We are interested in natural products in the context of biotic interactions. These include defensive secretions, cuticular hydrocarbons, volatiles and secondary plant compounds. In addition, we study the role of nutrients, e.g. amino acids and fatty acids, as well as stable isotopes with trophic marker functions.
Most Oribatida (the ‘glandulate oribatid mites’) possess a pair of large exocrine oil glands which produce various compounds. These defensive secretions play a key role in predator-prey interactions in soil-food-webs. For the well-established model species Archegozetes longisetosus, we use controlled feeding experiments and chemical analyses of small molecules (terpenes, aromatics, hydrocarbons) and nutrients (fatty and amino acids) to unravel the causes of variation in compound compositon.