applied zoology / animal ecology


deutsche Version

Dr. Torsten Meiners

Angewandte Zoologie/Ökologie der Tiere
Haderslebener Str. 9
12163 Berlin
tel +49-30-8385-5910
fax +49-30-8385-3897

Life history traits





Chemical ecology of tritrophic systems. Functional effects of chemical diversity on arthropod interactions.

I am studying the effects of environmental (e.g., vegetation and habitat structural and chemical) complexity on arthropod interactions. The focus is on behavioural mechanisms in environment-mediated interactions and their consequences concerning the function of biotic interactions between herbivores and their natural enemies.

Induced plant defense signals in tritrophic systems.

Chemical signals play an important role in the plant’s defense against herbivores and can asttract higher trophic levels. I am interested in the function of induced compounds for the orientation of herbivores and their natural enemies, the temporal and spatial variability of induced defenses within and between plants, and how plants regulate the production of the induced volatiles.







Wäschke, N., Hardge, C., Hancock, C. Hilker, M., Obermaier, E., & Meiners T. (2014).

Habitats as Complex Odour Environments: How Does Plant Diversity Affect Herbivore and Parasitoid Orientation? PloS ONE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085152.





Büchel, K., Austel, N., Mayer, M., Gershenzon, J., Fenning, T. & Meiners, T. (2013). Smelling the tree and the forest - elm background odours affect egg parasitoid orientation to herbivore induced terpenoids. BioControl DOI: 10.1007/s10526-013-9544-9.

Hancock, C., Wäschke, N., Schumacher, U., Linsenmair, K.E., Meiners, T. & Obermaier, E. (2012). Fertilizer application decreases insect abundance on Plantago lanceolata – a large scale experiment in three geographic regions. Arthropod Plant Interactions 7:147-158.

Herbst, C., Wäschke, N., Barto, K.E., Arnold, S., Geuß, D., Halboth, I., Reschke, S., Sänger, J., Meiners, T., & Obermaier, E. (2013). Land use intensification in grasslands negatively affects herbivores and their parasitoid but not the host plant. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 147:269-281.

Meiners, T. & Peri, E. (2013). Chemical ecology of insect parasitoids: essential elements for developing effective biological control programmes. In: Wajnberg, E. & Colazza, S. (Eds.), Recent Advances in Chemical Ecology of Insect Parasitoids, Wiley-Blackwell, 37-63.

Morris, K.E., Buscot, F., Herbst, C., Meiners, T., Obermaier, E., Wäschke, N., Wubet, T. & Rillig, M.C. (2013). Land use and host neighbor identity effects on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal community composition. Biodiversity and Conservation. doi: 10.1007/s10531-013-0527-z.

Wäschke, N., Meiners, T. & Rostas, M. (2013). Foraging strategies of insect parasitoids in complex chemical environments. In: Wajnberg, E. & Colazza, S. (Eds.), Recent Advances in Chemical Ecology of Insect Parasitoids, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 193-224.



Buechel, K., McDowell, E., Nelson, W., Descour, A., Gershenzon, J., Hilker, M., Soderlund, C., Gang, D.R., Fenning, T. & Meiners, T. (2012). An elm EST database for identifying leaf beetle egg-induced defense genes. BMC Genomics 13:242.



Büchel, K., Malskies, S., Mayer, M., Fenning, T., Gershenzon, J., Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (2011). How plants give early herbivore alert: Volatile terpenoids emitted from elm attract egg parasitoids to plants laden with eggs of the elm leaf beetle. Basic & Appl. Ecol. 12: 403-412.

Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (2011). Plants and insect eggs: How do they affect each other? Phytochemistry 72: 1612–1623.

Voigt, C., Meiners, T., Ter Maat, A. & Leitner, S. (2011). Multisensory non-photoperiodic cue advances the onset of seasonal breeding in island canaries (Serinus canaria). J. Biol. Rhythms 26: 434-440.


Collatz, J., Fuhrmann, A., Selzer, P., Oehme, R.M., Hartel, K., Kimmig, P., Meiners, T., Mackenstedt, U. & Steidle J.L.M. (2010). Being a parasitoid of parasites: Host finding in the tick wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri (Howard) by reliable odours from mammals. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 134: 131-137.

Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (2010). How do plants "notice" attack by herbivorous arthropods? Biol. Rev. 85: 267-280.

Randlkofer, B., Obermaier, E., Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (2010). Vegetation complexity - the influence of plant species diversity and plant structures on plant chemical complexity and arthropods. Basic & Appl. Ecol. 11: 383–395.

Randlkofer, B., Obermaier, E., Casas, J. & Meiners, T. (2010). Connectivity counts - disentangling effects of vegetation structure elements on the searching movement of a parasitoid. Ecol. Entomol. 35: 446-455.


Randlkofer, B., Jordan, F., Mitesser, O., Meiners, T. & Obermaier, E.  (2009). Effects of vegetation density, height and connectivity on oviposition patterns of the leaf beetle Galeruca tanaceti L. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Entomol. Exp. Appl. 132: 134-146.


Fatouros, N.E., Dicke, M., Mumm, R., Meiners, T. & Hilker, M. (2008). Chemoecology of host foraging behaviour: infochemical-exploiting strategies used by foraging egg parasitoids. Behav. Ecol. 19: 677-689.

Obermaier, E., Heisswolf, A., Poethke, H.J., Randlkofer, B. & Meiners, T. (2008). Plant architecture and vegetation structure: Two ways for insect herbivores to escape parasitism. Europ. J. Entomol. 105: 233-240.

