Dr. Sharon Zytynska

Chair for Terrestrial Ecology

Department of Ecology and Ecosystemmanagement
Technische Universität München
Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2
D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan

Phone: +49.8161.71.4148
Fax:     +49.8161.71.4427
E-mail: sharon.zytynska[at]tum.de

Curriculum vitae

2011- present Postdoctoral researcher, Technische Universität München.
2010- 2011 Postdoctoral associate, The University of Manchester, UK
2010 PhD The genetics of species interactions in model and natural ecosystems, The University of Manchester, UK
2006 MSc Quantitative genetics and genome analysis, The University of Edinburgh, UK
2005 BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences with Zoology, The University of Edinburgh, UK

Research interest

I am broadly interested in how species interactions influence community structure and ecosystem function. My research aims to understand how within-species variation can alter interactions between species, and how these can vary across a changing environment. I currently study this using a crop plant - invertebrate - microbe system, to understand how interactions between plants and beneficial soil microbes, and aphids and their protective endosymbionts, are modified by interactions with other species and the abiotic environment.


Plant-microbe-invertebrate interactions

  • DFG grant (2018-2021)
    We study the impact of beneficial plant rhizobacteria on the suppression of aboveground aphid populations across varying abiotic and biotic environments.

Aphid secondary bacterial symbionts

  • British Ecological Society small research grant (2017-2018)
  • The Jena Experiment small investigation grant (2012)
    Aphid secondary bacterial symbionts can have wide ranging effects on the aphid host. We investigate how they can mediate interactions between the aphid and the surrounding plant community.

Tansy metacommunity genetics

  • DFG grant (2014-2018) PhD: Matthias Senft (TUM), Mary Clancy (HGMU)
    We study the metacommunity ecology of a plant-insect system using a combination of molecular and chemical ecology tools. The system involves the tansy plant (Tanacetum vulgare) and two specialised aphid species (Metopeurum fuscoviride and Macrosiphoniella tanacetaria).

Biocontrol of aphids on okra in Cameroon, West Africa

  • IITA PhD studentship (Akanksha Singh; 2012-2015)
    This project is funded by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. We investigate the role of multitrophic interactions on the biological control of Aphis gossypii on the vegetable crop okra (Abelmoschus esculentus).



Zytynska, S. E., Y. Guenay, S. Sturm, M. V. Clancy, M. Senft, J.-P. Schnitzler, S. Dilip Pophaly, C. Wurmser and W. W. Weisser. 2019. Effect of plant chemical variation and mutualistic ants on the local population genetic structure of an aphid herbivore. Journal of Animal Ecology 88:1089-1099. PDF

Zytynska, S. E. and S. T. Meyer. 2019. Effects of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes on the protective microbiome of insects – a review. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 167:2-13. PDF


Clancy, M. V., S. E. Zytynska, F. Moritz, M. Witting, P. Schmitt-Kopplin, W. W. Weisser and J. P. Schnitzler. 2018. Metabotype variation in a field population of tansy plants influences aphid host selection. Plant Cell and Environment 41:2791-2805. PDF

Mehrparvar, M., S. E. Zytynska, A. Balog and W. W. Weisser. 2018. Co-existence through mutualist-dependent reversal of competitive hierarchies. Ecology and Evolution 8:1247-1259. PDF

Senft, M., M. V. Clancy, W. W. Weisser, J.-P. Schnitzler and S. E. Zytynska. 2018. Additive effects of plant chemotype, mutualistic ants and predators on aphid performance and survival. Functional Ecology Accepted. PDF

Zytynska, S. E., I. Doerfler, M. M. Gossner, S. Sturm, W. W. Weisser and J. Müller. 2018. Minimal effects on genetic structuring of a fungus-dwelling saproxylic beetle after recolonisation of a restored forest. Journal of Applied Ecology 55:2933-2943. PDF


Rall, E., C. Bieling, S. Zytynska and D. Haase. 2017. Exploring city-wide patterns of cultural ecosystem service perceptions and use. Ecological Indicators 77:80-95. PDF

Senft, M., W. W. Weisser and S. E. Zytynska. 2017. Habitat variation, mutualism and predation shape the spatio-temporal dynamics of tansy aphids. Ecological Entomology 42:389-401. PDF

Singh, A., W. W. Weisser, R. Hanna, R. Houmgny and S. E. Zytynska. 2017. Reduce pests, enhance production: Benefits of intercropping at high densities for okra farmers in Cameroon. Pest Management Science DOI:10.1002/ps.4636. PDF


