Prof. Nicole van Dam

Prof. Nicole M. van Dam

Research focus


My aim is to unravel the chemical and molecular mechanisms governing multitrophic interactions associated with plants. I specifically focus on interactions between plant roots and belowground herbivores and how their interaction may affect aboveground organisms via induced plant responses. I use metabolomic and transcriptomic approaches as well as manipulative experiments to study these interactions in the greenhouse as well as in the field. Eventually my research will contribute to advance ecological-evolutionary theories on optimal defence allocation in plants.



Chemical ecology, plant-herbivore interactions, herbivore-induced plant responses, aboveground-belowground interactions, plant metabolomics, optimal defence theory



For my current research projects, see the main website of Molecular Interaction Ecology at iDiv

For my current research projects at Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, click here

Short CV


2014 - now      Head of the Molecular Interaction Ecology (MIE) research group at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig and full professor at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute for Ecology.

2014 - 2019     Professor in Molecular Interaction Ecology at Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Water and Wetland Research (IWWR), The Netherlands (0.2 fte)

2010 - 2014     Full professor Ecogenomics, Radboud Universtiy Nijmegen, IWWR, The Netherlands

2000 - 2009     Senior research scientists at Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO- KNAW), The Netherlands

1997 - 2000     Postdoctoral researcher at Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (MPI- CE), Jena, Germany

1995 - 1997     Postdoctoral researcher at the Entomology Department of the University of California, Riverside (UCR), USA

1990 - 1995     Ph.D. on the ecological role of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in Cynoglossum officinale at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

1984 - 1990     BSc and MSc in Biology at Wageningen University, NL

Selected publications


For an up-to-date list of my publications, see my Research ID

de Graaf RM, Krosse S, Swolfs AEM, te Brinke E, Prill N, Leimu R, van Galen PM, Wang Y, Aarts MGM, van Dam NM (2015) Isolation and identification of 4-α-rhamnosyloxy benzyl glucosinolate in Noccaea caerulescens showing intraspecific variation. Phytochemistry 110: 166-171. doi:

Macel M, de Vos CH, Jansen JJ, van der Putten WH, van Dam NM (2014) Novel chemistry of invasive plants: exotic species have more unique metabolomic profiles than native congeners. Ecology and Evolution, Open Access,

Mathur V, Tytgat TOG,  Hordijk CA, Harhangi HR,  Jansen JJ, Reddy AS, Harvey JA, Vet LEM, van Dam NM (2013) An ecogenomic analysis of herbivore induced plant volatiles in Brassica juncea. Molecular Ecology, 22, 6179–6196

Amo L, Jansen JJ, van Dam NM, Dicke M, Visser ME (2013) Birds exploit herbivore induced plant volatiles to locate herbivorous prey. Ecology Letters 16, 1348–1355

Tytgat TOG, Verhoeven KJF, Jansen JJ, Raaijmakers CE, Bakx-Schotman T, McInytre L, van der Putten WH, Biere A, van Dam NM (2013) Plants know where it hurts: Root and shoot jasmonic acid induction elicit differential responses in Brassica oleracea. PLoS ONE 8(6), e65502. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065502

Mathur V, Wagenaar R, Caissard J-C, Reddy AS, Vet LEM, Cortesero AM, van Dam NM (2013) A novel indirect defence in Brassicaceae: Structure and function of extrafloral nectaries in Brassica juncea. Plant Cell and Environment 36, 528-541.

