Dr. Martin Heil


Dr. Martin Heil

Position: Researcher 3E, SNI III.

Telephone: +52 (462) 6239657


Plant Ecology Laboratory


<Dr. Plinio Guzman| Topics | Dra. Alba Jofre >



Research » Department of Genetic Engineering » Professors/Researchers » Dr. Heil Martin

Education & training

2004-2007  Full professor of General Botany, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
2001-2004  Head of a junior research group at Max-Planck-Institute of Chemical
                 Ecology, Jena, Germany
1999-2001  Postdoctoral stay at CEFE-CNRS in Montpellier, France
1997          Ph.D. in Biology, U. of Würzburg, Germany

Research interests

  • Insect-plant mutualisms
  • Costs of induced resistance
  • Indirect defence of plants to insect herbivores
  • Induced plant resistance to pathogens and herbivores
  • Extrafloral nectar and volatile-mediated plant-plant communication



In the press




Recent Publications


The pdf files of the articles can be found at:

  • Hernandez-Cumplido, J., Forter, B., Moreira, X., Heil, M. & Benrey, B. (2016) Induced floral and extrafloral nectar production affect ant-pollinator interactions and plant fitness. Biotropica publ. online. doi: 10.1111/btp.12283
  • Stenberg, J.A., Heil, M., Åhman, I. & Björkman, C. (2015) Optimizing crops for biocontrol of pests and disease. Trends Plant Sci. 20 (11), 698-712. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.08.007
  • Durán-Flores, D. & Heil, M. (2015) Growth inhibition by self-DNA: a phenomenon and its multiple explanations. New Phytol, 207 (3), 482-485. doi: 10.1111/nph.13542
  • Quintana-Rodriguez, E., Morales-Vargas, A.T., Molina-Torres, J., Ádame-Alvarez, R.M., Acosta-Gallegos, J.A., & Heil, M. (2015) Plant volatiles cause direct, induced and associational resistance in common bean to the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum lindemuthianum. J Ecol 103 (1), 250-260. doi: doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12340
  • Fischer, C., Lognay, G.C., Detrain, C. Heil, M., Grigorescu, A., Sabri, A., Thonart, P., Haubruge, E., Verheggen, F.J. (2015) Bacteria may enhace species association in an ant-aphid mutualistic relationship. Chemoecology, 25 (5) 223-232. doi: 10.1007/s00049-015-0188-3
  • Heil, M. (2015) Manipulators live better, but are they always parasites? Trends Plant Sci., 20 (9), 538-540. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.08.001
  • González-Teuber, M. & Heil, M. (2015) Comparative anatomy and physiology of myrmecophytes: ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Res. Rep. Biodiv. Stud. 4, 21-32. doi: 10.2147/RRBS.S60420
  • Heil, M. (2015) Extrafloral nectar at the plant-insect interface: a spotlight on chemical ecology, phenotypic plasticity, and food webs. Annu. Rev. Entomol.  60, 213-232. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-010814-020753
  • Moctezuma, C., Hammerbacher, A., Heil, M., Geshenzon, J., Méndez-Alonso, R. & Oyama, K. (2014) Specific tannins are associated with defense against insect herbivores in the tropical oak Quercus oleoides. J Chem Ecol. 40
    (5) 458-467.
  • Heil, M. (2014) Relevance versus reproducibility – solving a common dilemma in chemical ecology. J Chem Ecol 40: 315-316.
  • Adame-Álvarez, R.M., Mendiola-Soto, J.& Heil, M. (2014) Order of arrival shifts endophyte-pathogen interactions in bean from resistance induction to disease facilitation. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 355: 100-107
  • Millán-Cañongo, C., Orona-Tamayo, D. & Heil, M. (2014) Phloem sugar flux and jasmonic acid-responsive cell wall invertase control extrafloral nectar secretion in Ricinus communis. J Chem Ecol 40, publ. online DOI
  • Navarro-Meléndez, A.L. & Heil, M. (2014) Symptomless endophytic fungi suppress endogenous levels of salicylic acid and interact with the jasmonate-dependent indirect defense traits of their host, Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus). J Chem Ecol 40, pul. Online DOI
  • Heil, M. Barajas-Barron, A., Orona-Tamayo, D., Wielsch, N. & Svatos, A. (2014) Partner manipulation stabilizes a horizontally transmitted mutualism. Ecol. Lett., publ. online DOI: 10.1111/ele.12215
  • García-Guzmán, G. & Heil, M. (2014) Life histories of hosts and pathogens predict patterns in tropical fungal plant disease. New Phytologist, publ. online DOI: 10.1111/nph.12562
  • Orona-Tamayo , D. & Heil, M. (2013) Stabilizing mutualisms threatened by exploiters: new insights from ant-plant research. Biotropica 45(6), 654-665
  • Ballhorn, D.J., Kautz, S. & Heil, M. (2013) Distance and sex determine host plant choice by herbivorous beetles. PLoS ONE, 8, e55602.
  • Orona-Tamayo, D., Wielsch, N., Escalante-Pérez, M., Svatos, A., Molina-Torres, J., Muck, A., Ramirez-Chávez, A., Ádame-Alvarez, R.M. & Heil, M. (2013) Short-term proteomic dynamics reveal metabolic factory for active extrafloral nectar secretion by Acacia cornigera ant-plants. Plant Journal 73 (4): 546-554
