Hi, my name is Jan Heuschele and I’m currently a Postdoc at DTU Copenhagen in Denmark. Previously I studied how environmental change alters sexual selection in Helsinki, using eutrophication of breeding habitats of the threespine stickleback as a model system. I am generally interested in the population-level consequences of human induced environmental changes. Most people would agree that humans are altering the environment in an accelerating pace and on global scale. If you want to be able to predict the consequences of environmental change, you need knowledge about the ecological and evolutionary pathways. One process which can be influenced is communication between individuals of the same and also between different species.
At the moment I am studying the ecology and chemical composition of pheromones in copepods. Copepods live in the vast three-dimensional space of the open ocean. The habitat, the organisms’ size, and the fact that the number of potential mates is low and vary with season complicates mate finding for these organisms. They use chemical and hydro-chemical signals to find food and mating partners and to avoid predation. Several species use female pheromones to track and find mating partners. Chemical signals persist longer than hydro-mechanical signals that dissipate fast given the size of the animals and the physical properties of water for such small organisms. In copepods, males typically seek after the pheromone signals emitted by the females. If a male encounters an odour signal it typically starts to track down the emitting female at high speeds.