East meets West: Budapest brings chemoecologists together


Tentative program overview

12 Aug

13 Aug

14 Aug

15 Aug

16 Aug

17 Aug

18 Aug









Opening ceremony













Executive meeting of ISCE



Welcome reception

Medal Award lectures




cultural event



Business meeting and closing remarks









Gala dinner


Oral presentations will normally have a 15 min time allowance including discussion.
Plenary speakers, award lectures and keynote speakers will be allotted longer presentation periods.
Poster dimensions will be announced by end of May on the homepage.

Time schedule:

Registration / abstract submission started from: 4 January, 2018
PROLONGATION: Early bird registration rates applied until 10 March, 2018
Deadline for participant registration and abstract submission: 30 April, 2018
Acceptance notification to authors (“oral/poster”): 31 May, 2018
Program finalized: 1 July, 2018
Abstract book printed:
 10 August, 2018
Conference starts:
12 August, 2018
Conference finishes:
 18 August, 2018


The main conference and concert hall at Novotel Budapest City Hotel.

Discover the major sights of Budapest, through a guided sightseeing tour on new and comfortable buses. The tour will lead you along famous buildings and historical places of Budapest and you will take guided small walks on Heroes Square, Gellért Hill and Castle Hill. There will be an opportunity for visiting the Fishermen's Bastion and Matthias Church as well. Buses depart from the hotel and arrive early in the evening to the same place so you can take part on the cultural program as well.

Cultural event  - Chamber concert
You can enjoy a chamber concert by Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, one of Hungary’s most famous chamber orchestras. The Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1988 by violinist Miklós Szenthelyi (Artistic Director of Liszt Ferenc Music Academy) with excellent young musicians of the college. They had numerous tours to the U.S., Canada, Japan, India, South Korea, South America and almost every country in Europe. During the last decades the Virtuosi gave more than 50 tours on three continents and the number of their tour concerts exceeds 500.
The venue will be the historic building of Gymnasium St. Margaritae in Újbuda, easily accessible from the conference venue. A wonderful program in a magnificent venue!

Gala dinner
The gala dinner of the conference will take place on the ship Europe, the largest and most frequented event ship of Central Europe. We will take a cruise during the evening on the Danube, so we shall have an opportunity to enjoy the sights of the famous bridges of the city and watch the lighted Parliament, Castle Hill, the Academy building and many other great sights along the Danube. Guests arriving for the evening will be welcomed by finger food and welcome drinks then we shall have a four-course dinner, during which we can taste famous Hungarian wines as well. Dinner is followed by a Hungarian folk dance performance, after which anybody is welcome to learn a few folk dance steps as well. The ship will depart from and arrive to the Batthyány Square, which is in the city centre and relatively near to the conference venue.


Find below a list of offers to organize specific symposia which have been sent in from ISCE members and have been approved by the session committees within the framework of the four main sessions. If you want to know more about any symposium, pls contact the organizer(s) directly.

Presentations falling outside of the specific topics of the symposia are also most welcome in the general sessions!


Session 1: New chemical structures
Symposium title: Omics in chemical ecology
Organizers: Ales Svatos, Emmanuel Gaquerel

Correspondence: svatos@ice.mpg.de, emmanuel.gaquerel@cos.uni-heidelberg.de

Analytical methods are key for understanding of biosynthesis or site of production of semiochemicals. Novel global omics methods give researchers an important tool for unbiased search for biosynthetic precursors and key biosynthetic enzymes. Imaging methods give clear answers on the site of semiochemical production. Symposium will cover metabolomic, proteomic and transriptomic methods.