  • Heil, M. (2013) Let the best one stay: screening of ant defenders by Acacia host plants can function independently of partner choice or host sanctions. J. Ecol.  101 (3) : 684-688
  • Orona-Tamayo, D., Wielsch, N., Blanco-Labra, A., Svatos, A., Farías-Rodríguez, R. & Heil, M. (2013) Exclusive rewards in mutualisms: ant proteases and plant protease inhibitors create a lock–key system to protect Acacia food bodies from exploitation. Mol. Ecol. 22 (15): 4087-4100
  • Delaye, L, García-Guzmán, G. & Heil.M. (2013) Endophytes versus biotrophic and necrotrophic pathogens – are fungal lifestyles evolutionarily stable traits? Fungal Div. 60 (1): 125-135
  • Girón-Calva, P.S., Molina-Torres, J. & Heil, M. (2012) Volatile dose and exposure time impact perception in neighboring plants. J Chem Ecol 37, 226-228
  • Heil, M., Ibarra-Laclette, E., Adame-Álvarez, R.M., Martínez, O., Ramirez-Chavez, E., Molina-Torres, J. & Herrera-Estrela, L. (2012) How plants sense wounds: Damaged-self recognition is based on plant-derived elicitors and induces octadecanoid signaling. PLoS ONE 7 (2), e30537
  • Barrett, L. & Heil, M. (2012) Unifying concepts and mechanisms in the specificity of plant-enemy interactions. Trends Plant Sci 17 (5) 282-292.
  • Heil, M. (2012) Damaged-self recognition as a general strategy for injury detection. Plant Signal Behav 7 (5) 576-580
  • Córdova-Campos, O., Ádame-Alvarez, R.-M., Acosta-Gallegos, J.A. & Heil, M. (2012) Domestication affected the basal and induced disease resistance in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Eur J Plant Pathol, publ. online DOI: 10.1007/s10658-012-9995-3
  • Heil, M. (2011) Nectar: generation, regulation and ecological functions.
    Trends Plant Sci. 16, 191-199
  • Ballhorn, D.J., Kautz S., Jensen, M. Heil M. & Hegemann A.D. (2011) Genetic and environmental interactions determine plant defences against herbivores. J. Ecol 99, 313-326
  • Kessler, A. & Heil, M (2011) The multiple faces of indirect defences and their agents of natural selection. Funct Ecol 25, 348-357
  • De Román, M., Fernández, I., Wyatt, T., Sahrawy, M., Heil, M. Pozo, M.-J.
    (2011) Elicitation of foliar resistance mechanisms transiently impairs root association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. J. Ecol 99, 36-45
  • Van Dam, N.M. & Heil, M. (2011) Multitrophic interactions below and above
    ground: en route to the next level. J. Ecol 99 (1), 77-88
  • Heil, M. & Adame-Álvarez (2010). Short signalling distances make plant communication a soliloquy. Biol Lett. 6, 843-845
  • Radhika, V., Kost, C., Boland, W. & Heil, M. (2010) The role of jasmonate signalling in floral nectar secretion. PLoS ONE 5, e9265
  • González-Teuber, M., Pozo, M.-J., Muck, A., Svatos, A. & Heil M. (2010) Glucanases and chitinases as causal agents in the protection of Acacia extrafloral nectar from infestation by phytopathogens. Plant Physiol. 152,
  • Heil, M. (2010) Plastic defence expression in plants. Evol. Ecol. 24, 555-569.
  • Kley, J., Heil, M., Muck, A., Svatoš, A. & Boland, W. (2010) Isolating intact chloroplasts from small Arabidopsis samples for proteomic studies.
    Analyt. Biochem 398, 198-202
  • Heil, M., Orona-Tamayo, D., Eilmus, S., Kautz, S. & González-Teuber, M.
    (2010) Chemical communication and coevolution in an ant-plant mutualism.
    Chemoecology, 20, 63-74
  • Heil, M. & Karban, R. (2010) Explaining evolution of plant communication by airborne signals. Trends Ecol. Evol 25, 137-144
  • Yi, H.-S., Heil, M., Adame-Álvarez, R.M., Ballhorn, D.J. & Ryu, C.-M.
    (2009) Airborne induction and priming of plant defenses against a bacterial pathogen. Plant Physiol. 151, 2152-2161.
  • Heil, M., González-Teuber, M., Clement, L.W., Kautz, S., Verhaagh, M. & Silva Bueno, J.C. (2009) Divergent investment strategies of Acacia myrmecophytes and the coexistence of mutualists and exploiters. Proc.
    Natl. Acad .Sci. USA , 106 (43): 18091-18096
  • Heil, M. (2009) Damaged-self recognition in plant herbivore defence.
    Trends Plant Sci. 14, 356-363
  • González-Teuber, M., Eilmus, S., Muck, A., Svatos, A. & Heil, M. (2009) Pathogenesis-related proteins protect extrafloral nectar from microbial infections. Plant J. 58, 464–473
  • Kautz, S., Lumbsch, T.H., Ward, P.S. & Heil, M. (2009) How to prevent
    cheating: digestive specialization ties mutualistic plant-ants to their ant-plant partners. Evolution 63, 839-853
  • Heil, M. & Ton, J. (2008) Long-distance signalling in plant defence.
    Trends Plant Sci. 13, 264-272
  • Heil, M. (2008) Indirect defence via tritrophic interactions. New Phytologist 178, 41-61

See Complerte list of publications