Faculty of Biological Sciences

Dr Jacobus Biesmeijer

MSc, PhD 1997, Utrecht
School of Biology

Background: I am Dutch and obtained my MSc in Tropical Ecology and my PhD in Behavioural Ecology from Utrecht University (NL). After a couple of years at Cornell University (NY), I came to the University of Leeds to work within the Sixth Framework EU-project ALARM on assessing large-scale risks for biodiversity.

Contact:  Miall 10.24 | +44(0) 113 34 32815 | email address for  

Research Interests

Ecology and behaviour of temperate and tropical pollinators, particularly bees (stingless bees, honey bees) and hoverflies.

My first line of research is the interaction between plants and pollinators both in Europe and in the Neotropics (mainly Brazil). Within the EU-ALARM-project my role is to repeat historical observations of plant-pollinator interactions. This allows us to assess whether and how things have changed over the last century and which factors (climate change, land use change or others) might be responsible for these changes. With colleagues from the University of Sao Paulo I study (social) bee - food plant relationships in Brazilian habitats.

My second line of research concerns the behavioural ecology of social bees. I am mostly interested in unravelling how hundreds of poorly-informed worker bees are capable of coordinated and seemingly intelligent collective behaviour. My work has recently concentrated on collective foraging behaviour and community ecology in stingless bees (Costa Rica and Brazil) and on dance communication in honey bees


Faculty Research and Innovation

Dr Luisa Carvalheiro  (Research Fellow)

Mr Martin Lappage  (Visiting Research Assistant)

Dr Chiara Polce  (Visiting Research Fellow)

Miss Catherine Thompson  (Research Fellow)

Shackelford G; Steward PR; Benton TG; Kunin WE; Potts SG; Biesmeijer JC; Sait SM Comparison of pollinators and natural enemies: a meta-analysis of landscape and local effects on abundance and richness in crops. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 88 1002-1021, 2013
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Carvalheiro LG; Kunin WE; Keil P; Aguirre-Gutiérrez J; Ellis WN; Fox R; Groom Q; Hennekens S; Van Landuyt W; Maes D; Van de Meutter F; Michez D; Rasmont P; Ode B; Potts SG; Reemer M; Roberts SP; Schaminée J; WallisDeVries MF; Biesmeijer JC Species richness declines and biotic homogenisation have slowed down for NW-European pollinators and plants. Ecol Lett 16 870-878, 2013
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Aguirre-Gutiérrez J; Carvalheiro LG; Polce C; van Loon EE; Raes N; Reemer M; Biesmeijer JC Fit-for-purpose: species distribution model performance depends on evaluation criteria - Dutch Hoverflies as a case study. PLoS One 8 e63708-, 2013
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Evison SEF; Roberts KE; Biesmeijer JC; Hughes WOH; Laurenson L; Pietravalle S; Budge G; Hui J; Smith JE Pervasiveness of parasites in pollinators PLoS ONE 7 -, 2012
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Campbell AJ; Biesmeijer JC; Varma V; Wäckers FL Realising multiple ecosystem services based on the response of three beneficial insect groups to floral traits and trait diversity Basic and Applied Ecology 13 363-370, 2012
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Cock MJW; Biesmeijer JC; Cannon RJC; Gerard PJ; Gillespie D; Jimenez JJ; Lavelle PM; Raina SK The positive contribution of invertebrates to sustainable agriculture and food security CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 7 -, 2012
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Nielsen A; Dauber J; Lamborn E; Tscheulin T; Vaitis M; Vivarelli D; Petanidou T; Nielsen A; Nielsen A; Reitan T; Dauber J; Kunin WE; Biesmeijer JC; Dauber J; Stout JC; Lamborn E; Potts SG; Roberts S; Tscheulin T; Jauker B; Jauker B; Moora M; Sõber V; Settele J; Steffan-Dewenter I; Vivarelli D Pollinator community responses to the spatial population structure of wild plants: A pan-European approach Basic and Applied Ecology -, 2012
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Marini L; Bommarco R; Quaranta M; Fontana P; Biesmeijer JC Landscape context and elevation affect pollinator communities in intensive apple orchards Basic and Applied Ecology -, 2012
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Przybyłowicz T; Roessingh P; Groot AT; Oostermeijer JGB; Gravendeel B; Biesmeijer JC; Chittka L Possible chemical mimicry of the European lady's slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus) Contributions to Zoology 81 103-110, 2012
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Giannini TC; Chapman DS; Saraiva AM; Alves-dos-Santos I; Biesmeijer JC Improving species distribution models using biotic interactions: A case study of parasites, pollinators and plants Ecography -, 2012
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Marini L; Bommarco R; Quaranta M; Fontana P; Biesmeijer JC Landscape context and elevation affect pollinator communities in intensive apple orchards Basic and Applied Ecology 13 681-689, 2012
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Polce C; Kunin WE; Biesmeijer JC; Dauber J; Phillips OL; ALARM Field Site Network Alien and native plants show contrasting responses to climate and land use in Europe GLOBAL ECOL BIOGEOGR 20 367-379, 2011

