Dr. Monika J.B. Eberhard


University of Hamburg
Department Biology
Institute of Cell and Systems Biology of Animals

Martin-Luther-King Platz 3
20146 Hamburg

Tel.: +49 40 42838 xxx


Research interests

I am interested in communication signals that are transmitted via the substrate – a communication mode that is widespread among the animal kingdom. Especially arthropods have been shown to use vibratory signals for various reasons such as mate localization, species and sex recognition, predator and prey detection, and social interactions. The long evolutionary history of this communication modality, the remarkable diversity of species in which it occurs, and its role in biotic interactions provide unparalleled opportunities to ask and answer various general questions concerning species recognition, signal evolution, sexual selection, and the role of communication signals in population differentiation and speciation. Despite the extensive use of vibrational signals by animals, research on this topic is still underrepresented and many aspects of this communication mode remain unexplored.

By using Mantophasmatodea and spiders as model systems, I investigate the evolution of vibrational signals, the selective forces at work that shape such signals, and the role vibratory signals play in speciation. In addition, I focus on the influence of environmental factors such as temperature on the variability and evolution of vibrational signals.

Additionally, various morphological and/or anatomical features in Mantophasmatodea, such as abdominal musculature, genital structures, or glands are not or only superficially investigated to date. This gives rise to various possibilities for Bachelor and Master Students to explore such structures, as well as work on the taxonomy of Heelwalkers, for their theses.