Crespo E, Hordijk CA, De Graaf R, Cristescu SM, Harren FJM, van Dam NM (2012) On-line detection of root-induced volatiles in Brassica nigra plants infested by Delia radicum L. rootfly larvae. Phytochemistry 84, 68-77

Pierre PS, Dugravot S, Cortesero AM, Poinsot D, Raaijmakers, CE, Havanc HM, van Dam NM (2012) Broccoli and turnip plants display contrasting responses to belowground induction by Delia radicum infestation and phytohormone applications. Phytochemistry 73, 42-50

van Dam NM, Heil M (2011) Multitrophic interactions belowground and aboveground: en route to the next level. Journal of Ecology 99, 77-88

van Dam NM, Qiu BL, Hordijk CA, Vet LEM, Jansen JJ (2010) Identification of biologically relevant compounds aboveground and belowground induced volatile blends. Journal of Chemical Ecology 36, 1006-1016

van Dam NM (2009) Belowground Herbivory and Plant Defenses. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 40, 373-391



Adam, N., Kallenbach, M., Meldau, S., Veit, D., van Dam, N. M., Baldwin, I. T., Schuman, M. C.

Functional variation in a key defense gene structures herbivore communities and alters plant performance Plos One 13(6), e0197221

Calf, O. W., Huber, H., Peters, J. L., Weinhold, A., Poeschl, Y., van Dam, N. M.

Gastropods and Insects Prefer Different Solanum dulcamara Chemotypes Journal of Chemical Ecology (in press),

Calf, O. W., Huber, H., Peters, J. L., Weinhold, A., van Dam, N. M.

Glycoalkaloid composition explains variation in slug resistance in Solanum dulcamara Oecologia 187(2), 495-506

Ferlian, O., Biere, A., Bonfante, P., Buscot, F., Eisenhauer, N., Fernandez, I., Hause, B., Herrmann, S., Krajinski-Barth, F., Meier, I. C., Pozo, M. J., Rasmann, S., Rillig, M. C., Tarkka, M. T., van Dam, N. M., Wagg, C., Martinez-Medina, A.

Growing Research Networks on Mycorrhizae for Mutual Benefits Trends in Plant Science (in press),

Gols, R., van Dam, N. M., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Raaijmakers, C. E., Bullock, J. M., Harvey, J. A.

Seasonal and herbivore-induced dynamics of foliar glucosinolates in wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) Chemoecology 28(3), 77-89

Huang, J., Hammerbacher, A., Weinhold, A., Reichelt, M., Gleixner, G., Behrendt, T., van Dam, N. M., Sala, A., Gershenzon, J., Trumbore, S., Hartmann, H.

Eyes on the future – evidence for trade-offs between growth, storage and defense in Norway spruce New Phytologist (in press),

Papadopoulou, G. V., Maedicke, A., Grosser, K., van Dam, N. M., Martínez-Medina, A.

Defence Signalling Marker Gene Responses to Hormonal Elicitation differ between Roots and Shoots AoB PLANTS 10(3),

Peters, K., Worrich, A., Weinhold, A., Alka, O., Balcke, G., Birkemeyer, C., Bruelheide, H., Calf, O. W., Dietz, S., Duhrkop, K., Gaquerel, E., Heinig, U., Kucklich, M., Macel, M., Muller, C., Poeschl, Y., Pohnert, G., Ristok, C., Rodriguez, V. M., Ruttkies, C., Schuman, M., Schweiger, R., Shahaf, N., Steinbeck, C., Tortosa, M., Treutler, H., Ueberschaar, N., Velasco, P., Weiss, B. M., Widdig, A., Neumann, S., van Dam, N. M.

Current Challenges in Plant Eco-Metabolomics International Journal of Molecular Sciences 19(5),

Tsunoda, T., Grosser, K., van Dam, N. M.

Locally and systemically induced glucosinolates follow optimal defence allocation theory upon root herbivory Functional Ecology (in press),

Visschers, I. G. S., van Dam, N. M., Peters, J. L.

An objective high‐throughput screening method for thrips damage quantitation using Ilastik and ImageJ Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 166(6), 508-15

Danner, H., Desurmont, G. A., Cristescu, S. M., van Dam, N. M.

Herbivore-induced plant volatiles accurately predict history of coexistence, diet breadth, and feeding mode of herbivores New Phytologist (in press),

Grosser, K., van Dam, N. M.