Potts SG; Biesmeijer JC; Bommarco R; Felicioli A; Fischer M; Jokinen P; Kleijn D; Klein AM; Kunin WE; Neumann P; Penev LD; Petanidou T; Rasmont P; Roberts SPM; Smith HG; Sorensen PB; Steffan-Dewenter I; Vaissiere BE; Vila M; Vujic A; Woyciechowski M; Zobel M; Settele J; Schweiger O Developing European conservation and mitigation tools for pollination services: approaches of the STEP (Status and Trends of European Pollinators) project J APICULT RES 50 152-164, 2011

Keil P; Biesmeijer JC; Barendregt A; Reemer M; Kunin WE Biodiversity change is scale-dependent: an example from Dutch and UK hoverflies (Diptera, Syrphidae) ECOGRAPHY 34 392-401, 2011

Pysek P; Jarosik V; Chytry M; Danihelka J; Kuhn I; Pergl J; Tichy L; Biesmeijer JC; Ellis WN; Kunin WE; Settele J Successful invaders co-opt pollinators of native flora and accumulate insect pollinators with increasing residence time ECOL MONOGR 81 277-293, 2011

Nielsen A; Steffan-Dewenter I; Westphal C; Messinger O; Potts SG; Roberts SPM; Settele J; Szentgyoergyi H; Vaissiere BE; Vaitis M; Woyciechowski M; Bazos I; Biesmeijer JC; Bommarco R; Kunin WE; Tscheulin T; Lamborn E; Petanidou T Assessing bee species richness in two Mediterranean communities: importance of habitat type and sampling techniques ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH 26 969-983, 2011

Potts SG; Biesmeijer JC; Kremen C; Neumann P; Schweiger O; Kunin WE Global pollinator declines: trends, impacts and drivers TRENDS ECOL EVOL 25 345-353, 2010

Dauber J; Biesmeijer JC; Gabriel D; Kunin WE; Lamborn E; Meyer B; Nielsen A; Potts SG; Roberts SPM; Sober V; Settele J; Steffan-Dewenter I; Stout JC; Teder T; Tscheulin T; Vivarelli D; Petanidou T Effects of patch size and density on flower visitation and seed set of wild plants: a pan-European approach J ECOL 98 188-196, 2010

Schweiger O; Biesmeijer JC; Bommarco R; Hickler T; Hulme PE; Klotz S; Kuhn I; Moora M; Nielsen A; Ohlemuller R; Petanidou T; Potts SG; Pysek P; Stout JC; Sykes MT; Tscheulin T; Vila M; Walther GR; Westphal C; Winter M; Zobel M; Settele J Multiple stressors on biotic interactions: how climate change and alien species interact to affect pollination BIOL REV 85 777-795, 2010

Hammen VC; Biesmeijer JC; Bommarco R; Budrys E; Christensen TR; Fronzek S; Grabaum R; Jaksic P; Klotz S; Kramarz P; Kroel-Dulay G; Kuhn I; Mirtl M; Moora M; Petanidou T; Pino J; Potts SG; Rortais A; Schulze CH; Steffan-Dewenter I; Stout J; Szentgyorgyi H; Vighi M; Vujic A; Westphal C; Wolf T; Zavala G; Zobel M; Settele J; Kunin WE Establishment of a cross-European field site network in the ALARM project for assessing large-scale changes in biodiversity ENVIRON MONIT ASSESS 164 337-348, 2010

Bommarco R; Biesmeijer JC; Meyer B; Potts SG; Poyry J; Roberts SPM; Steffan-Dewenter I; Ockinger E Dispersal capacity and diet breadth modify the response of wild bees to habitat loss P ROY SOC B-BIOL SCI 277 2075-2082, 2010

Rasmussen C; Nieh J; Biesmeijer JC Foraging biology of neglected bee pollinators Psyche -, 2010

Koedam D; Slaa EJ; Biesmeijer JC; Nogueira-Neto P Unsuccessful attacks dominate a drone-preying wasp's hunting performance near stingless bee nests GENET MOL RES 8 690-702, 2009

