Chemical Ecology is devoted to the study of the role of chemical signals that mediate the interactions between living organisms and their environment. Toxins, feeding deterrents, slippery leaf surfaces: Even if these chemical defense mechanisms in plants are effective, they do not provide permanent protection against pests. Often, herbivores and pathogens arise that are resistant to these chemical agents. During evolution, insects have evolved adaptive mechanisms in order to ensure nutrition and reproduction. The overarching goal of the research is to gain new insights into the development, behavior, reproduction, co-evolution, and diversity of the different life forms.
About 160 scientists are working in the institute. Their expertise is manifold: Methods in genetics, molecular biology, protein chemistry, ecology, analytics, synthesis and metabolic profiling are represented in the institute as well as neurobiology and behavioral studies. The institute has greenhouses, climate chambers, insect breeding facilities, odor detection systems, wind tunnels for behavioral assays, state-of-the art analytic facilities, and field stations.
Further Information is found at www.ice.mpg.de