Schröder, R., Wurm, L., Varama, M., Meiners, T. & Hilker, M. (2008). Unusual mechanisms involved in learning of oviposition-induced host plant odours in an egg parasitoid? Anim. Behav. 75: 1423-1430.


Fernandez, P.C., Meiners, T., Björkmann, C. & Hilker, M. (2007). Electrophysiological responses of the blue willow leaf beetle, Phratora vulgatissima, to volatiles of different Salix viminalis genotypes. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 125: 157-164.

Randlkofer, B., Obermaier, E. & Meiners, T. (2007). Mother's choice of the oviposition site: balancing risk of egg parasitism and need of food supply for the progeny with an infochemical shelter? Chemoecology 17: 177-186.


Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (2006). Early herbivore alert: Insect eggs induce plant defense. J. Chem. Ecol. 32: 1379-1397.

Meiners, T., Hammer, B., Göbel, U.B. & Kahl, O. (2006). Determining the tick scutal index allows assessment of tick feeding duration and estimation of infection risk with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in a person bitten by an Ixodes ricinus nymph. Int. J. Med. Microbiol. 296 (S1): 103-107.

Meiners, T.,  Randlkofer, B. & Obermaier, E. (2006). Oviposition at low temperatures - late season negatively affects the leaf beetle Galeruca tanaceti (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) but not its specialised egg parasitoid Oomyzus galerucivorus. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). Europ. J. Entomol. 103: 765-770.

Obermaier, E., Heisswolf, A., Randlkofer, B. & Meiners, T. (2006). Enemies in low places – Insects avoid winter mortality and egg parasitism by modulating oviposition height. Bull. Entomol. Res. 96: 337-343.


Meiners, T., Hacker, N., Anderson, P. & Hilker, M. (2005). Response of the elm leaf beetle to host plants induced by oviposition and feeding: The infestation rate matters. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 115: 171-177.


Meiners T. & Obermaier E. (2004). Hide and seek on two spatial scales : plant structure differentially influences herbivore oviposition and host-finding of egg parasitoids. Basic & Appl. Ecol. 5: 87-94.


Meiners, T. & Hilker, M. (2003).  Chemical signalling between host plant and egg parasitoid of a galerucine leaf beetle. In Furth, D. (Ed.) Special topics in leaf beetle biology. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, pp. 227-241.

Meiners, T., Wäckers, F. & Lewis, W.J. (2003). Associative learning of complex odors in parasitoid host location. Chem. Senses 28: 231-236.

Olson, D.M., Rains, G.C., Meiners, T., Takasu, K., Tertuliano, M., Tumlinson, J.H., Wäckers, F.L. & Lewis, W.J. (2003). Parasitic wasps learn and report diverse chemicals with unique conditionable behaviors. Chem. Senses 28: 545-549.


Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (2002). Induction of plant responses towards oviposition and feeding of herbivorous arthropods: a comparison. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 104: 181-192.

Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (Eds.) (2002). Chemoecology of Insect Eggs and Egg Deposition. Blackwell Verlag, Berlin, 410 pp.

Hilker, M., Rohfritsch, O. & Meiners, T. (2002). The plant's response towards insect egg deposition. in: Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (Eds.) Chemoecology of Insect Eggs and Egg Deposition. Blackwell Verlag, Berlin, p. 205-233.

Meiners, T., Wäckers, F. & Lewis, J. (2002). The Effect of Molecule Structure on the Olfactory Discrimination by the Parasitoid Microplitis croceipes. Chem. Senses 27: 811-816.


Ruther, J. , Meiners, T. & Steidle, J.L.M. (2002). Rich in phenomena lacking in    terms - A classification of kairomones. Chemoecology 12: 161-167.


Wegener, R., Schulz, S., Meiners, T., Hadwich, K. & Hilker, M. (2001). Analysis of volatiles induced by oviposition of elm leaf beetle Xanthogaleruca luteola on Ulmus minor. J. Chem. Ecol. 27: 499-515.


Meiners, T. & Hilker, M.(2000): Induction of plant synomones by oviposition of a phytophagus insect. J. Chem. Ecol. 26:221-232.

Meiners, T., Westerhaus, C. & Hilker, M.(2000): Specificity of chemical cues used by a specialist egg parasitoid during host location. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 95: 151-159.

Rains, G.C., Meiners, T., Takasu, K., Olson, D.M., Lewis, W.J., Tumlinson, J.H. & Cardoza, Y. (2000). Development of a programmable whole-organism wasp sensor for monitoring crop conditions from volatile chemicals. ASAE Paper No. 003062 St. Josephs, MI: ASAE.


Hilker, M. & Meiners, T. (1999): Chemical cues mediating interactions between chrysomelids and parasitoids. In: Advances in Chrysomelidae Biology. M.L. Cox (ed.). pp.197-216.

Meiners, T. (1999): Chemical cues mediating interactions between chalcidoid egg parasitoids and their chrysomelid hosts. Doktorarbeit, Freie Universität Berlin.

Meiners, T., Köpf , A., Stein, C. & Hilker, M. (1997): Chemical signals mediating interactions between Galeruca tanaceti L. (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) and its egg parasitoid Oomyzus galerucivorus (Hedqvits)(Hymenoptera, Eulophidae). J. Insect Behav. 10: 523-539.

Meiners, T. & Hilker, M. (1997): Host location in Oomyzus gallerucae (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), an egg parasitoid of the elm leaf beetle Xanthogaleruca luteola (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Oecologia 112:87-93.

Meiners, T. (1994). Zur Bedeutung der präkopulativen Phase bei Zipfelkäfern. Diplomarbeit, Universität Würzburg.

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