RNDr. Martin Volf, Ph.D.
Job Position: Head of Laboratory - Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology
I specialize on insect-plant relationships, evolution of plant defensive traits, and chemical ecology. Mainly, I am interested in roles that insect-plant coevolution plays in promoting the astonishing chemical diversity in plants.
My projects cover a spectrum from the genesis of chemical diversity at macroevolutionary scale, through intraspecific variability in plant chemistry along major ecological gradients, to temporal changes within individual plants. This combination of approaches allowed me to show that differential selection pressures result in differential evolutionary trends in plant specialized metabolites and generate various dimensions of their chemical diversity. My results point to the necessity of studying plant chemistry, insect communities, and abiotic conditions in an integrative way.
I am particularly interested in evolutionary trends in Ficus and Salix defences. Both Ficus and Salix are key plant genera supporting high diversity of insects in tropical forests and temperate wetlands. Understanding evolution of their specialized metabolites is thus crucial for understanding not only the evolution of plant chemical diversity but also for understanding the factors driving diversity and specialization of insect herbivores.
2012 – 2016: Ph.D. in Entomology, University of South Bohemia. Honours (cum laude). Supervisor: prof. Vojtěch Novotný, Title: Specificity of insect-plant associations and their role in the formation of plant defences and speciation
Date of defence: 12.10. 2016
2015: RNDr. in Zoology (an extension of a master degree), Supervisor: prof. Vojtěch Novotný, Title: Insect herbivores drive the loss of unique chemical defence 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: Dr. Jan Hrček Title: The impact of defensive 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
2019 – present Group leader at Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences
2017 – 2019 Postdoc / Alexander von Humboldt fellow at iDiv (supervised by Nicole van Dam)
2016 – 2017 Postdoctoral research scientist at Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences
2016 – 2017 Postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution (hosted by K. A. Teixeira)
2016 Predoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution (hosted by K. A. Teixeira)
2012 – 2016 Postgraduate fellowship at Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences
Supervision of Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows
Postdoc: Czech Academy of Sciences (CZ), 1 ongoing, Ph.D.: University of South Bohemia (CZ), 2 ongoing, PhD co-supervision: University of South Bohemia (CZ), 2 ongoing, M.Sc.: University of South Bohemia (CZ), 1 finished, M.Sc.: co-supervision: University of Leipzig (DE), 1 ongoing, M.Sc. internships: iDiv (DE), 2 finished
University of South Bohemia: Courses on Scientific reading and writing; main lecturer
University of South Bohemia: Field course in vertebrate and insect zoology, Field course in Alpine zoology, Practicals in insect systematics, Practicals in invertebrate biology; assistant lecturer
University of Jena: Research seminar in ecology; invited speaker
Awarded Grants and Fellowships
2020-2022 – Czech Science Foundation, Junior Research Grant, 20-10543Y, Why is there such high diversity of chemical defences: role of insect herbivory in promoting chemical diversity in willows
2020-2021 – Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and Czech Academy of Science, fellowship within the Programme for Research and Mobility Support of Young Researchers, MSM200962004, Diverge or converge: do harsh abiotic condition restrict divergence of defences in alpine willows?
2019-2020 – Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, AvH Return Fellowship
2017-2019 – Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, AvH Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers
2015 – University of South Bohemia, Faculty of Science, 103-016/2015/P, Evolutionary trends in host-plant defences and their impact on herbivore community assembly
Prizes and Awards
2020 – Josef Hlávka Award for Young Researchers of the Czech Academy of Science
2019 – A key-note talk in “Rising Star” category at the 7th Conference of the Czech Ecological Society, Olomouc
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, Charles University.
2016 – Prize of Czech Entomological Society and 1st prize for the best student talk about invertebrates 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.
Reviewer for research journals – 14 journals including Ecology Letters, Ecology, Ecography, Journal of Ecology, or Functional Ecology. Referee for student grant agencies at the University of South Bohemia (CZ) and Charles University (CZ)
I have published one book chapter and 22 peer-reviewed papers in IF journals (15 of them since 2018), including PNAS, Ecology Letters, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, or Journal of Animal Ecology. Citations: Web of Knowledge: 385 without self-citations (Hi=8, ResearcherID: O-4321-2017), Google Scholar: 533 (Hi=8).
VOLF, M., J.E. LAITILA, J. KIM … and S.T. SEGAR Compound specific trends of chemical defences in Ficus along an elevational gradient reflect a complex selective landscape. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 2020, 46, 442-454.
There are pronounced trends in plant specialized metabolites generated by changes in abiotic conditions and biotic interactions along elevational gradients. The nature of these trends strongly depends on the function of respective metabolites. We thus argue that studying plant chemistry, insect communities, and abiotic conditions in an integrative way is necessary to understand the drivers of plant chemical diversity.
