RNDr. Martin Volf, Ph.D.

Job Position: Head of Laboratory - Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology

Contact details

Phone: +420 387775038
E-mail: volf@entu.cas.cz


I specialize on insect-plant relationships, evolution of plant defensive traits, and chemical ecology. In general, I am interested in insect-plant coevolution and factors driving diversification of insects and plants and evolution of plant defences.

I am interested in evolutionary trends in Ficus and Salix defences and their impact on herbivore community assembly. Both Ficus and Salix are key plant genera supporting large diversity of insects in tropical forests and temperate wetlands. Understanding evolution of their defences is thus crucial for understanding not only the evolution of host-plant defences in general but also for understanding the factors driving diversity and specialization of insect herbivores.

Furthermore, I am involved in projects examining latitudinal gradients of insect biodiversity. Mainly, we are trying to answer the question why are there more species of insect herbivores in tropical than temperate forests. To investigate this we sample canopy assemblages of key herbivore guilds using several techniques such as sampling from canopy cranes or cherry-pickers.


Curriculum vitae



2012 – 2016: Ph.D. in Entomology, University of South Bohemia. Honours (cum laude). Supervisor: prof. RNDr. Vojtěch Novotný CSc, Title: Specificity of insect-plant associations and their role in the formation of plant defenses and speciation

Date of defense: 12.10. 2016

2015: RNDr. in Zoology (an extension of a master degree), Supervisor: prof. RNDr. Vojtěch Novotný CSc, Title: Insect herbivores drive the loss of unique chemical defense in willows

2010 – 2012: M.Sc. in Zoology, University of South Bohemia. Honours. Awarded by the Dean's and the University President's prizes, Supervisor: M.Sc. Jan Hrček Ph.D. Title: The impact of deffensive host-plant traits on community structure of herbivorous insects on willows

2007 – 2010: B.Sc. in Biology, University of South Bohemia. Honours. Supervisor: M.Sc. Jan Hrček. Ph.D. Title: Community structure of leaf-chewing insect on willows

Professional Experience

2019 – present Group leader at Biology Center, Czech Academy of Sciences

2017 – 2019 Postdoc / Alexander von Humboldt fellow at German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (supervised by Nicole van Dam)

2017 Postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution (hosted by K. A. Teixeira)

2016 – 2017 Postdoctoral research scientist at Biology Center, Czech Academy of Sciences

2016 Predoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution (hosted by K. A. Teixeira)

2016 short term stay as a research assistant at Smithsonian Trop. Res. Inst. (hosted by Y. Basset)

2015 field team leader during two month stay at Tomakomai Experimental Forest, Hokkaido, Japan

2014 field team leader during three month stay at Tomakomai Experimental Forest, Hokkaido, Japan

2012 – 2016 Postgraduate fellowship at Biology Center, Czech Academy of Sciences

2011 one month research stay at University of Eastern Finland (hosted by R. Julkunen-Tiitto)

          two month research stay at University of Minnesota (hosted by J. Cavender-Bares)

Student supervision

Fabian Simon Klimm (internship at iDiv) 2018. HIPV manipulation by specialized herbivores.

Jan Kadlec (B.Sc. thesis, University of South Bohemia) 2014-present. Host-preference of willow associated gallers.

Martin Libra (M.Sc. thesis, University of South Bohemia), 2013-2015. Diversity of gall-inducing arthropods in two different host communities in temperate forests.

Markéta Tahadlová (B.Sc. thesis, cosupervisor with Jakub Těšitel, University of South Bohemia), 2013-2015. The interactions of hemiparasitic plants with invertebrate herbivores.


2018 - Research seminar in Ecology (University of Jena)

2016 - Field course in vertebrate and insect zoology (University of South Bohemia)

2015 - Field course in Alpine zoology (University of South Bohemia)

2014 - Practicals in insect systematics, Field courses in entomology and ecology (University of South Bohemia)

2013 - Field courses in entomology and ecology, Practicals in invertebrate biology (University of South Bohemia)

Prizes and Awards

2019 Humboldt Return Fellowship

2017 – Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers

2016 – 2nd place in the Vojtěch Jarošík´s prize for an excellent student publication in ecology; awarded by Czech Association for Ecology and Department of Ecology, Cahrles University.

