ignaz van Hasselt - MSc student at UvA Feb– Oct 2013
Laila Kee - MSc student at UvA Feb 2013 – Jan 2014
Florian Winkler - MSc student at UvA April – Nov 2012
Claire Dumenil - MSc student at UvA March – Dec 2012, now PhD student at Cardiff Univ, UK
Orsi Decker – MSc student at UvA Jan – July 2012, now PhD student at La Trobe Univ, Melbourne, Australia
Tomasz Przybyłowicz – MSc student at UvA Sept 2011 – Mar 2012
Alex Huiberse – MSc student at UvA Sept 2011 – May 2012
Darina Hornicova - DAAD student from Czech Rep. at MPICE Sept – Nov 2011
Anne Karpinski – Diplom student at MPICE Oct. 2010 – Oct 2011, now Anne Bretschneider and at Syngenta
David Neunemann – Diplom student at MPICE June 2010 – June 2011, now PhD student at MPICE
Andrea Barthel – Diplom student at MPICE Feb 2009 – Jan 2010, now postdoc at MPICE
Alice Classen – Diplom student at MPICE Jan – Oct 2009, now postdoc at Wuerzburg Univ. Germany
Heike Staudacher – Diplom student at MPICE Dec 2008 – Sep 2009, just graduated
Melanie Marr – Diplom student at MPICE Feb – Nov. 2008, now Melanie Unbehend and postdoc at MPICE
Anja Dill – Diplom student at MPICE Dec 2007 – Oct 2008