Murat Bakırdöven

PhD Student

© Murat Bakirdöven

Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology
Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity
University of Münster
Hüfferstr. 1
48149 Münster, Germany
Phone: +49 251/83-21093
Nationality: Turkish Tr


  • Since 2020:
    PhD in the Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology Group, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2014-2018:
    Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Environmental Sciences, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
    Thesis: Behavioural Interplay and Prepotancy Comparison Between Wolbachia and Haplotype-Associated Reproductive Barriers Between Two Populations of Tetranychus urticae Koch
  • 2012:
    Erasmus Student Exchange, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • 2009-2014:
    Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biology, Istanbul University, Turkey
    Thesis: Sentinel Behaviour in Deer
  • 2007-2010:
    Associate Degree in Laboratory Assistances & Veterinarian Sciences, Anadolu University, Turkey

Work Experience

  • 2020
    Visiting Scientist, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2019
    Visiting Scientist, Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management, Bioengineering Technology Group, Faculty of Engineering Technology, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2015-2016:
    Master thesis work, Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Entomology Laboratory, Faculty of Science, Universiyt of Lisbon, Portugal


  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gadau, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology Group, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Shuqing Xu, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Plant Adaptation-in-action Group, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Animal Evolutionary Ecology Group, University of Münster

Research interests

  • Evolutionary Ecology
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Sexual Signaling
  • Rapid Evolution & Speciation


  • Sakallioglu T, Bakirdoven M, Temizel I, Demirel B, Copty NK, Onay TT, Uyguner Demirel CS, Karanfil T (2016) Leaching of nano-ZnO in municipal solid waste. Journal of Hazardous Materials 317:319–326. 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2016.05.094 [doi]

PhD project description

Genetic, chemical and behavioural studies of sexual communication in the aphid parasitoid Aphidius ervi

Insect cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC) have several functions such as protection against desiccation, chemical mimicry and diverse arrays of different communication systems, some of which are hierarchy identification, signalling dominance and sexual attraction. Aphidius ervi (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a parasitoid wasp species that has an important role as a commercially available biocontrol agent for several aphid pest species. In this study, I would like to examine and investigate the genetic, chemical and behavioural aspects of mate recognition in this species. A. ervi copulations have been hypothesized to be initiated by female pheromones. Recent pilot studies of my destination laboratory at the University of Münster have found much higher proportions of dienes in CHC profiles of A. ervi females than in males. This is of particular interest as dienes are also the main female sex pheromones in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In order to determine whether dienes have a similar role in A. ervi, I will attempt to identify the responsible genes for diene production in A. ervi females, greatly aided by the recent publication of the Aphidius genome, which already hints at specific desaturases as potential candidate genes. I will knockdown these candidate genes via RNAi in A. ervi females and confirm their role in diene production with both chemical analysis of their CHC profiles as well as behavioural assays to establish whether a concordant reduction in sexual attractiveness has occurred. By combining genetic, chemical and behavioural studies, I aim to advance our general understanding of sexual communication mechanisms mediated by particular CHC compounds. This might shed light on evolutionary conserved signalling mechanisms transcending phylogenetic boundaries as far apart as Hymenoptera and other Holometabola, which have diverged approximately 327 million years ago.