Welcome to the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

We investigate how organisms interact with chemical signals.

We do research in the lab to better understand interactions at a molecular level.

We do research in the glasshouse and in the field to better understand interactions and signals in their natural environment.

Photo: Anna Schroll

Training and international collaborations are key features of our work.

We believe diversity and inclusion leads to the best science.

Research News

When laying their eggs, female hawkmoths rather share a host plant with competitors in order to escape from parasitic wasps.

Removing the sugar component from a toxin in dandelion roots increases larval growth while simultaneously deterring the larvae from feeding.

Learned odors influence the moths' preferences for certain flowers and host plants. Olfactory sensory cells on the proboscis, on the other hand, play no role in learning.

Current News and Announcements


Beran, F.; Petschenka, G.: Sequestration of plant defense compounds by insects: From mechanisms to insect–plant coevolution. Annual Review of Entomology, pp. 163 - 180 (2022)
Keesey, I.; Hansson, B. S.: Neuroecology of alcohol preference in Drosophila. Annual Review of Entomology 67, pp. 261 - 279 (2022)
Zhang, J.; Raza, S. A. K.; Wei, Z.; Keesey, I.; Parker, A. L.; Feistel, F.; Chen, J.; Cassau, S.; Fandino, R. A.; Grosse-Wilde, E. et al.; Dong, S.; Kingsolver, J.; Gershenzon, J.; Knaden, M.; Hansson, B. S.: Competing beetles attract egg laying in a hawkmoth. Current Biology 32 (2022)


With the award of membership, CAS recognizes his outstanding research achievements and his commitment to the expansion of scientific cooperation between the Max Planck Society and CAS in China.
The biochemist and director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena has been elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences.
Sarah O'Connor to receive the 2022 Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products of the American Chemical Society.

Events and Seminars

Serguei Saavedra

to be announced
Jan 27, 2022 14:00
online via zoom

Ryohei Thomas Nakano

to be announced
Feb 23, 2022 14:00
Hybrid lecture (online via zoom & MPI-CE, A1.009 + A1.011)

IMPRS Symposium

Apr 6, 2022 - Apr 7, 2022

25th Anniversary of the Institute

Jun 1, 2022
Abbe Lecture Hall

25 Years - Institute Symposium and Alumni Event

Sep 29, 2022 - Sep 30, 2022
Abbe Lecture Hall
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