Pheromones are usually species specific, i.e. only individuals belonging to one species understand them. This enables "tailor-designed" monitoring and suppression, which minimize effects on other, non-target, organisms. The most common suppression method is mating disruption (males are disturbed by synthetic female odour - sex pheromone - and no mating take place) and mass trapping with large number of traps.
Our research takes place in the laboratory and in the field and includes for instance
• Chemical analysis (GC and GC-MS)
• Electrophysiology (EAD, GC-EAD and GC-single cell)
• Molecular biology (mutagenesis, gene hunting by PCR based technique and 454 sequencing, heterologous expression in yeast and plant for functional assay)
• Behavioural assays (wind tunnel, walking bioassays, Y-tube test)
• Field experiments
The research group the Pheromone Group study how insects use pheromones (chemical signals like olfaction and taste) to find food, partner or egg laying site. We try to answer questions about how these signals work (morphology, physiology, behaviour and ecology), how they have evolved (evolution and genetics), and how they can be used for practical purposes, e.g., to suppress pest insects or census rare species.