Research interests

  • Olfactory attraction of necrophagous and necrophilous beetles
  • Forensic Entomology / Chemoecology
  • Cadaver odour (Volatile organic cadaveric odour compounds)
  • Beetles on cadavers and their application in medico-legal investigations


Scientific projects

My research in general deals with olfactory attraction of carcass associated insects to cadavers.

Time-changing volatile profiles of cadavers are attended by changes in succession patterns of carrion insects. We can exactly use this circumstance in medico-legal practice to set limits for carrion exposure times or post mortem interval (PMI) calculations, when age estimation of strongly decomposed human cadavers is no longer
possible by means of classical medico-legal methods.

In the project "NecroPig" as part of the Biodiversity Exploratories (DFG Priority Programme 1374) for large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research ( I study the influence of land use intensity on the decomposition rate of dead mammals at landscape and local scales. The aim is to understand how the habitat structure and land use intensity influences the decomposition and removal rate of dead mammals (piglet cadavers) in conjunction with the biodiversity of the associated arthropod fauna at spatial scales.


  • Dr. Christian von Hoermann
  • Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Genomics
  • University of Ulm
  • D-89081 Ulm, Germany
  • Tel. +49 (0)731 50 22662
  • Fax +49 (0)731 50 22683