Kim Moritz

PhD student in ecology with a focus on plant genetic effects on interactions with herbivores and fungal pathogens. Special interest in programming.


Ecology and environmental science for social scientists 2014-2016

Biology and Production of Agricultural Plants 2015-2016


The project
Effects of plant sex on insect herbivory are well-documented for many species but less is known of how multitrophic systems are affected. To determine the plant sex effects on the interactions, we have to first investigate how the natural abundances of herbivorous insects and their predators are affected. We therefore use a large experiment with fields of Salix viminalis consisting of male, female or male plus female plants to compare the plant sex effects on insect abundances.

How do the plants affect the insects' choices? Except for the effects on abundances we also investigate how the insect behaviour is affected by Salix sex. We do this by performing experimental bioassays to investigate their preferences. With that information we can compare their behaviours are related to their performance on male and female plants. Additionally, we relate our ecological data to the secondary metabolites of the plants to better understand the underlying differences in defence through leaf chemistry in S. viminalis.

Given that willows are an important food source for pollinators, especially in spring, the plant sex can expected to have an important impact on pollination of other nearby crops as an ecosystem service. We therefore also perform experiments where we test which plant sex is preferred by pollinators and whether nearby strawberry pollination is affected.

Why willow sex?
In a world of anthropogenic climate change, willows (Salix sp.) are among the most common crops for production of bioenergy as an alternative to fossil fuels. Salix are however low-value crops and decreasing herbivory through pesticide usage would be unsustainable, economically as ecologically. If we can take advantage of how different Salix genotypes influence the interactions with herbivores and their natural enemies, we will have a cheap method to reduce losses to herbivory and increase the sustainability of Salix short rotation coppice. Salix viminalis is a dioecious species, and if sex is determining the plants' interactions with insects choosing to plant plants of the better-defended plant sex is a way to achieve this


PhD student at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences 2013-
(dissertation: March 2017)

Java developer student at EC Utbildning (2016-2017)

Laboratory assistant at Uppsala University 2013

Laboratory assistant at Incotec 2012-2013

Laboratory assistant at Uppsala University summers 2010-2012

MSc in Ecology and Evolution: Uppsala University (including Erasmus ecxhange at Bern University) 2010-2012

BSc in Biology: Uppsala University 2007-2010


Johan Stenberg

Amy Parachnowitsch

Christer Björkman

Publikationer i urval

Moritz KK, Björkman C, Parachnowitsch AL, Stenberg JA. 2016. Female Salix viminalis are more severely infected by Melampsora spp. but neither sex experiences associational effects. Ecology and Evolution 6: 1154-1162.

Sletvold N, Moritz KK, Ågren J. 2015. Additive effects of pollinators and herbivores result in both conflicting and reinforcing selection on floral traits. Ecology 96: 214-221.

Kabir MF, Moritz KK, Stenberg JA. 2014. Plant-sex-biased tritrophic interactions on dioecious willow. Ecosphere 5: art153.

Latzel V, Zhang Y, Karlsson Moritz K, Fischer M, Bossdorf O. 2012. Epigenetic variation in plant responses to defence hormones. Annals of Botany 110: 1423-1428.