VOLF, M., J.-P. SALMINEN, and S.T. SEGAR. Evolution of defences in large tropical plant genera: perspectives for exploring insect diversity in a tri-trophic context. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 2019, 32, 91-97.
We review how plant specialized metabolites govern insect-plant reciprocal interactions and diversification of the two groups. We show how differential selection pressures result in differential evolutionary trends in plant specialized metabolites and generate various dimensions of their chemical diversity.
VOLF, M., S.T. SEGAR, S.E. MILLER, B. ISUA, M. SISOL, G. AUBONA, P. ŠIMEK, M. MOOS, J. LAITILA, J. KIM, J. ZIMA, J. ROTA, G.D. WEIBLEN, S. WOSSA, J.-P. SALMINEN, Y. BASSET, V. NOVOTNY Community structure of insect herbivores is driven by conservatism, escalation and divergence of defensive traits in Ficus. Ecology Letters, 2018, 21, 83-92.
We demonstrate that herbivores with different levels of specialization respond to plant traits with various evolutionary histories. While generalists are affected by escalating defences, specialists are affected by divergent defences of their hosts. This supports differential evolutionary trends among plant defences and their diversity. The composition of herbivore communities and the nature of biotic selection agents in play thus affect the trajectories by which plant chemical diversity evolves.
VOLF, M., P. PYSZKO, T. ABE, M. LIBRA, N. KOTÁSKOVÁ, M. ŠIGUT, R. KUMAR, O. KAMAN, P.T. BUTTERILL, J. ŠIPOŠ, H. ABE, H. FUKUSHIMA, P. DROZD, N. KAMATA, M. MURAKAMI, V. NOVOTNY Phylogenetic composition of host plant communities drives plant-herbivore food web structure. Journal of Animal Ecology, 2017, 86, 556-565.
The phylogenetic composition of host plant communities plays a prominent role in determining insect specialization, food web structure, and diversity. We show that not all levels of host plant phylogeny are equal in their effect on structuring plant-herbivore food webs. Furthermore, the way how the interactions networks are structed by host phylogeny fundamentally differs depending on herbivore specialization.
VOLF, M., J. HRCEK, R. JULKUNEN-TIITTO, and V. NOVOTNY. To each its own: differential response of specialist and generalist herbivores to plant defence in willows. Journal of Animal Ecology, 2015, 84, 1123–1132.
Plants are involved in diffuse co-evolution with diverse insects. Here we show that it is essential to take this into account when interpreting the evolution of plant defenses. It is not the pressure by individual insect species but by their whole assemblages what drives the evolution of plant chemical defences. We show that assemblages of insects with various life-history traits respond to different plant defences. This differential response of herbivore assemblages to plant defences prevents plants from evolving a single, universally efficient, defence. Such trends promote the astonishing diversity of plant defences.
Advances in Ecology
University of South Bohemia
Practical writing and communication in biology
University of South Bohemia
Critical Reading in Ecology
University of South Bohemia
|Total found: 25 records
Volf M., Weinhold A.,
Seifert C. L.,
Holicová T., Uthe H., Alander E., Richter R., Salminen J.-P., Wirth C., van Dam N.M. (2021) Branch-localized induction promotes efficacy of volatile defences and herbivore predation in trees. Journal of Chemical Ecology
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
Klimeš P., Volf M.,
Tropek R., Anderson-Teixeira K., Auga J., Blair T.,
Butterill P. T., Carscallen G., Gonzalez-Akre E., Goodman A.,
Libra M., Losada M.E., Manumbor M., Miller S., Molem K., Nichols G.,
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
Sam K., Koane B.,
Segar S. T., Volf 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
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
Seifert C. L., Volf M.,
Ré Jorge L., Abe T., Carscallen G., Drozd P., Kumar R.,
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
Volf M. (2020) Chemická diverzita rostlin – důsledek závodů ve zbrojení s býložravým hmyzem? Živa
Volf M., Laitila J., Kim J.,
Sam K., Isua B., Sisol M.,
Wardhaugh C. W.,
Vejmělka F., Miller S., Weiblen G., Salminen J.-P.,
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
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
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
Segar S. T., Volf M., Sisol M.,
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
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.,
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
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
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..
Volf M., Holec M., Holcová D., Jaroš P., Hejda R.,
Drag L., Blízek J.,
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
Segar S. T., Miller S. E., Isua B., Sisol M., Aubona G.,
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
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
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
: article number 20171803.
Segar S. T., Volf M.,
Zima J., Isua B., Sisol M.,
Novotný V. (2017) Speciation in a keystone plant genus is driven by elevation: a case study in New Guinean Ficus. Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volf M., Kadlec Jan,
Butterill P. T.,
Novotný V. (2017) Host phylogeny and nutrient content drive galler diversity and abundance on willows. Ecological Entomology
DOI: DOI: 10.1111/een.12420