Session 1: New chemical structures
Symposium title: Invasions under the bark: chemical ecology of woodboring insects
Organizers: Steven J. Seybold, Gábor Szőcs
Correspondence: sjseybold@gmail.com, szocs.gabor@agrar.mta.hu

Scope and interest: Woodboring insects play a key role in forest and orchard ecosystems. Their primary ecological and economical impacts on host plants is in some cases amplified through landscape-level influence on the carbon cycle and interactions with climate change. Their highly unpredictable epidemology and capacity for invasion pose ever new challenges, and both features are governed by complex inter- and intraspecific chemical communication. Many of the representative taxa, typically ambrosia, bark, longhorned, and metallic woodboring beetles, as well as wood wasps, have been studied intensively, some from the inception of the discipline of chemical ecology, others only quite recently. New questions related to environmental stresses on plant hosts and naive habitats for herbivorous species prone to invasion have opened considerably new lines of research that provide better insights into the wonderful complexity of the channels of chemical communication that mediate the trophic interactions amongst trees, herbivores, and their predators and parasitoids. We encourage those of you who have recently conducted chemical ecological research on the traditional paradigms with this guild of insects, or have attempted to solve new upcoming problems from a fresh perspective to contribute to this symposium by submitting abstracts through the official webpage of ISCE2018 or by attending this session in Budapest.


Session 2: Interspecific relationships
Symposium title: Insect-microbe interactions
Organizer: Almuth Hammerbacher
Correspondence: almuth.hammerbacher@up.ac.za

Insects are associated with a plethora of microbial taxa, including beneficial partners, commensals and pathogens. These microbes influence trophic interactions between herbivores and their host plants in many different ways. These include protection against toxic host metabolites, manipulating host plant phenotypes for optimal exploitation, nutritional symbiosis and defence against natural enemies. Microbes within the host plant environment can also influence herbivore behaviour by either enhancing host susceptibility or resistance to herbivory using different mechanisms. Within this growing, interdisciplinary field, chemically mediated interactions between microbes and insects play a very prominent role.


Session 2: Interspecific relationships
Symposium title: Tibor Jermy's Legacy in insect-plant evolution
Organizer: Anurag Agrawal
Correspondence: aa337@cornell.edu

Tibor Jermy (1917 - 2014) had an illustrious career as an entomologist / chemical ecologist, with many lasting contributions. His recent passing as well as the venue of this ISCE meeting in his home makes it an excellent opportunity to reflect on Jermy’s contributions and how the field has progressed.  In particular, this proposed symposium builds off his classic 1984 paper: Evolution of insect/host plant relationships. American Naturalist, 124: 609-630 (cited nearly 500 times).  Yes, Jermy was a skeptic, and in this paper he pushed back against coevolution’s fashionability and laid out the necessary evidence to support the hypothesis. Right or wrong, Jermy’s paper was both clarifying and highly stimulating to studies of chemical ecology, especially those with a rigorous evolutionary approach.  More importantly, the recent explosion of phylogenetic methods and available phylogenies has catalyzed a tremendous amount of research and advances in the areas that Jermy discussed.  Below are my suggestions for a symposium honoring his legacy, and in particular focusing on evolutionary aspects of chemical ecology.  I would ask each speaker to read the classic paper and use it as a frame for presenting their original results.


Session 2: Interspecific relationships
Symposium title: Volatile-mediated microbe-plant interactions
Organizer: Birgit Piechulla
Correspondence: birgit.piechulla@uni-rostock.de

It is well established that microorganisms colonize other organisms, including plants and animals, and have the capability to produce a wealth of secondary metabolites, many of them with antibiotic potential or they may act as communication signals. These microbial bioactive compounds influence the host in various ways and to different extend, and defense responses are one of the first reactions observed in the host.

For a long time, small (volatile) microbial secondary metabolites have been overlooked in many interaction studies, but it was now unequivocally determined that they play important roles and have to be considered in organismal interactions. At present, more than 2000 small molecular weight compounds from ca. 1000 microbes are known (summarized in a database by Lemfack et al. 2017), but so far of only ca. 7% discrete mVOCs functions have been assigned to (Piechulla et al. 2017). Subsequently, special impetus is needed to explore the ultimative target(s) of discrete mVOCs as well as of complex mVOC bouquets in receiver organisms.