A Straightforward Method for Glucosinolate Extraction and Analysis with High-pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) JoVE 121(e55425),

Junker, R. R., Kuppler, J., Amo, L., Blande, J. D., Borges, R. M., van Dam, N. M., Dicke, M., Dötterl, S., Ehlers, B. K., Etl, F., et al.

Covariation and phenotypic integration in chemical communication displays: biosynthetic constraints and eco-evolutionary implications New Phytologist (in press),

Macel, M., Dostalek, T., Esch, S., Bucharova, A., van Dam, N. M., Tielborger, K., Verhoeven, K. J. F., Munzbergova, Z.

Evolutionary responses to climate change in a range expanding plant Oecologia 184(2), 543-54

Macel, M., van Dam, N. M.

Metabolomics of Plant Resistance to Insects In: C. Emani (Eds.) The Biology of Plant-Insect Interactions: A Compendium for the Plant Biotechnologist CRC Press, Boca Raton, p. 129-49

Papadopoulou, G. V., van Dam, N. M.

Mechanisms and ecological implications of plant-mediated interactions between belowground and aboveground insect herbivores Ecological Research 32(1), 13-26

Pappas, M. L., Broekgaarden, C., Broufas, G. D., Kant, M. R., Messelink, G. J., Steppuhn, A., Wäckers, F., van Dam, N. M.

Induced plant defences in biological control of arthropod pests: a double-edged sword Pest Management Science 73(9), 1780-88

Tsunoda, T., Krosse, S., van Dam, N. M.

Root and shoot glucosinolate allocation patterns follow optimal defence allocation theory Journal of Ecology 105(5), 1256-66

Tsunoda, T., van Dam, N. M.

Root chemical traits and their roles in belowground biotic interactions Pedobiologia 65, 58-67

Hol, W. H. G., Raaijmakers, C. E., Mons, I., Meyer, K. M., van Dam, N. M.

Root-Lesion Nematodes Suppress Cabbage Aphid Population Development by Reducing Aphid Daily Reproduction Frontiers in Plant Science 7, 111

Lortzing, T., Calf, O. W., Böhlke, M., Schwachtje, J., Kopka, J., Geuß, D., Kosanke, S., van Dam, N. M., Steppuhn, A.

Extrafloral nectar secretion from wounds of Solanum dulcamara Nature Plants 2, 16056

Martinez-Medina, A., Flors, V., Heil, M., Mauch-Mani, B., Pieterse, C. M. J., Pozo, M. J., Ton, J., van Dam, N. M.,

Recognizing Plant Defense Priming Trends in Plant Science 21(10), 818-22

Nguyen, D., D'Agostino, N., Tytgat, T. O. G., Sun, P., Lortzing, T., Visser, E. J. W., Cristescu, S. M., Steppuhn, A., Mariani, C., van Dam, N. M., Rieu, I.

Drought and flooding have distinct effects on herbivore-induced responses and resistance in Solanum dulcamara Plant, Cell & Environment 39(7), 1485-99

Nguyen, D., Rieu, I., Mariani, C., van Dam, N. M.

How plants handle multiple stresses: hormonal interactions underlying responses to abiotic stress and insect herbivory Plant Molecular Biology 91(6), 727-40

Paudel, J. R., Amirizian, A., Krosse, S., Giddings, J., Ismail, S. A. A., Xia, J., Gloer, J. B., van Dam, N. M., Bede, J. C.

Effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and nitrate fertilization on glucosinolate biosynthesis in mechanically damaged Arabidopsis plants BMC Plant Biology 16(1), 1-12

Pellissier, L., Moreira, X., Danner, H., Serrano, M., Salamin, N., van Dam, N. M., Rasmann, S.

The simultaneous inducibility of phytochemicals related to plant direct and indirect defences against herbivores is stronger at low elevation Journal of Ecology 104(4), 1116-25

Pineda, A., Pangesti, N., Soler, R., van Dam, N. M., van Loon, J. J. A., Dicke, M.

