Karsten Mody



Lecturer / Research Associate 

TU Darmstadt 2012-

Assistant Professor (Oberassistent) ETH Zürich 2004-2012


University of Würzburg 2003-2004



ETH Zürich 2012

PhD thesis

University of Würzburg 2003


Diploma thesis

University of Würzburg 1998 

Reviewer for currently 63 journals


five national science foundations: 


Research interests
I’m fascinated by the diversity of life, and my research areas reflect my fascination for this diversity: intraspecific variation, interactions within and between trophic levels, community assembly, determinants and functions of bio-diversity. My research is predominated by arthropods and plants, although I also have a fondness for fish.

In my studies, I’m aiming at elucidating deter-minants of plant-herbivore interactions, the influence of environmental stress on plant and animal traits, determinants of distribution of plants and animals in natural and anthro-pogenically altered environments, and the role of biodiversity for ecosystem processes and services. In an applied context, I’m aiming at providing information for sustainable crop plant protection by plant- and environment-related pest management, and for development of measures to support biodiversity.

Research domains


Applied Entomology

Biodiversity and Conservation

Community Ecology

Ecosystem processes and services

Forest Ecology

Insect-plant interactions

Pest management

Urban ecology


Peer-reviewed journal articles

P40. Wehner K., Schäfer L., Blüthgen N., Mody K. 2020. Seed type, habitat and time of day influence post-dispersal seed removal in temperate ecosystems. PeerJ, 8, e8769.


P39. Alves-Silva E., Anjos D., Bächtold A., Lange D., Maruyama P. K., Del-Claro K., Mody K. 2020. To what extent is clearcutting vegetation detrimental to the interactions between ants and Bignoniaceae in a Brazilian savanna? Journal of Insect Conservation, 24, 103-114.


P38. Busch V., Klaus V.H., Schäfer D., Prati D., Boch S., Müller J., Chisté M., Mody K., Blüthgen N., Fischer M. 2019. Will I stay or will I go? Plant species‐specific response and tolerance to high land‐use intensity in temperate grassland ecosystems. Journal of Vegetation Science, 30, 674-686.

P37. Happe A.-K., Alins G., Blüthgen N., Boreux V., Bosch J., García D., Hambäck, P.A. Klein A.-M., Martínez-Sastre R., Miñarro M., Müller A.-K., Porcel M., Rodrigo A., Roquer-Beni L., Samnegård U., Tasin M., Mody K. 2019. Predatory arthropods in apple orchards across Europe: Responses to agricultural management, adjacent habitat, landscape composition and country. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 273, 141-150.

P36. Samnegård U., Alins G., Boreux V., Bosch J., García D., Happe A.-K., Klein A.-M., Miñarro M., Mody K., Porcel M., Rodrigo A., Roquer-Beni L., Tasin M., Hambäck P.A. 2019. Management trade-offs on ecosystem services in apple orchards across Europe: direct and indirect effects of organic production. Journal of Applied Ecology, 56, 802-811.

P35. Happe A.-K., Roquer-Beni L., Bosch J., Alins G., Mody K. 2018. Earwigs and woolly apple aphids in integrated and organic apple orchards: responses of a generalist predator and a pest prey to local and landscape factors. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 268, 44-51.

P34. Chisté M.N., Mody K., Kunz G., Gunczy J., Blüthgen N. 2018. Intensive land use drives small-scale homogenization of plant-and leafhopper communities and promotes generalists. Oecologia, 186, 529-540.


P33. Rousselin A., Bevacqua D., Sauge M.H., Lescourret F., Mody K., Jordan M.O. 2017.Harnessing the aphid life cycle to reduce insecticide reliance in apple and peach orchards. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 37, 38-49.


P32. Mody K., Collatz J., Bucharova A., Dorn S. 2017.  Crop cultivar affects performance of herbivore enemies and may trigger enhanced pest control by coaction of different parasitoid species. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 245, 74-82.