Westphal C; Bommarco R; Carre G; Lamborn E; Morison N; Petanidou T; Potts SG; Roberts SPM; Szentgyorgyi H; Tscheulin T; Vaissiere BE; Woyciechowski M; Biesmeijer JC; Kunin WE; Settele J; Steffan-Dewenter I MEASURING BEE DIVERSITY IN DIFFERENT EUROPEAN HABITATS AND BIOGEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS ECOL MONOGR 78 653-671, 2008

Biesmeijer JC; Hartfelder K; Imperatriz-Fonseca VL Stingless bees: biology and management APIDOLOGIE 37 121-123, 2006

Biesmeijer JC; Slaa EJ The structure of eusocial bee assemblages in Brazil APIDOLOGIE 37 240-258, 2006

Biesmeijer JC; Roberts SPM; Reemer M; Ohlemuller R; Edwards M; Peeters T; Schaffers AP; Potts SG; Kleukers R; Thomas CD; Settele J; Kunin WE Parallel declines in pollinators and insect-pollinated plants in Britain and the Netherlands SCIENCE 313 351-354, 2006

Biesmeijer JC; Hartfelder K; Imperatriz-Fonseca VL Les abeilles sans aiguillon: Biologie et gestion Apidologie 37 121-123, 2006

Biesmeijer JC; Seeley T The use of waggle dance information by honey bees throughout their foraging careers Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 59 133-142, 2005

Biesmeijer JC; Slaa EJ; de Castro MS; Viana BF; de MP Kleinert A; Imperatriz-Fonseca VL Connectance of Brazilian Social bee-food plant networks is influenced by habitat, but not by latitude, altitude or network size, 2005

Biesmeijer JC; Giurfa M; Koedam D; Potts SG; Joel DM; Dafni A Convergent evolution: floral guides, stingless bee nest entrances, and insectivorous pitchers Naturwissenschaften 92 444-450, 2005
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Aguilar I; Fonseca A; Biesmeijer JC Recruitment and communication of food source location in three species of stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini) APIDOLOGIE 36 313-324, 2005

Biesmeijer JC; Slaa EJ Information flow and organization of stingless bee foraging Apidologie 35 143-157, 2004
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Slaa EJ; Wassenberg J; Biesmeijer JC The use of field-based social information in eusocial foragers: local enhancement among nestmates and heterospecifics in stingless bees Ecological Entomology 28 369-379, 2003

Biesmeijer JC The occurrence and context of the shaking signal in honey bees (Apis mellifera) exploiting natural food sources Ethology 109 1009-1020, 2003
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Pereboom JJM; Biesmeijer JC Thermal constraints for stingless bee foragers: the importance of body size and coloration OECOLOGIA 137 42-50, 2003

Biesmeijer JC The occurrence and context of tremble dancing in free-foraging honey bees (Apis mellifera) Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 53 411-416, 2003
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de Vries H; Biesmeijer JC Self-organization in collective honeybee foraging: emergence of symmetry breaking, cross inhibition and equal harvest-rate distribution BEHAV ECOL SOCIOBIOL 51 557-569, 2002

Biesmeijer JC; de Vries H Exploration and exploitation of food sources by social insect colonies: a revision of the scout-recruit concept. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 49 89-99, 2001

Biesmeijer JC; Smeets MJAP; Richter JAP; Sommeijer MJ Nectar foraging by stingless bees in Costa Rica: botanical and climatological influences on sugar concentration of nectar collected by Melipona APIDOLOGIE 30 43-55, 1999

Biesmeijer JC; Richter JAP; Smeets MAJP; Sommeijer MJ Niche differentiation in nectar-collecting stingless bees: the influence of morphology, floral choice and interference competition ECOL ENTOMOL 24 380-388, 1999

Biesmeijer JC; Born M; Lukacs S; Sommeijer MJ The response of the stingless bee Melipona beecheii to experimental pollen stress, worker loss and different levels of information input J APICULT RES 38 33-41, 1999

Biesmeijer JC; Ermers MCW Social foraging in stingless bees: how colonies of Melipona fasciata choose among nectar sources BEHAV ECOL SOCIOBIOL 46 129-140, 1999

Biesmeijer JC; Toth E Individual foraging, activity level and longevity in the stingless bee Melipona beecheii in Costa Rica (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponinae) INSECT SOC 45 427-443, 1998

Biesmeijer JC; van Nieuwstadt MGL; Lukacs S; Sommeijer MJ The role of internal and external information in foraging decisions of Melipona workers (Hymenoptera : Meliponinae) BEHAV ECOL SOCIOBIOL 42 107-116, 1998

de Vries H; Biesmeijer JC Modelling collective foraging by means of individual behaviour rules in honey-bees BEHAV ECOL SOCIOBIOL 44 109-124, 1998