Nicolas VEREECKEN


Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

I am a bio-engineer (agricultural scientist) and an entomologist by training. I graduated from Gembloux Agro-Bio-Tech (ULg) with a specialization in crop protection, and then explored more fundamental aspects of plant-insect interactions during my PhD at Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the University of Zurich (UZH, Switzerland). The focus of my PhD project was the evolutionary ecology and conservation of highly specialized plant-pollinator interactions, particularly orchids pollinated by wild bees through sexual mimicry. I went on to a four-year post-doctorate funded by the Belgian FRS-FNRS on the evolution of bee-flower interactions, which led me to investigate the full spectrum of ecosystem services provided by wild bees. This, in turn, provided an excellent opportunity to turn back to agricultural sciences and assess the role of wild pollinators in agroecosystems, and the effect of agroecological practices on the diversity of wild bees, as well as their socio-economic benefits for small households.

Since October 2013 I have been based at ULB, where I lead the “Agroecology & Pollination” group. My current research focuses on agroecosystem biodiversity, urban ecology and agri-environmental schemes targeting wild pollinators. I am increasingly involved in projects assessing the drivers of diversity change in wild bee communities in Europe and Central Africa (DRC, Malawi, etc.). I teach agroecology with a focus on (sub)tropical issues to undergraduate students (Master 1 & 2) in agricultural and social sciences.

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