Dr. Robin Heinen

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: robin.heinen[at]tum.de

Curriculum vitae

11/2019- present Postdoctoral researcher, Lehrstuhl für Terrestrische Oekologie, Technische Universität München, Freising
10/2015- 09/2019 PhD researcher, Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Wageningen
Department of Plant Ecology and Natural Products, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, Leiden
09/2013- 08/2015 MSc student (Biology: Bio-interactions), Major thesis Virology dpt., Minor thesis Experimental Zoology dpt., Internship Entomology dpt. Wageningen University, Wageningen
09/2006- 12/2011 BSc student (Biology: Animal biology), Thesis Entomology dpt. Wageningen University, Wageningen

Research interest

  • Entomology
  • plant-herbivore interactions
  • host-parasitoid interactions
  • above-belowground ecology
  • soil-plant interactions
  • community ecology
  • urban ecology
  • climate change ecology

Current Projects

The effects of artificial light at night (ALAN) on plant defenses and plant-microbe and plant-insect interactions.
In this project, with a consortium of people from TUM, Helmholz Center, Leiden University and Glasgow University, we will investigate the ecological and physiological effects of artificial light at night on plants. Specifically, we will study how light pollution alters interactions between plants and mutualist and antagonist organisms.

Soil legacy effects on aboveground plant-insect interactions.
This PhD project was part of a larger consortium, funded by an NWO VICI grant awarded to Prof. Dr. T. M. Bezemer. In this project we studied the role of plant-mediated soil legacy effects (i.e., plant-soil feedbacks) on future plants, and their associated insect herbivores. My role was to specifically test how such soil legacy effects would alter plant defenses, and via this, insect herbivores(Heinen et al., 2018a). Our group efforts have brought us from glasshouse studies, to semi-natural common garden experiments to field experiments in a restored nature area in The Netherlands. We have shown that soil legacy effects can alter plant-herbivore interactions (Heinen et al., 2018b, 2019), and can do so in two ways. First, the soil microbiome can alter the way plants are able to defend themselves, through effects on the jasmonic acid pathway (Zhu et al., 2018). Second, we show that the microbes from the soil are taken up by the caterpillars directly from the soil and may affect insect herbivores via their role in the gut microbiome (Hannula et al., 2019).

Find the full version of my PhD dissertation here:




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