Session 2: Interspecific relationships
Symposium title: Semiochemistry of aphidophagous insects
Organizers: Gunda Thöming, Sándor Koczor

Correspondence: Gunda.Thoeming@nibio.no, koczor.sandor@agrar.mta.hu

Aphids (Sternorrhyncha: Aphidoidea) is a special taxonomic group within Hemiptera, in which several species are important agricultural pests. Therefore more comprehensive knowledge on the natural enemies of these insects is of key importance.

The aim of the symposium is to give an insight into current research in relation to the chemical ecology of aphidophagous insects, with the view of potential perspectives for future applications in agriculture.


Session 2: Interspecific relationships
Symposium title: Arthropod chemoreceptors
Organizers: Rob Mitchell, Martin Andersson
Correspondence: mitchellr@uwosh.edu, martin_n.andersson@biol.lu.se

Overview. We propose a symposium highlighting recent research on the chemoreceptor genes of insects and other arthropods.  These genes include the families of gustatory, odorant, and ionotropic receptors, which are the primary proteins by which arthropods detect olfactory and gustatory signals.  Thus, the evolution of these genes among species is directly linked to chemical ecology and ecological specialization.  Chemoreceptor gene sequences were first described from arthropods only in the past two decades, and until recently, research was tightly linked to model organisms such as Drosophila and mosquitoes.  However, increasingly affordable sequencing technologies have led to a flurry of research by scientists from around the globe, revealing the diversity and function of chemoreceptors across the insect orders, as well as the first reports from crustaceans, chelicerates, and myriapods.

Format. This symposium will include presentations of current research on chemoreceptors, with an emphasis on non-model species.  We have tentative commitments from speakers who study chemoreceptors of moths, flies, and beetles, and we have planned a keynote presentation on the evolution and origin of olfactory receptors among the most basal hexapod lineages.  Additional speakers will be selected from submitted talks.

Rationale. Recent ISCE meetings have included few or no avenues for presenting research on chemoreceptor biology.  The 2017 meeting included one symposium of “Ecological -omics”, while the 2015 meeting included “Chemical neuroecology”, and no relevant symposia were included at the 2016 meeting.  Given the rising tide of chemoreceptor research, coupled with the critical importance of arthropods to human societies and ecological systems, we believe it is appropriate and important to offer a symposium that directly addresses this sub-field of chemical ecology.  We are open to broadening the focus of the symposium to include submitted talks on chemoreceptors from other taxa, and talks on molecular chemoreception in general.  However, the invited schedule of speakers will be largely focused on the chemoreceptors of arthropods.


Session 2: Interspecific relationships
Symposium title: Ecology and evolution of toxins in vertebrate animals
Organizers: Veronika Bókony, Bálint Üveges
Correspondence: bokony.veronika@agrar.mta.hu, uveges.balint@agrar.mta.hu

Toxic chemicals, such as defensive poisons and predatory venoms, are widespread in the animal kingdom, and research on vertebrates in this regard has received increasing scientific interest in recent years. We propose a symposium that will showcase the recent advances in our understanding of how vertebrate toxins function in predator-prey interactions, allelopathy, and resistance to pathogens and parasites, and how various forms of environmental change affect the physiology, function, and evolution of these toxins. Also, we will discuss how the study of vertebrate toxins can aid conservation biology and the management of invasive species.


Session 2: Interspecific relationships
Symposium title: Metabolomics approaches in the Brassicaceae
Organizers: Torsten Meiners, Caroline Müller
Correspondence: Torsten.Meiners@julius-kuehn.de, caroline.mueller@uni-bielefeld.de

In basic and applied plant research, metabolomics approaches have taken a very strong position and provided novel insights into the biochemical composition of plants, their molecular organisation and the interactions between molecules and the environment. Metabolomics approaches are used nowadays in both ecological research as well as in applied fields like plant breeding. Plants of the Brassicaceae family represent a diverse group of plants, whose specialised metabolites are well characterised. For basic research, representatives of this family are very valuable due to their chemical diversity and the diversity of their relationships with the environment. The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana also contributes to the fact that species within the Brassicaceae are intensively studied to expand our knowledge of the molecular organisation of plants and to investigate the relationships between biochemical composition and phenotypes. Moreover, species within this family are of great economic importance, such as, for example, oilseed rape and other cabbage species. In this session, (eco-)metabolomics research on Brassicaceae and their interactions with the environment will be used to show how the latest metabolome analysis approaches, techniques and evaluation methods contribute to dealing with fundamental and applied chemical-ecological questions.