Negative impact of drought stress on a generalist leaf chewer and a phloem feeder is associated with, but not explained by an increase in herbivore-induced indole glucosinolates Environmental and Experimental Botany 123, 88-97

Schuman, M. C., van Dam, N. M., Beran, F., Harpole, W. S.

How does plant chemical diversity contribute to biodiversity at higher trophic levels? Current Opinion in Insect Science 14, 46-55

Shannon, R. W. R., Felix, A. E., Poppy, G. M., Newland, P. L., van Dam, N. M., Hanley, M. E.

Something in the air? The impact of volatiles on mollusc attack of oilseed rape seedlings Annals of Botany 117(6), 1073-82

van Dam, N. M., Bouwmeester, H. J.

Metabolomics in the Rhizosphere: Tapping into Belowground Chemical Communication Trends in Plant Science 21(3), 256-65

van Dam, N. M., Weinhold, A., Garbeva, P.

Calling in the Dark: The Role of Volatiles for Communication in the Rhizosphere In: Blande, D. J., Glinwood, R. (Eds.) Deciphering Chemical Language of Plant Communication Springer International Publishing, Cham, p. 175-210

Welte, C. U., de Graaf, R. M., van den Bosch, T. J. M., Op den Camp, H. J. M., van Dam, N. M., Jetten, M. S. M.

Plasmids from the gut microbiome of cabbage root fly larvae encode SaxA that catalyses the conversion of the plant toxin 2-phenylethyl isothiocyanate Environmental Microbiology 18(5), 1379-90

Ahuja, I., van Dam, N. M., Winge, P., Traelnes, M., Heydarova, A., Rohloff, J., Langaas, M., Bones, A. M.

Plant defence responses in oilseed rape MINELESS plants after attack by the cabbage moth Mamestra brassicae Journal of Experimental Botany 66(2), 579-92

Danner, H., Brown, P., Cator, E. A., Harren, F. J. M., van Dam, N. M., Cristescu, S. M.

Aboveground and Belowground Herbivores Synergistically Induce Volatile Organic Sulfur Compound Emissions from Shoots but Not from Roots Journal of Chemical Ecology 41(7), 631-40

de Graaf, R. M., Krosse, S., Swolfs, A. E. M., te Brinke, E., Prill, N., Leimu, R., van Galen, P. M., Wang, Y., Aarts, M. G. M., van Dam, N.

Isolation and identification of 4-alpha-rhamnosyloxy benzyl glucosinolate in Noccaea caerulescens showing intraspecific variation Phytochemistry 110, 166-71

Kergunteuil, A., Dugravot, S., Danner, H., van Dam, N. M., Cortesero, A.

Characterizing Volatiles and Attractiveness of Five Brassicaceous Plants with Potential for a ‘Push-Pull’ Strategy Toward the Cabbage Root Fly, Delia radicum Journal of Chemical Ecology 41(4), 330-339

Rivera-Vega, L. J., Krosse, S., de Graaf, R. M., Garvi, J., Garvi, R., van Dam, N. M.

Allelopathic effects of glucosinolate breakdown products in Hanza (Boscia senegalensis (Pers.) Lam.) processing waste water Frontiers in Plant Science 6, 532

Desurmont, G. A., Harvey, J., van Dam, N. M., Cristescu, S. M., Schiestl, F. P., Cozzolino, S., Anderson, P., Larsson, M. C., Kindlmann, P., Danner, H., Turlings, T. C. J.

Alien interference: disruption of infochemical networks by invasive insect herbivores Plant Cell and Environment 37(8), 1854-65

Macel, M., de Vos, R. C. H., Jansen, J. J., van der Putten, W. H., van Dam, N. M.

Novel chemistry of invasive plants: exotic species have more unique metabolomic profiles than native congeners Ecology and Evolution 4(13), 2777-86

Prill, N., Bullock, J. M., van Dam, N. M., Leimu, R.

Loss of heterosis and family-dependent inbreeding depression in plant performance and resistance against multiple herbivores under drought stress Journal of Ecology 102(6), 1497-1505
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Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

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