Binz, Hellena

Hellena Binz                                                     
Scientific Assistent

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

since 2012               PhD-student in the group of Evolutionary Biology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
 2011 – 2012 PhD-student in the group of Ecosystem Analysis at University of Koblenz-Landau
2007 – 2010 Diploma in Biology, University of Würzburg, Thesis title: "Abundance, richness and composition of butterfly assemblages in creek, slope and ridge rainforest in the Pacific Lowlands of Costa Rica"
2004 – 2007 Prediploma in Biology, University of Karlsruhe


Working experience/other activities

11/2009 – 03/2010   Field work for the diploma thesis in Costa Rica
06/2008 – 10/2009 Working student, DFG Priority Project 1374, University of Würzburg, Germany
11/2008 – 01/2009 Practical training: Diversity of forest butterflies in gallery forests, Costa Rica
05/2008 – 09/2008 Practical training: Dietary analysis of the Montague’s harrier (Circus pygargus) on the Main-Frankonian Plaines, Bavaria
06/2006 – 09/2007  Working student, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, University of Karlsruhe (KIT)


Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft (DZG)
Society of Tropical Ecology (gtö)
Verein zur Förderung der Tropenstation La Gamba


Posters and Oral Presentations


Binz H., Foitzik S., Staab F. and Menzel F. Hierarchy-dependent non-consumptive effects in ants. 2nd GCE Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia. Talk
 09/2012 Binz H., Bucher R., Entling MH. and Menzel F. Antipredator behavior of the wood cricket Nemobius sylvestris varies among distinct spider species and their biological traits. 105th Annual Meeting of the DZG, Konstanz. Talk
02/2012   Binz H, Schulze CH & Linsenmair KE (2012) Effects of topography on forest butterfly assemblages in the Pacific Lowlands of Costa Rica. Poster presentation, Annual Conference of the Society of Tropical Ecology (gtö), University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany  
 09/2011 Binz H, Bucher R, Menzel F & Entling MH (2011) Do insects smell their enemies? Searching for non-consumptive effects. Poster presentation, 41st Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Switzerland and Austria (GfÖ), Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany




Research Interests

Trophic Interactions
Insect Ecology and Conservation
Ecosystem Services
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions
Tropical Biology 


Non-consumptive effects among spiders and insects  

Direct consumption is the main definition of predator-prey interactions. But prey can also be influenced by predation risk in bearing changes in morphology and behavior. Such non-consumptive effects (NCE) can affect mating, feeding and migration strategies of prey species and might therefore play important and distinct roles for ecosystem functions such as plant productivity, nutrient cycling and energy flux.  

Spiders are dominant predators in almost all terrestrial habitats and prey on a wide range of arthropods. Although they can elicit strong antipredator behaviour (APB) in both insects and other spiders, the mechanisms involved in the detection of predation risk (i.e., predator presence) have rarely been explored in terrestrial systems.
In 2011 we tested 21 potential prey species (insects and spiders) against the scent of 15 spider species and found strong APB of wood crickets (Nemobius sylvestris) on nursery web spiders (Pisaura mirabilis) and funnel web spiders (Agelena labyrinthica). But also black garden ants (Lasius niger) changed their activity in the former presence of the small wolf spider Aulonia albimana.  

With these three predator-prey combinations I will investigate how the presence of spider predators is detected by prey species using bioassays and analytical methods. Spider silk, feces, chemical footprints, and airborne volatile cues will be distinguished as pathways for predation risk detection. Further, mechanical and chemical cues of spider silk will be separated. I want to find out if predation risk is detected via tactile senses, olfaction and/or contact chemoreception. Finally, the substances involved in risk detection will be identified using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. The project involves a collaboration with Prof. Dr. Martin Entling and Roman Bucher, Ecosystem analysis, Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of Koblenz-Landau. (Link HP Landau: oekosystemanalyse/ forschung/non-consumptive-effects/non-consumptive effects)


Bucher R., Binz H., Menzel F. and Entling MH. Spider cues stimulate feeding, weight gain and survival of crickets. Ecol. Entomol. in press 

Binz, H., Foitzik, S. Staab, F., Menzel F. 2014. The chemistry of competition: exploitation of heterospecific cues depends on the dominance rank in the community. Animal Behaviour 94: 45-53

Binz H., Bucher R., Entling MH., Menzel F. (2013): Knowing the risk: Crickets distinguish between spider predators of different size and commonness. Ethology 119: 1-12

Bucher R, Binz H, Menzel F & Entling MH (2014): Effects of spider chemotactile cues on arthropod behavior. Journal of Insect Behaviour DOI 10.1007/s10905-014-9449-1