Curriculum Vitae
Education and Positions
since 2014 Assistant Professor (non-tenure-track) in the group of Prof. Gabriele Uhl, General and Systematic Zoology, Zoological Institute and Museum, University Greifswald
2015 & 2011 Research stay at the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, UK (28.-31. July 2015 and 13.-19. November 2011), Collaborator: Dr. James Windmill, Dr. Shira Gordon
2010 – 2014 PostDoc in the group of Prof. Bernhard Ronacher, Behavioural Physiology, Department of Biology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
2009 Research stay at the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, Museum of Zoology, Collaborator: Dr. Klaus-Dieter Klass
2008 Research stay in the group of Prof. Harald Wolf, Institute for Neurobiology, University of Ulm, Germany (1 month)
2006/2007 Affiliate PhD student in the group of Prof. Mike D. Picker, Zoology Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa
2005 – 2009 Dissertation thesis “Vibrational Communication of Mantophasmatodea (Insecta)” at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna Supervisors: Prof. Günther Pass, University of Vienna & Prof. Mike D. Picker, University of Cape Town
2005 Diploma thesis “The Segmental Vessels of Insects” at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna; Supervisor: Prof. Günther Pass
1999 – 2005 Study of Biology/Zoology, University of Vienna, Austria
Scholarships, awards and grants
2022 DFG-Project 533/4-1: “Chemical and vibratory communication: testing the role of spider silk in a reproductive context” (funding for 3 years)
2015 DFG-Project 533/2-1: “Vibrational Communication Signals in Mantophasmatodea: Species Recognition, Sexual Selection, and Population Differentiation” (funding for 3 years)
2015 Polytec Young Researcher Award, International Symposium Vibrational Communication in Arthropods, DGaaE-Tagung, Frankfurt/Main
2013 ISV 2013 Scholarship, Society for Experimental Biology
2010 doc.award, University of Vienna for an outstanding dissertation thesis
2009 Förderungspreis der ÖEG, Austrian Entomological Society
2009 Young Investigator Stipend, German Neuroscience Society
2008/09 L’Oréal For Women in Science, L’Oréal Austria, Austrian UNESCO-Commission, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research
2008 Research Grant for Doctoral Candidates and Young Academics and Scientists from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
2007 Forschungsstipendium F105-B, University of Vienna
2006 Scholarship, University of Vienna (Förderungsstipendium)
2006 Windhag-Stipendium, Land Niederösterreich, Austria
2005 Maria-Schaumayer Stiftung (Vienna), award for an outstanding diploma thesis
Professional Affiliations
Associate Editor “Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny”
Member of the Editorial Board “Organisms, Diversity and Evolution”
Member of the German Zoological Society (DZG), Speaker FG Evolutionary Biology (since 09. 2018)
Member of the European Society of Arachnology
Member of the "Ethologische Gesellschaft e.V."
Member of the "Deutsche Gesellschaft für allgemeine und angewandte Entomologie" (DGaaE)
Member of the Austrian Entomological Society (ÖEG)
Member of the International Society for Invertebrate Morphology (ISIM)
Bota, J. L.; Schöner, M. G.; Schöner, C. R.; & Eberhard, M. J. B. 2022. Rustling ants: Vibrational communication performed by two Camponotus species in Borneo. Arthropod Structure & Development, 70:101172. Link
Kreuz, J.; Eberhard, M. J. B. 2022. Asymmetry of the male internal reproductive organs in Mantophasmatodea. BMC Zoology 7:4. Link
Dool, S. Picker, M. D. & Eberhard, M. J. B. 2022. Limited dispersal and local adaptation promote allopatric speciation in a biodiversity hotspot. Molecular Ecology, 31:279-295. doi: doi.org/10.1111/mec.16219
Eberhard, M. J. B., Möller, T. A. & Uhl, G. 2021. Dragline silk reveals female developmental stage and mediates male vibratory courtship in the nuptial gift-giving spider Pisaura mirabilis. Ethology 127: 267-277. doi: doi.org/10.1111/eth.13124
Schoville, S.D., Simon, S., Bai, M., Beethem, Z., Dudko, R.Y., Eberhard, M. J. B., Frandsen, P., Küpper, S.C., Machida, R., Verheij, M., Willadsen, P.C., Zhou, X. & Wipfler B. 2021. Comparative transcriptomics of ice-crawlers demonstrates cold specialization constrains niche evolution in a relict lineage. Evolutionary Applications 14: 360–382. doi:10.1111/eva.13120
Eberhard, M. J. B., Machnis, A., & Uhl, G. 2020. Condition-dependent differences in male vibratory pre-copulatory and copulatory courtship in a nuptial gift-giving spider. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 74: 138. doi:10.1007/s00265-020-02918-w.
Eberhard, M.J.B. & Picker M. D. 2019: Vibrational Communication in Heelwalkers (Mantophasmatodea). Pp. 293-307 in: Hill P.S.M., Lakes-Harlan R., Mazzoni V., Narins P., Virant-Doberlet M. & Wessel A. (eds.) Biotremology: Studying Vibrational Behavior, Springer International Publishing, Cham.
Eberhard, M.J.B. , Metze, D. & Küpper, S.C. 2019: Causes of variability in male vibratory signals and the role of female choice in Mantophasmatodea. Behavioural Processes 166: 103907. DOI 10.1016/j.beproc.2019.103907.
Küpper, S.C.; Klass, K.-D.; Uhl, G.; Eberhard, M.J.B. 2019: Comparative morphology of the internal female genitalia in two species of Mantophasmatodea. Zoomorphology 138: 73-83. DOI 10.1007/s00435-018-0421-z.
Eberhard, M.J.B. & Treschnak, D. 2018. Variation of vibrational communication signals in animals depends on trait duration. Ethology124:855-861. DOI:10.1111/eth.12819.
Eberhard, M.J.B.; Schoville, S.D. & Klass, K-D. 2018: Biodiversity of Grylloblattodea and Mantophasmatodea. Pp. 335-357 in: Foottit R.G. & Adler H. (eds.) Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society, Volume 2, Wiley, New Yor etc.
Dool, S.E., Künzel, S., Haase, M., Picker, M.D. & Eberhard, M.J.B. 2018. Variable molecular markers for the order Mantophasmatodea. Journal of Heredity 109: 477-483. Link
Eberhard, M.J.B.; Schleimer, J.H.; Schreiber, S. & Ronacher, B. 2015: A temperature rise reduces trial-to-trial variability of locust auditory neuron responses. Journal of Neurophysiology 114: 1424-1437. doi:10.1152/jn.00980.2014
Eberhard, M.J.B.; Gordon, S.D.; Windmill, F.C & Ronacher, B. 2014: Temperature effects on the tympanal membrane and auditory receptor neurons in the locust. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 200: 837-847. doi:10.1007/s00359-014-0926-y.
Römschied, F.A.; Eberhard, M.J.B.; Schleimer, J.H.; Ronacher, B. & Schreiber, S. 2014: Cell-intrinsic mechanisms of temperature compensation in a grasshopper sensory receptor neuron. eLife 2014;3:e02078.
Eberhard, M.J.B. & Eberhard, S.H. 2013: Evolution and Diversity of Vibrational Signals in Mantophasmatodea (Insecta). Journal of Insect Behavior 26: 352–370.
Eberhard, M.J.B.; Picker, M.D. & Klass, K.-D. 2011: Sympatry in Mantophasmatodea, with the description of a new species and phylogenetic considerations. Organisms Diversity and Evolution 11: 43-59.
Eberhard, M.J.B.; Lang, D.; Metscher, B.; Pass, G.; Picker, M.D. & Wolf, H. 2010: Structure and sensory physiology of the leg scolopidial organs in Mantophasmatodea and their role in vibrational communication. Arthropod Structure & Development 39: 230-241.
Krenn, H.W.; Eberhard, M.J.B.; Eberhard, S.H.; Hikl, A.-L.; Huber, W. & Gilbert, L.E. 2009: Mechanical damage to pollen aids nutrient acquisition in Heliconius butterflies (Nymphalidae). Arthropod-Plant Interactions 3: 203-208.
Eberhard, M.J.B.; Pass, G.; Picker, M.D.; Beutel, R.; Predel, R.; Gorb, S.N. 2009: Structure and Function of the Arolium of Mantophasmatodea (Insecta). Journal of Morphology 270: 1247-1261.
Eberhard, M.J.B. 2009: Kurze Vorstellung der Ordnung Mantophasmatodea. Entomologica Austriaca 16: 73-84.
Eberhard, M.J.B. & Picker, M.D. 2008: Vibrational Communication in two sympatric species of Mantophasmatodea (Heelwalkers). Journal of Insect Behavior 21: 240-257.
Pass, G.; Gereben-Krenn, B.A.; Merl, M.; Plant, J.; Szucsich, N.U. & Tögel, M. 2006: Phylogenetic relationships of the orders of Hexapoda: Contributions from the circulatory organs for a morphological data matrix. 2nd Dresden Meeting on Insect Phylogeny. Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny64: 165-203.
Merl, M. & Pass, G. 2005: Die Segmentalgefäße der Insekten (The Segmental Vessels of Insects). Entomologica Austriaca 13: 31-37.
Graw, B.; Merl, M.; Provvedi, S.; Moss, B. & Wagner, T. 2005: Habitat ecology of three different species of whirligig beetles (Coleoptera: Gyrinidae) in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Entomologische Zeitschrift115: 211-216.