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Welcome to Insect Chemical Ecology, Ethology and Evolution (IC-E3)

Chemical ecology is the study of how organisms perceive their surroundings through chemical senses, and the
adaptations that enable them to function in a specific chemosensory context. Our work is in an interdisciplinary
field of research. It incorporates aspects of ecology and evolutionary biology, ethology, neurobiology, physiology,
insect systematics and morphology, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, biomimetric engineering
and pest control.

Our goal

We want to understand how insects adapt olfactory-mediated behavior to a changing environment by phenotypic and geno-typic modulation, from individual adaptation to evolutionary change.

The knowledge of behaviorally active chemicals and their per-ception can be brought to application as safe and powerful tools to control and monitor insect populations.

In order to reach the goal we study the modulation of the insect response to chemical signals at physiological, behavioural and ecological time scales. Methods range from molecular biology to landscape scale manipulation of behaviour.

An initiative funded by
The Swedish Research Council for Environment (Vetenskaps-rådet), Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) and The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

Selected recent publications

McBride C, Baier F, Omondi BA, Spitzer S, Lutomiah J, Sang R, Ignell R, Vosshall L (2014). Evolution of mosquito preference for humans linked to an odorant receptor. Nature 515: 222-227.  doi:10.1038/nature13964

Anderson P, Anton S (2014). Experience-based modulation of behavioral responses to plant volatiles and other sensory cues in insect herbivores. Plant, Cell & Environment. doi:10.1111/pce.12342

Bengtsson JM, Gonzalez F, Cattaneo AM, Montagné N, Walker WB, Bengtsson M, Anfora G, Ignell R, Jacquin-Joly E, Witzgall P (2014). A predicted sex pheromone receptor of codling moth Cydia pomonella detects the plant volatile pear ester. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 2: 33.  doi:10.3389/fevo.2014.00033

Binyameen M, Jankuvova J, Blazenec M, Jakus R, Song L, Schlyter F, Andersson MN (2014). Co-localisation of insect olfactory sensory cells improves the discrimination of closely separated odour sources. Functional Ecology 28: 1216-1223 doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12252

Majeed S, Hill SR, Ignell R (2014). Impact of elevated CO2 background levels on the host-seeking behaviour of Aedes aegypti. The Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 598-604. doi:10.1242/jeb.092718

Siju K, Reifenrath A, Scheiblich H, Neupert S, Predel R, Hansson BS, Schachtner J, Ignell R (2014). Neuropeptides in the antennal lobe of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Journal of Comparative Neurology 522: 592–608. doi:10.1002/cne.23434

Kárpáti Z, Tasin M, Cardé RT, Dekker T (2013). Early quality assessment lessens pheromone specificity in a moth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110: 7377-7382. doi:10.1073/pnas.1216145110

Thöming G, Larsson MC, Hansson BS, Anderson P (2013). Comparison of plant preference hierarchies of male and female moths and the impact of larval rearing hosts. Ecology 94: 1744-1752. doi:10.1890/12-0907.1

Trona F, Anfora G, Balkenius A, Bengtsson M, Tasin M, Knight A, Janz N, Witzgall P, Ignell R (2013). Neural coding merges sex and habitat chemosensory signals in an insect herbivore. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280: 20130267. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.0267

In media


Foto: Anna Schroll


Bill S. Hansson new vice president of 

the Max Planck Society

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 Ylva Hillbur new Deputy General Director of

IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture)

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Magali Proffit wins the French-Swedish
Prize for Young Researchers 2012

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Tina Boddum
Gall midge olfaction and its role in speciation

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Saveer Ahmed
Olfactory system of female moths changes after mating

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Zakir Ali

Volatiles from damaged cotton affect both male and female moth behaviours

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The smart Fruitfly (in Swedish)

Pheromones - the good pesticides (in Swedish)


Myggforskning kan leda till nya bekämpningsmetoder
P1, Vetenskapsradion 13 november 2014

Fruktflugan avgörande för forskningen
P4, 12 september 2012

Hudbakterier avgör om malariamyggan biter
P1, Vetenskapsradion 30 december 2011

In the news

Angripna granplantor ger skydd mot bomullsfly
SLU 2012-11-06

Skyddar grödor med fängslande dofter

SLU 2012-06-14

Jästdofter styr global skadegörare
Notiser från SLU, oktober 2012, sid 2

Fruktflugans doftande paradis
SLU Resurs nr.5 2012, sid 17

Bed Bug Behavior - What Smell Can Tell

Noldus, March 1, 2012

Anti-Aphrodisiac Protects Young Bedbugs

ScienceDaily, Sep 8, 2010

Media archive >>>

IC-E3 was announced 2006-06-29 as one of 20 Linnaeus grants, covering natural science and medicine.
It covers 10 years, 2006–2016. The research is done within the Chemical Ecology Group at SLU Alnarp.










































© IC-E3, Updated 2014-11-19