2016 Prize of Czech Entomological Society and 1st prize for the best student talk about invertabrates at national conference in zoology, České Budějovice.

2013 Prize of Czech Entomological Society and 2nd prize for the best student talk at national conference in zoology, Olomouc.

Invited talks at Harvard University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, University of Turku, Hokkaido University, University of Ostrava, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, University of Copenhagen, University of Leipzig

Expert reviews for Botany, Current Opinion in Insect Science, Ecography, Ecological Entomology, Ecology, Ecology Letters, European Journal of Entomology, Journal of Chemical Ecology, Journal of Ecology, Plant Ecology


Total found: 25 records
Klimm F.S., Weinhold A., Volf M. (2020) Volatile production differs between oak leaves infested by leaf-miner Phyllonorycter harrisella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) and galler Neuroterus quercusbaccarum (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae). European Journal of Entomology 117 : 101-109.
DOI: 10.14411/eje.2020.011
Mottl O., Fibich P., Klimeš P., Volf M., Tropek R., Anderson-Teixeira K., Auga J., Blair T., Butterill P. T., Carscallen G., Gonzalez-Akre E., Goodman A., Kaman O., Lamarre G., Libra M., Losada M.E., Manumbor M., Miller S., Molem K., Nichols G., Plowman N., Redmond C. M., Seifert C. L., Vrána J., Weiblen G., Novotný V. (2020) Spatial covariance of herbivorous and predatory guilds of forest canopy arthropods along a latitudinal gradient. Ecology Letters 23 : 1499–1510.
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13579
Sam K., Koane B., Sam L., Mrázová A., Segar S. T., Volf M., Moos M., Šimek P., Sisol M., Novotný V. (2020) Insect herbivory and herbivores of Ficus species along a rain forest elevational gradient on Papua New Guinea. Biotropica 52 : 263-276.
DOI: 10.1111/btp.12741
Seifert C. L., Lamarre G., Volf M., Ré Jorge L., Miller S., Wagner D.L., Anderson-Teixeira K., Novotný V. (2020) Vertical stratification of a temperate forest caterpillar community in eastern North America. Oecologia 192 : 501-514.
DOI: 10.1007/s00442-019-04584-w
Seifert C. L., Volf M., Ré Jorge L., Abe T., Carscallen G., Drozd P., Kumar R., Lamarre G., Libra M., Losada M.E., Miller S., Murakami M., Nichols G., Pyszko P., Šigut M., Wagner D.L., Novotný V. (2020) Plant phylogeny drivers arboreal caterpillar assemblages across the Holartic. Ecology and Evolution 10 : 14137-14151.
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.7005
Volf M. (2020) Chemická diverzita rostlin – důsledek závodů ve zbrojení s býložravým hmyzem? Živa 4/2020 : 170-172.
Volf M., Laitila J., Kim J., Sam L., Sam K., Isua B., Sisol M., Wardhaugh C. W., Vejmělka F., Miller S., Weiblen G., Salminen J.-P., Novotný V., Segar S. T. (2020) Compound specific trends of chemical defence in Ficus along an elavational gradient reflect a complex selective landscape. Journal of Chemical Ecology 46 : 442-454.
DOI: 10.1007/s10886-020-01173-7
Volf M., Seifert C. L., Weinhold A., Holicová T., Uthe H., Alander E., Richter R., Salminen J.-P., Wirth C., van Dam N.M. (2020) Branch-localized induction promotes efficacy of volatile defences and herbivore predation in trees. Journal of Chemical Ecology in press :
Volf M., Wirth C., van Dam N.M. (2020) Localized defense induction in trees: a mosaic of leaf traits promoting variation in plant traits, predation, and communities of canopy arthropods? American Journal of Botany 107 : 1-4.
DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1457