Bálint, J., S. Zytynska, R. Salamon, M. Mehrparvar, W. Weisser, O. Schmitz, K. Benedek and A. Balog. 2016. Intraspecific differences in plant chemotype determine the structure of arthropod food webs. Oecologia 180:797-807. PDF

Clancy, M. V., S. E. Zytynska, M. Senft, W. W. Weisser and J.-P. Schnitzler. 2016. Chemotypic variation in terpenes emitted from storage pools influences early aphid colonisation on tansy. Scientific Reports 6:38087. PDF

Gossner, M. M., J.-F. Struwe, S. Sturm, S. Max, M. Mccutcheon, W. W. Weisser and S. E. Zytynska. 2016. Searching for the Optimal Sampling Solution: Variation in Invertebrate Communities, Sample Condition and DNA Quality. PLoS ONE 11:e0148247. PDF

Singh, A., S. E. Zytynska, R. Hanna and W. W. Weisser. 2016. Ant attendance of the cotton aphid is beneficial for okra plants: deciphering multitrophic interactions. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 18:270-279. PDF

Zytynska, S. E., V. Jourdie, S. Naseeb, D. Delneri and R. F. Preziosi. 2016. Induced expression of defence-related genes in barley is specific to aphid genotype. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 117:672-685. PDF

Zytynska, S. E., S. T. Meyer, S. Sturm, W. Ullmann, M. Mehrparvar and W. W. Weisser. 2016. Secondary bacterial symbiont community in aphids responds to plant diversity. Oecologia 180:735-747. PDF

Zytynska, S. E. and W. W. Weisser. 2016. The effect of plant within-species variation on aphid ecology. Book chapter in Biology and ecology of aphids 152-170. Ed: Andreas Vilcinskas, Germany.

Zytynska, S. E. and W. W. Weisser. 2016. The natural occurrence of secondary bacterial symbionts in aphids. Ecological Entomology. Invited review. 41:13-26. PDF


Singh, A., J. Braun, E. Decker, S. Hans, A. Wagner, W. W. Weisser and S. E. Zytynska. 2014. Plant genetic variation mediates an indirect ecological effect between belowground earthworms and aboveground aphids. BMC Ecology 14:25. PDF

Rowntree, J. K., S. E. Zytynska, L. Frantz, B. Hurst, A. Johnson, and R. F. Preziosi. 2014. The genetics of indirect ecological effects - plant parasites and aphid herbivores. Frontiers in Genetics 5. PDF

Steinauer, K., S. Zytynska, W. W. Weisser, and N. Eisenhauer. 2014. Changes in plant community structure and soil biota along soil nitrate gradients in two deciduous forests. Pedobiologia 57:139-145. PDF

Zytynska, S. E., L. Frantz, B. Hurst, A. Johnson, R. F. Preziosi, and J. K. Rowntree. 2014. Host-plant genotypic diversity and community genetic interactions mediate aphid spatial distribution. Ecology and Evolution 4:121-131. PDF


Mehrparvar, M., S. E. Zytynska, and W. W. Weisser. 2013. Multiple cues for winged morph production in an aphid metacommunity. PLoS ONE 8:e58323. PDF

Zytynska, S. E. and R. F. Preziosi. 2013. Host preference of plant genotypes is altered by intraspecific competition in a phytophagous insect. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 7:349-357. PDF


Zytynska, S., M. Khudr, E. Harris, and R. Preziosi. 2012. Genetic effects of tank-forming bromeliads on the associated invertebrate community in a tropical forest ecosystem. Oecologia 170:467-475. PDF

Zytynska, S. E., M. F. Fay, and R. F. Preziosi. 2012. Comparing the use of leaf and cambium tissue in a single genetic study of tropical trees. Tree Genetics and Genomes 8:431-437. PDF


Zytynska, S. E., M. F. Fay, D. Penney, and R. F. Preziosi. 2011. Genetic variation in a tropical tree species influences the associated epiphytic plant and invertebrate communities in a complex forest ecosystem. Phil Trans R Soc B 366:1329-1336.

Zytynska, S. E. and R. F. Preziosi. 2011. Genetic interactions influence host preference and performance in a plant-insect system. Evolutionary Ecology 25:1321-1333.


Zytynska, S. E., S. Fleming, C. Tétard-Jones, M. A. Kertesz, and R. F. Preziosi. 2010. Community genetic interactions mediate indirect ecological effects between a parasitoid wasp and rhizobacteria. Ecology 91:1563-1568.


Shuker, D. M., A. J. Phillimore, M. N. Burton-Chellew, S. E. Hodge, and S. A. West. 2007. The quantitative genetic basis of polyandry in the parasitoid wasp, Nasonia vitripennis. Heredity 98:69-73.

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