Dr. Andreas Fischer

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

Zoologisches Institut und Museum
Allgemeine und Systematische Zoologie

Loitzer Str. 26
17489 Greifswald

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Research Interests

My research focuses on understanding how spiders communicate through taste and smell. This is motivated by the need for integrated pest management options for urban spiders as arachnophobia drives the use of pesticides against harmless spiders. My work primarily involves the neurotoxin-producing widow-subfamily Latrodectinae, identifying their sex pheromone and mate-call mechanisms, as well as investigating the chemical ecology of their sexual signals. To achieve my research goals, I use  non-targeted metabolomics based on coupled high-resolution mass spectrometry-high-performance-liquid chromatography (HRMS-HPLC), as well as gas chromatography-MS (GC/MS) analyses. My prime interest lies in identifying natural semiochemicals produced by spiders or perceived by them in an attracting or deterring fashion.

Curriculum Vitae


2006-2009 Abitur at Ernährungswissenschaftlichem Gymnasium in Sigmaringen
2000-2006 Middle school (Realschule) in Pfullendorf
1996-2000 Elementary school Löwen in Pfullendorf

Scientific training

since 10/2023 Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at Zoological Insitute and Museum at University of Greifswald
10/2023-today cumulative habilitation at the Zoological Institute and Museum at University of Greifswald
2019-2023 Doctorate in Biological Sciences (PhD) at Simon Fraser University, Canada
2022 Parental Leave
2016-2018+2023 Master of Pest Management (MPM) at Simon Fraser University, Canada
2009-2016 Study of biology and chemistry with teaching credentials for secondary schools at Ulm University (1. Staatsexamen gymn. Lehramt)
Grants, Awards
Presentation and Poster Awards  
2021 11. Best Presentation Award (PhD competition), Annual Meeting of Entomological Society of Canada
2021 10. Best Presentation Award (runner up), (PhD competition), Annual Meeting, Entomological Society of British Columbia
2021 9. Best Presentation Award, International Society of Chemical Ecology
2021 8. Best Presentation Award (runner up), European Arachnological Congress
2020 7. Best Presentation Award (runner up), European Arachnological Congress
2019 6. Best Presentation Award (PhD competition), Annual Meeting, Entomological Society of British Columbia.
2019 5. Best Poster Award, 21st International Congress of Arachnology
2019 4. Second Place, 3-Minute Thesis Competition, Faculty of Science, SFU
2018 3. President’s Award (oral presentation), Joint Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada and British Columbia
2016 2. Best Poster Award, 20^th International Congress of Arachnology
2015 1. Best Student Presentation (oral), 29th European Congress of Arachnology
Stipends and Grants  
2023 23. SFU PhD Research Scholarship
2023 22. TSSU Child-care Fund
2022 21. SFU Open Access Fund
2021 20. Science Outreach Award, Department of Biological Sciences, SFU
2021 19. TSSU Child-care fund
2021 18. NSERC Parental Leave Supplement
2021 17. SFU Open Access Fund
2020 16. American Arachnological Society Arachnological Research Fund
2020 15. Oscar & Jan Francke International Society of Arachnology Research Fund
2020 14. SFU Graduate Int. Research & Travel Award
2020-2023 13. Alexander Graham Bell Scholarship of NSERC
2020 12. SFU Open Access Fund
2020 11. SFU Graduate Fellowship
2019 10. SFU President’s PhD Scholarship
2019 9. Graduate Student Scholarship Entomological Society of B.C.
2019 8. John H. Borden Scholarship Entomological Society of Canada
2019 7. Travel Award, International Society for Chemical Ecology
2018 6. SFU Graduate Fellowship
2018 5. Dr. H. R. MacCarthy Graduate Bursary
2018 4. SFU Travel Research Award
2017 3. SFU Graduate Fellowship
2016 2. Travel Award, American Arachnology Society
2915 1. Travel Award, Ulm University
Professional Affiliations
since 10/2023 Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at Zoological Insitute and Museum at University of Greifswald


12. Fischer, A, A.C. Roman-Torres, J. Vurdela, Y. Lee, N. Bahar, R. Gries, S. Alamsetti, H. Chen, G. Gries. 2023. Non-targeted metabolomics aids in sex pheromone identification – a proof-of-concept study with the triangulate cobweb spider, Steatoda triangulosa. Scientific Reports 13:18426, PDF
11. Fischer, A, Y. Fernando, A. Preston, S. Moniz-de-Sa, Gerhard Gries. 2023. Widow spiders alter web-architecture and -attractiveness in response to same-sex competition for prey and mates and predation risk. Communications Biology. 6:1028, doi.org/10.1038/s42003-023-05392-y PDF
10. Fischer, A, R. Gries, S.K. Alamsetti, E. Hung, A.C.R. Torres, S. Fernando, S. Meraj, W. Ren, R. Britton, G. Gries. 2022. Origin, structure, and functional transition of contact pheromone components to volatile male attractant pheromone components in a widow spider. Communications Biology 5:1156, PDF
9. Fischer A, S. Schulz, M. Ayasse, G. Uhl. 2021. Pheromone communication among sexes of the garden cross spider Araneus diadematus. The Science of Nature 108:38, PDF
8. Fischer A, Y. Lee, T. Dong, G. Gries. 2021. Know your foe – Synanthropic spiders are deterred by semiochemicals of European fire ants. Royal Society Open Science 8:210279, PDF
7.Fischer A, S. MacLennan, R. Gries, G. Gries. 2021. Herbivore-induced plant volatiles do not affect settling decisions by synanthropic spiders. Chemoecology 31: 201-208, PDF
6. Fischer A, X. H. Goh, J.-L. S. Varney, A. J. Blake, S. Takács, G. Gries. 2020. Multimodal and multifunctional signaling? – Web reduction courtship behavior in a North American population of the false black widow spider. PLoS ONE 15:e0228988, doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0228988 PDF
5. Fischer A, E. Hung, N. Amiri, G. Gries. 2020. ‘Mine or Thine’ – Indiscriminate responses to own and conspecific webs by a cobweb spider. Journal of Ethology 38: 241-245, doi.org/10.1007/s10164-020-00641-7 PDF
4. Fischer, A., E. Hung, G. Gries. 2019. Female false black widow spiders, Steatoda grossa, recognize webs based on physical and chemical cues. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 167: 803-810 (cover story), doi.org/10.1111/eea.12825 PDF
3. Fischer, A. 2019. Chemical communication in spiders – a methodological review. Journal of Arachnology 47: 1-27, doi.org/10.1636/0161-8202-47.1.1
2. Fischer, A., Y. Lee, J. Stewart, G. Gries. 2018. Dodging sexual conflict? – Sub-adult females of a web building spider stay cryptic to mate-seeking adult males. /Ethology/ 124: 838-843. (cover story), doi.org/10.1111/eth.12807 PDF
1. Fischer, A., M. Ayasse, and M.C.B. Andrade. 2018.Natural compounds as spider repellents: Fact or Myth? Journal of Economic Entomology 111: 314-318.
Non-Refereed Publication
1. Gries G. J. & A. Fischer. 2019. Get 'inspidered' - from fear of spiders to fascination. The Conversation