P31. Knuff A., Obermaier E., Mody K. 2017. Differential susceptibility and suitability of domestic and wild apple species for a florivorous weevil and its parasitoids. Journal of Applied Entomology, 141, 285-299.


P30. Bucharova A., Frenzel M., Mody K., Parepa M., Durka W., Bossdorf O. 2016. Plant ecotype affects interacting organisms across multiple trophic levels. Basic and Applied Ecology, 17, 688-695.

P29. Chisté M.N., Mody K., Gossner M.M., Simons N.K., Köhler G., Weisser W.W., Blüthgen N. 2016. Losers, winners and opportunists: how grassland land-use intensity affects orthopteran communities. Ecosphere, 7(11):e01545. 10.1002/ecs2.1545.

P28. Mangels J., Blüthgen N., Frank K., Grassein F., Hilpert A., Mody K. 2015. 

Tree species composition and harvest intensity affect herbivore density and leaf damage on beech, Fagus sylvatica, in different landscape contexts. PloS One 10: e0126140.

P27. Mody K., Collatz J., Dorn S. 2015. Plant genotype and the preference and performance of herbivores: cultivar affects apple resistance to the florivorous weevil Anthonomus pomorum. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 17, 337-346.

P26. Riedel J., Dorn S., Mody K. 2014. Assemblage composition of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) affected by tree diversity and density in native timber tree plantations on former tropical pasture. Myrmecological News 20, 113-127.

P25. Riedel J., Dorn S., Brand G., Barrios H., Mody K. 2013. Effects of ants on arthropod assemblages of a native timber tree in a tropical reforestation plantation. Journal of Applied Entomology 137, 418-428.

P24. Riedel J., Dorn S., Plath M., Potvin C., Mody K. 2013. Time matters: temporally changing effects of planting schemes and insecticide treatment on native timber tree performance on former pasture. Forest Ecology and Management 297, 49-56.

P23. Riedel J., Dorn S., Plath M., Mody K. 2013. Growth, herbivore distribution, and herbivore damage of timber trees in a tropical silvopastoral reforestation system. Annals of Forest Science 70, 75-86.

P22. Gutbrodt B., Dorn S., Mody K. 2012. Drought stress affects constitutive but not induced herbivore resistance in apple plants. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 6, 171-179.

P21. Gutbrodt B., Dorn S., Unsicker S.B., Mody K. 2012. Species-specific responses of herbivores to within-plant and environmentally mediated between-plant variability in plant chemistry. Chemoecology 22, 101-111.

P20. Mody K., Spoerndli C., Dorn S. 2012. How parasitoid sex ratio, size and emergence time are associated with fruit tree cultivar, within-orchard tree position and ants. Biological Control 60, 305-311.

P19. Plath M., Dorn S., Barrios H., Mody K. 2012. Diversity and composition of arboreal beetle assemblages in tropical pasture afforestations: effects of planting schemes and tree species identity. Biodiversity and Conservation 21, 3423-3444.

P18. Plath M., Dorn S., Riedel J., Barrios H., Mody K. 2012. Associational resistance and associational susceptibility: specialist herbivores show contrasting responses to tree stand diversification. Oecologia 169, 477-487.

P17. Gutbrodt B., Mody K., Dorn S. 2011. Drought changes plant chemistry and causes contrasting responses in lepidopteran herbivores. Oikos 120, 1732-1740.

P16. Gutbrodt B., Mody K., Wittwer R., Dorn, S. 2011. Within-plant distribution of induced resistance in apple seedlings: rapid acropetal and delayed basipetal responses. Planta 233, 1199-1207.

P15. Mody K., Spoerndli C., Dorn S. 2011. Within-orchard variability of the ecosystem service 'parasitism': effects of cultivars, ants and tree location. Basic and Applied Ecology 12, 456-465.

P14. Plath M., Mody K., Potvin C., Dorn S. 2011. Do multipurpose companion trees affect high value timber trees in a silvopastoral plantation system? Agroforestry Systems 81, 79-92.