Session 3: Intraspecific relationships
Symposium title: Natural odor ‘scenes’
Organizer: Brian Smith
Correspondence: BrianHSmith@asu.edu

The use of natural sensory stimuli has transformed our understanding of neural encoding and computations in higher-order brain areas in vision and audition. Historically, statistics of natural olfactory stimuli have been difficult to characterize quantitatively. As a result, olfactory neuroscience continues to rely on synthetic sensory inputs using simpler odors without direct ethological relevance, or on natural odors that fail to capture the full statistical properties of natural odor scenes. Such olfactory stimlui might not evoke the full range of neural computations that comprise olfaction. Therefore, studies of behavior, neural coding and processing in the brain could benefit from analyses and use of the broader statistical properties of olfactory stimuli, including, for example, variance, skewness, kurtosis and the ‘shape’ of olfactory space. Such a quantitative deconstruction of the sensory input may help to more effectively and comprehensively drive behavior as well as olfactory circuits. For example, the stimulus dimensions that are most behaviorally relevant to the animal may be the ones that are most efficiently extracted by the olfactory system. Speakers will address the use of natural olfactory stimuli across a range of animal species, and they will discuss how the statistical properties of those stimuli, including dispersal in fluid media, affect how the odors are perceived and acted upon.


Session 3: Intraspecific relationships
Symposium title: Complementary or predominant role of non-chemical based communication and orientation of insects
Organizer: Zoltán Imrei
Correspondence: imrei.zoltan@agrar.mta.hu

Insect chemical communication has been in focus of the research for several decades, while the lack of knowledge in the fields of other communication channels like communication via different visual cues, vibration or other not yet studied ways may hamper the understanding the communication and orientation as a complex. Different type of key cues alone, in combination or in the right sequence might be essential to elicit a specific behavioral response, which requires the understanding of the possible channels for a successful research work.

The symposium would collect related studies of different interdisciplinary fields of physics, material science and others, which has a complementary value and insemination power to the research carried out by ISCE members and conference participants, hoping to result in new approaches of fundamental science and future practical applications.


Session 3: Intraspecific relationships
Symposium title: Chemical ecology of click beetles (Elateridae): practical applications and advances in the field
Organizer(s): Jacqueline Serrano, József Vuts
Correspondence: jserr005@ucr.edu, joci0617@gmail.com

Larvae of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae), also called wireworms, can cause serious damage to a wide range of crop plants by feeding on seedlings and roots. However, implementation of IPM strategies against wireworms has been hampered due to the technical difficulties of traditional detection and monitoring methods. Following intensive research efforts, pheromones for a number of elaterids are now elucidated. The use of pheromone-baited traps for the detection and monitoring of adults of the economically most important click beetles has become widespread, and is the main strategy currently used to implement integrated pest management in Western and Central Europe.

Catching males must usually be interpreted in terms of the behaviour of the females, thus adding to the complexity of that interpretation. However, as females directly determine the size of larval populations, traps capable of capturing females could provide more reliable data on the timing of oviposition and thereby contribute to more precise pest control decisions. The first development of such a plant-based attractive blend has recently been reported for Agriotes ustulatus, and research is underway in other pest species. The discovery that female-emitted pheromones can also be perceived by the producers opened up new avenues in the development of monitoring tools targeting females. The first demonstration of trapping females with pheromone-baited traps is now complemented by new studies on the interaction between pheromones and plant volatiles.

