About this website

This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and aims to enhance awareness regarding the significant impact of insects on human societies and the environment, encompassing agriculture, disease transmission, and culture. The project makes use of the ETH Zurich Entomological Collection (EEC) to create interactive 3D scans of different insect species. Moreover, the project will comprise 10 captivating sections within numerous science stories that will be authored by field experts. Moreover, the SimplyScience Foundation, the primary partner of the project, will provide educational materials for Swiss schools, tailor complex scientific texts for the public, and offer translations into German. Updates about the project will be announced through our social media channels, and multiple contests will be held to amplify public engagement.

Our objectives:

1- Engage the Swiss public in dialogue about current insect science and conservation issues through web-based vignettes based on expertly curated content, cutting-edge imaging technologies, and interaction tools.

2- Highlight the importance of specific insects to Swiss society by describing their relevance for natural ecosystems, agriculture and the economy, human health, and the arts and culture.

3- Educate the Swiss public about the scientific and cultural value of natural history collections by sharing information and images taken from the EEC’s holdings and emphasizing biodiversity as a pillar of Switzerland’s natural heritage.

Biocommunication Research Group

The central conceptual focus of our research program is on biological communication and understanding how information transfer via cues and signals mediates interspecific ecological interactions. Our empirical work focuses primarily on the role of chemical signaling (especially volatile chemistry and olfaction) in mediating interactions among plants, insects, and microbes. To explore this topic we employ diverse research techniques ranging from molecular biology and analytical chemistry to behavioral and studies and field ecology. Our ultimate goal is to generate basic knowledge about the ecology and evolution of chemical signaling that also has practical relevance for pressing societal challenges, including sustainable food production, disease emergence and transmission, and ecological sustainability in the face of rapid environmental change.

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October 2022, Group photo of our laboratory

Entomological Collection

Our group also oversees the ETH Zürich Entomological Collection, which is one of the largest and most important insect collections in Central Europe, with more than 2,000,000 specimens, including more than 5000 type specimens. In addition to serving as a valuable resource for researchers from around the world, the collection is actively engaged in a wide range of educational and public outreach activities.


A small portion of our collection

SimplyScience Foundation

The SimplyScience Foundation is an initiative of scienceindustries, the Swiss business association for the chemical, pharmaceutical and life science industries, with around 250 members. The SimplyScience Foundation aims to promote an interest in science and technology among young people, and to inform them about educational and career opportunities in these fields. A dedicated website, www.simplyscience.ch, offers school students between the ages of 8 and 18 a wealth of information on science and technology. On the same website, teachers can find useful tips and teaching materials developed by the SimplyScience Foundation.

For this project, the SimplyScience Foundation supported the Biocommunication Research Group with content editing and the development of teaching materials. Questions can be sent to: alexandra.rosakis@simplyscience.ch 

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