P13. Plath M., Mody K., Potvin C., Dorn S. 2011. Establishment of native tropical timber trees in monoculture and mixed-species plantations: small-scale effects on tree performance and insect herbivory. Forest Ecology and Management 261, 741-750.

P12. Stoeckli S., Mody K., Dorn S., Kellerhals M. 2011. Association between herbivore resistance and fruit quality in apple. HortScience 46, 12-15.

P11. Uhlig M., Dorn S., Bachofen C., Vogel J., Mody K. 2011. Green alder as an important habitat of subalpine rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in the Urseren valley (canton Uri, Switzerland). Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft 84, 141-149.

P10. Mody K., Eichenberger D., Dorn S. 2009. Stress magnitude matters: different intensities of intermittent water stress produce non-monotonic resistance responses of host plants to insect herbivores. Ecological Entomology 34, 133-143.

P9. Stoeckli S., Mody K., Gessler C., Christen D., Dorn S. 2009. Quantitative trait locus mapping of resistance in apple to Cydia pomonella and Lyonetia clerkella and of two selected fruit traits. Annals of Applied Biology 154, 377-387.

P8. Stoeckli S., Mody K., Patocchi A., Kellerhals M., Dorn S. 2009. Rust mite resistance in apple assessed by quantitative trait loci analysis. Tree Genetics & Genomes 5, 257-267.

P7. Stoeckli S., Mody K., Dorn S. 2008. Aphis pomi (Hemiptera: Aphididae) population development, shoot characteristics, and antibiosis resistance in different apple genotypes. Journal of Economic Entomology 101, 1341-1348.

P6. Stoeckli S., Mody K., Dorn S. 2008. Influence of canopy aspect and height on codling moth (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) larval infestation in apple, and relationship between infestation and fruit size. Journal of Economic Entomology 101, 81-89.

P5. Stoeckli S., Mody K., Gessler C., Patocchi A., Jermini M., Dorn S. 2008. QTL analysis for aphid resistance and growth traits in apple. Tree Genetics & Genomes 4, 833-847.

P4. Mody K., Unsicker S.B., Linsenmair K.E. 2007. Fitness related diet-mixing by intraspecific host-plant-switching of specialist insect herbivores. Ecology 88, 1012-1020.

P3. Unsicker S.B., Mody K. 2005. Influence of tree species and compass bearing on insect folivory of nine common tree species in the West African savannah. Journal of Tropical Ecology 21, 227-231.

P2. Mody K., Linsenmair K.E. 2004. Plant-attracted ants affect arthropod community structure but not necessarily herbivory. Ecological Entomology 29, 217-225.

P1. Mody K., Linsenmair K.E. 2003. Finding its place in a competitive ant community: leaf fidelity of Camponotus sericeus. Insectes Sociaux 50, 191-198.

Miscellaneous: Book chapters and non-peer-reviewed publications


M10. Thiel T., Gaschler S., Mody K., Blüthgen N., Drossel B. 2019. Impact of herbivore preference on the benefit of plant trait variability. bioRxiv:670158.

M9. Mody K. 2013. Der Wildapfel – Nahrungsgrundlage und Lebensraum phytophager Arthropoden. LFW Wissen 73, 44-50.

M8. Mody K. 2010. Coleoptera. In: Konaté, S., Kampmann, D., (Eds.), Biodiversity Atlas of West Africa, Volume III: Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan, Frankfurt / Main, pp. 254-257.

M7. Mody K., Boutros, M., Linsenmair, K.E. 2010. Temporary savanna waters as habitat for a remarkably diverse fish fauna. In: Konaté, S., Kampmann, D., (Eds.), Biodiversity Atlas of West Africa, Volume III: Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan, Frankfurt / Main, pp. 230-231.

M6. Mody K., Stoeckli S., Gessler C., Dorn S. 2010. Apple resistance to arthropod herbivores: genetic basis and modification by environmental factors. IOBC/wprs Bulletin 54, 531-535.