Redmond C. M., Auga J., Gewa B., Segar S. T., Miller S., Molem K., Weiblen G., Butterill P. T., Maiyah G., Hood A.S.C., Volf M., Jorge L.R., Basset Y. F., Novotný V. (2019) High specialization and limited structural change in plant-herbivore networks along a successional chronosequence in tropical montane forest. Ecography 42 : 162-172.
DOI: 10.1111/ecog.03849
Segar S. T., Volf M., Sisol M., Pardikes N., Souto-Vilarós D. (2019) Chemical cues and genetic divergence in insects on plants: conceptual cross pollination between mutualistic and antagonistic systems. Current Opinion in Insect Science 32 : 83-90.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cois.2018.11.009
Volf M., Klimeš P., Lamarre G., Redmond C. M., Seifert C. L., Abe T., Auga J., Anderson-Teixeira K., Basset Y. F., Beckett S., Butterill P. T., Drozd P., Gonzalez-Akre E., Kaman O., Kamata N., Laird-Hopkins B., Libra M., Manumbor M., Miller S., Molem K., Mottl O., Murakami M., Nakaji T., Plowman N., Pyszko P., Šigut M., Šipoš J., Tropek R., Weiblen G., Novotný V. (2019) Quantitative assessment of plant-arthropod interactions in forest canopies: A plot-based approach. PLOS One 14 : e0222119.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222119
Volf M., Salminen J.-P., Segar S. T. (2019) Evolution of defences in large tropical plant genera: perspectives for exploring insects diversity in a tri-trophic context. Current Opinion in Insects Science 32 : 91-97.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cois.2018.12.005
Volf M. (2018) Differential Response of Herbivores to Plant Defence. In J.-M. Merillon and K. G. Ramawat [eds.], Co-Evolution of Secondary Metabolites, Reference Series in Phytochemistry 1-24. Springer International Publishing..
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-76887-8_38-1
Volf M., Holec M., Holcová D., Jaroš P., Hejda R., Drag L., Blízek J., Šebek P., Čížek L. (2018) Microhabitat mosaics are key to the survival of an endangered ground beetle (Carabus nitens) in its post-industrial refugia. Journal of Insect Conservation 22 : 321-328.
DOI: 10.1007/s10841-018-0064-x
Volf M., Segar S. T., Miller S. E., Isua B., Sisol M., Aubona G., Šimek P., Moos M., Laitila J., Kim J., Zima J., Rota J., Weiblen G. D., Wossa S., Salminen J.-P., Basset Y. F., Novotný V. (2018) Community structure of insect herbivores is driven by conservatism, escalation and divergence of defensive traits in Ficus. Ecology Letters 21 : 83-92.
DOI: 10.1111/ele.12875
Biranvand Amir, Nedvěd O., Shakarami Jahanshir, Fekrat Lida, Hamidi Elnaz, Volf M., Hanley Guy A. (2017) The ladybeetle community (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in north east of Iran. Baltic Journal of Coleopterology 17 : 49-67.
Segar S. T., Volf M., Isua B., Sisol M., Redmond C. M., Rosati M., Gewa B., Molem K., Dahl C. N., Holloway J., Basset Y. F., Miller S., Weiblen G., Salminen J.-P., Novotný V. (2017) Variably hungry caterpillars: predictive models and foliar chemistry suggest how to eat a rainforest Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284 : article number 20171803.
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1803
Segar S. T., Volf M., Zima J., Isua B., Sisol M., Sam L., Sam K., Souto-Vilarós D., Novotný V. (2017) Speciation in a keystone plant genus is driven by elevation: a case study in New Guinean Ficus. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30 : 512-523.
DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13020
Volf M., Kadlec Jan, Butterill P. T., Novotný V. (2017) Host phylogeny and nutrient content drive galler diversity and abundance on willows. Ecological Entomology 42 : 685-688.
DOI: DOI: 10.1111/een.12420

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Biology Centre CAS
Institute of Entomology
Branišovská 1160/31
370 05 České Budějovice

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