Dr Jan Hrček

Research Interests

I am interested in ecology of interactions between insects and their parasites and in processes which structure complex natural networks of these interactions. I want to build a bridge between field community ecology and typical laboratory experiments with single interactions to allow deep mechanistic understanding of complex food webs.

I have described caterpillar-parasitoid food webs from the rainforests of New Guinea, pioneered the use of molecular tools for parasitoid detection and identification in complex food webs and contributed to global analyses of insect specialisation and distribution of symbiotic bacteria. I’ve shown that symbiotic bacteria protect hosts against parasitoids and pathogens under natural field conditions.

Selected Publications

Hrček, J., McLean, A.H.C. & Godfray, H.C.J. (submitted) Symbionts modify interactions between insects and natural enemies in the field.
McLean, A.H.C., Parker, B.J., Hrček, J., Henry, L.M. & Godfray, H.C.J. (in press) Insect symbionts in food webs. Philosophical Transactions B
Hrček, J. & Godfray, H.C.J. (2015) What do molecular methods bring to host–parasitoid food webs? Trends in Parasitology, 31: 30-35.
Forister, M.L. et al. (2015) The global distribution of diet breadth in insect herbivores. PNAS, 112: 442-447.
Volf, M., Hrček, J., Julkunen-Tiitto, R. & Novotny, V. (2015) To each its own: differential response of specialist and generalist herbivores to plant defence in willows. Journal of Animal Ecology, 84: 1123–1132.
Hrček, J., Miller, S.E., Whitfield, J.B., Shima, H. & Novotny, V. (2013) Parasitism rate, parasitoid community composition and host specificity on exposed and semi-concealed caterpillars from a tropical rainforest. Oecologia, 173: 521–532.
Hrček, J., Miller, S.E., Quicke, D.L.J., & Smith, M.A. (2011) Molecular detection of trophic links in a complex insect host-parasitoid food web. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11: 786-794.