M5. Stoeckli S., Mody K., Dorn S. Kellerhals, M. 2009. Schädlingsresistenz beim Apfel. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Obst- und Weinbau 145, 13-15.

M4. Mody K., Bardorz H.A., Linsenmair K.E. 2003. Organization of arthropod assemblages in individual African savanna trees. In: Basset, Y., Novotny, V., Miller, S.E., Kitching, R.L., (Eds.), Arthropods of Tropical Forests: Spatio-Temporal Dynamics and Resource Use in the Canopy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 198-212.

M3. Mody K., Linsenmair K.E. 2001. Variable plants, choosy herbivores & dominant ants: animal-plant-interactions and community structure. In: Zotz, G., Körner, C., (Eds.), The Functional Importance of Biodiversity. Parey Buchverlag Berlin, Basel, p. 303.

M2. Mody K. 2002. Ökologische Gemeinschaften und Verständnis von Biodiversität: Welche Faktoren strukturieren artenreiche Arthropodengemeinschaften? In: Korn, H., Feit, U., (Eds.), Treffpunkt Biologische Vielfalt II. Aktuelle Forschung im Rahmen des Übereinkommens über die biologische Vielfalt. Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, pp. 171-176.

M1. Mody K., Kost C., Linsenmair K.E. 2001. Determinants of small-scale mosaics of arthropod communities in natural and anthropogenically disturbed habitats. German Programme on Biodiversity and Global Change (Phase I, 2000-2004), Bonn, pp. 136-139.


Mody K. 2012. Plant resistance to arthropod herbivores: types and scales, determinants of variation, and consequences for plant-herbivore interactions. Habilitation thesis, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.


Mody K. 2003. Patterns of arthropod distribution and determinants of arthropod assemblage composition in a natural West African savannah. PhD thesis, Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology. University of Würzburg, Germany. http://opus.bibliothek.uni-wuerzburg.de/opus/volltexte/2003/620/.


Mody K. 1998. Arborikole Arthropodengemeinschaften der westafrikanischen Baumsavanne: Untersuchungen zur Strukturierung ökologischer Gemeinschaften. Diploma thesis, Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology. University of Würzburg, Germany.




B1|01, Room 258 

PD Dr. Karsten Mody

Fachbereich Biologie

Technische Universität Darmstadt

Schnittspahnstr. 3

D-64287 Darmstadt

 Research projects
in chronological order





  • Managing ecosystem services for fruit production in different European climates (EcoFruit): Functional importance of predator diversity and the role of response traits for pest control. Ecofruit & BiodivERsA - FACCE-JPI


P35, P36, P37





P29, P34, P38

  • The influence of combined drought and temperature stress on crop plant resistance to insect pests


  • Multitrophic interactions and arthropod diversity on crop cultivars and wild relatives: the influence of apple cultivar and species


P31, M9



  • Arthropod diversity and multitrophic interactions in a natural alpine environment: determinants of arthropod communities on green alder Alnus viridis




  • Exploiting beneficial insects and defensive plant traits to limit pest damage and support growth of native timber trees. ETH North-South Centre / RFPP


P23, P24, P25, P26

  • Sustainable agroforestry for carbon sequestration to improve small farmers’ livelihood in the tropics. ETH North-South Centre


P13, P14, P18, P19

  • Influence of drought stress and herbivory on direct and indirect plant resistance to insect herbivores


P10, P16, P17, P21, P22


  • Direct and indirect apple resistance to arthropod herbivores: genetic basis and modification by environmental factors


P5, P6, P7, P8, P9, P12, P15, P20, P27, P32, P33, M5, M6

  • Determinants of small-scale mosaics of arthropod communities in natural and anthropogenically disturbed habitats in West Africa. Comoé Research Station.


P1, P2, P3, P4, M1, M2, M3, M4, M8

  • Investigations on fish diversity of temporary savanna waters and small rainforest streams in Côte d’Ivoire / Ivory Coast

Publications and weblinks:

M7, FishBase, PlaneCatfish, ScotCat, Killifish, FAO ornamental fishes, Aquariofilia