Chemical Communication

  • 02 - 06 February 2020
  • Ede
  • Environmental Life Sciences
  • 1.5 ECTS


Chemical communication is one of the most abundant types of information exchange in life. Chemical signals or cues may be produced by macro-organisms or by their associated micro-organisms. Chemical communication can also be exploited by a third party such as a predator exploiting cues from its prey. Thus, chemical signals may be perceived by individuals of the same species or different species at different trophic levels, to make decisions on e.g. whether to hide or forage, to approach a sexual partner, to search for a resource or avoid a competitor or natural enemy. Chemical information may consist of individual compounds or complex mixtures. Responses to this information may be hardwired or phenotypically plastic. As a result, chemical communication and its exploitation shapes interactions between individuals, shapes population processes and structures communities. In the postgraduate course Chemical Communication we will focus on chemical information at different levels of biological organisation and pay attention at ecological processes and their underlying mechanisms, including production of chemical information and its perception. We will include microorganism, plants and animals, their interactions and consequences for community dynamics.

Course set-up

The course is composed of a poster session, a series of lectures, model demonstrations, and development of a research proposal in a group setting.

Lectures and discussion
Each day starts with two speakers giving a lecture on one of the key course topics, covering both the general theory and applied aspects. After each lecture, a discussion of 45 minutes is held, which is convened by participants who challenge the speaker on the presentation and papers that the speaker submitted (which participants will receive before the course).

Former occurrences of this course

2-6 Febr 2020