Recently, improvements in the isolation and identification of rhizosphere chemistry began to reveal root-wireworm interactions, accompanied by the application of robust bioassays, thereby paving the way towards the environmentally benign control of the damage-causing life stage, i.e., the larvae.

The use of pheromone-baited traps only emerged over the last 15 years as a new approach for determining the presence of rare saproxylic beetles. The identification of the pheromone of Elater ferrugineus enabled European countries to detect and, in some cases, map the range of this elusive and threatened elaterid species, which has a highly specialised, semiochemically governed relationship with its prey, another rare beetle. Finally, studies on click beetle pheromone chemistry prove to contribute to a better understanding of the taxonomy of the family, demonstrating the power of chemotaxonomy in unravelling phylogenetic relationships.


Session 4: Practical applications
Symposium title: Semiochemical application for invasive species
Organizers: Aijun Zhang, Jian Chen
Correspondence: Aijun.Zhang@ars.usda.gov

Invasive species often compete very successfully in new habitats. Because of lack of any natural predators/parasitoids or controls, they could displace native species and disrupt important ecosystem, possessing a great economic threat to agriculture, human health, and wildlife. Since invasive pest is fundamentally related to global trade, which keeps on growing, infestation detection and population monitoring tools for invasive species are urgently needed for pest management.

Semiochemicals from invasive species, e.g., brown marmorated stinkbug Halyomorpha halys, spotted wing drosophila Drosophila suzukii, Asian long-horned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, and red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, have been studied and identified. These semiochemicals have great potential for developing infestation detection/monitoring tools to help farmers/growers accurately delineate the infestations, allowing for timely pest management interventions. It will also provide opportunity to develop green and sustainable approaches, e.g., mass trapping, push-and pull, and attract-and-kill technologies, for control of these exotic pests, therefore, reducing conventional insecticide usage, and protecting our environment and ecosystem.


Session 4: Practical applications
Symposium title: Comparison of semiochemical control methods of pest insects
Organizer: Anat Zada-Byers
Correspondence: anatzada@volcani.agri.gov.il

There are three major control methods that use semiochemicals: (1) mating disruption, (2) mass trapping (including lure and kill) and (3) push-pull. Mating disruption spreads many lures in the field and attracts responding insects that waste time in finding the lures or are antennally adapted and disoriented. Mass trapping uses lures in traps that kill any responding insects. Lure and kill is similar to mass trapping but instead of a trap there is a fast acting insecticide. In the push-pull method, insects are repelled from host  resources (push) and attracted to traps (pull). In some cases only push is employed.

A comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of these control methods using semiochemicals is important so as to choose and refine a control strategy best suited for a particular pest insect. The symposium will focus on the theoretical and practical aspects regarding efficacy and costs of these control methods. Presentations can involve one or all of these methods and their pros and cons with various insect pests. Are there recommendations for preferring one or another method depending on the type of insect or its particular ecology? Presentations comparing several of these methods are  desired as well as practical examples that measure efficacy and costs.

The practical methods of semiochemical control comprise the basis for funding chemical ecology research, that is why they are so important for the continuation of studies in our field.


Session 4: Practical applications
Symposium title: Natural products for integrated pest management
Organizer: Junwei Zhu
Correspondence: Jerry.Zhu@ars.usda.gov

Although natural product for insect pest management is not a new concept, it has been widely and increasingly accepted by publics nowadays. Products from nature have been used to control pests in agricultural and urban settings since the early beginning of agriculture circa 8000 B.C. Natural products have played important roles either directly by controlling weeds, insects, plant pathogens and nematodes in the field, or indirectly as leads that have been used to create modern pesticides through chemical synthesis. Recently, natural products (repellents) have played critical roles against disease transmitted biting insects on human and animals. In this session, I would invite and collect (from the conference submission pool) 8-10 speakers including one keynote speaker to introduce the most recent and advanced discoveries of natural product-based semiochemicals including attractants, repellents and biopesticides, as well as their practical use in modern pest management.