Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Field work

Further settings

Login for editors

Dr. Panagiotis Theodorou

Panagiotis Theodorou

Panagiotis Theodorou

Panagiotis Theodorou

For updated information please visit my personal webpage


Dr. Panagiotis Theodorou

room 6.10
Hoher Weg 8
06120 Halle (Saale)

phone: +49 (0)345 55 26511

Research areas

My  research investigates ecological and evolutionary processes from genes through species and ecosystems, to quantify global change effects on biodiversity, mutualistic interactions and the ecosystem service of  pollination.

1. Insect biodiversity

Habitat  loss, resulting from the conversion of (semi) natural to human  dominated habitats is the most universal and high impact factor driving  pollinator declines. Two of the main drivers of habitat loss, with overall negative effects on pollinator biodiversity, are agricultural development and urbanisation. Paradoxically though, studies have shown  that anthropogenic habitats, including both urban and agricultural areas, can have neutral or even positive effects on pollinator diversity. Differences in intensity of land use change, spatial scale and the taxonomic group studied are among the main reasons for these contrasting findings. As a step towards understanding the overall effects of anthropogenic land use on insect pollinator diversity, I  investigate the relative effects of local habitat resources, landscape  composition and configuration on insect pollinator diversity, simultaneously measured as intraspecific genetic diversity, species richness and phylogenetic diversity.

In  my research, I am using both traditional morphological taxonomy and metabarcoding to assess insect species richness and phylogenetic  diversity of insects.

2. Insect evolutionary biology

There is increasing support that we are currently witnessing a 6th mass  extinction of life on earth and humans are the driving force behind it.

The urbanization of Earth’s ecosystems is rapidly increasing and the global urban human population is growing with predictable changes in multiple aspects of the environment. For example, urban areas have increased air, water, light, and noise pollution, greater habitat fragmentation and loss, as well as more impervious surface compared to nearby non-urban habitats.

The urban environment is about as extreme as it gets, and the wild animals and plants that live side-by-side with us need to adapt to a whole suite of challenging conditions.

However, despite decades of research in urban ecology, the extent to which urbanization influences evolutionary change has received little attention.

My research focuses on understanding the demographic trends and genetic structure of insect species in the Anthropocene. Furthermore, I use  RAD-sequencing to examine potential evolutionary responses of bumblebees  to urbanisation.

3. Plant-pollinator interactions (networks)

Many  studies have so far focused on the effects of anthropogenic habitat use  on the diversity of pollinators and their host plants as well as on  plant-pollinator community composition. However, the effects of land use  change and local habitat on plants and insect pollinators are also  likely to influence their mutualistic interactions, thereby impacting  the architecture of their networks. The structure and complexity of  these mutualistic networks could be important in promoting community  stability and functioning.

In  my research I investigate local flower visitation networks to examine  how local habitat factors and the gradual change in dominant land use  type from agricultural to urban in the surrounding landscape affect  plant-pollinator communities and their interactions.

4. Pollination

Animal-mediated  pollination is required for the reproduction of the majority of  angiosperms and pollinators are therefore essential for ecosystem  functioning and the economy. However, during the last decades, numerous  reports have shown declines in numbers of both wild and managed  pollinators.

Reasons for bee decline mirror those for biodiversity (species diversity) decline in general are : agriculture intensification (pesticides, fertilizers, mono-cultures), invasive species, spread of pathogens, habitat fragmentation degradation and reduction and climate change.

In my research I investigate the relative effects on the ecosystem service of pollination of: (i) biodiversity (species richness; genetic diversity and phylogenetic diversity), (ii) visitation rates, (iii) local habitat, (iv) land-use change brought on by agriculture and urbanisation as well as (v) the prevalence of pollinator parasites.


2019- .Assistant/Associate Professor at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Institute of Biology, General Zoology.

2013-2018: PhD in Biology at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Institute of Biology, General Zoology, funded by iDiv (   )

2011-2012. Internship at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Institute of Biology, General Zoology.

2008-2011. M.Sc. in Biology at University of Iceland, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Department of Biology.

2003-2008. B.Sc. in Biology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Science, School of Biology.


2022 (6)

34. Bumble bee colony health and performance vary widely across the urban ecosystem    

Journal of Animal Ecology (2022)

Theodorou P., Kühn O., Baltz L.M., Wild C., Rasti S.R., Bucksch C., Strohm E., Paxton R., Kurze C. Full text    

33. Anthropogenic effects on the body size of two Neotropical orchid bees    

BMC Ecology and Evolution (2022)

Garlin J., Theodorou P., Kathe E., Quezada-Euan J., Paxton R.J., Soro A. Full text   

32. How much does a drop of sugar solution benefit a hatchling of Chrysoperla pallida (Neuroptera Chrysopidae)?   

Biological Control (2022), 104963

Pantaleoni R, Pusceddu M, Tauber C, Theodorou P, Loru L Full text   

31. The effects of urbanisation on ecological interactions   

Current Opinion in Insect Science, (2022), 100922

Thedorou P. Full text   

30. Crop pesticide impacts reproductive male quality signals leading to reduction of mating in wild solitary bees   

Journal of Applied Ecology (2022), 0 (1– 12)

S. Boff, T. Conrad, J. Raizer, M. Wehrhahn, M. Bayer, A. Friedel, P. Theodorou, T. Schmitt, D. Lupi. Full text   

29. Global urban environmental change drives adaptation in white clover   

Science (2022), 375:1275-1281

James  S. Santangelo,Robert W. Ness, Beata Cohan, Connor R. Fitzpatrick, Simon  G. Innes, Sophie Koch, Lindsay S. Miles, Samreen Munim, Pedro  Peres-Neto, Cindy Prashad, Alex T. Tong,..............., Panagiotis Theodorou,......., Marc T.J. Johnson. Full text   

2021 (7)

28. An integrative environmental pollen diversity assessment and its importance for the Sustainable Development Goals    

Plants, People, Planet (2021), 1-12

T. Hornick, M. Bastl, S. Bohlmann,......., I. Steffan-Dewenter, Theodorou Panagiotis, R. Treudler, B. Werchan, M. Werchan, R. Wolke, S. Dunker. Full text   

27. Honey bees increase social distancing when facing the ectoparasite Varroa destructor   

Science Advances (2021), 7(44)

Pusceddu Michelina, Cini Alessandro, Alberti Simona, Salaris Emanuele, Theodorou Panagiotis, Floris Ignazio, Satta Alberto. Full text   

26. A brief history and popularity of methods and tools used to estimate micro-evolutionary forces   

Ecology and Evolution (2021), 00:1-21

Jonathan Kidner, Panagiotis Theodorou, Jan O. Engler, Martin Taubert, Martin Husemann. Full text   

25. Apple pollination is ensured by wild bees when honey bees are drawn away from orchards by a mass co-flowering crop, oilseed rape   

Agricutlure Ecosystem and the Environment (2021), 315:107383

Julia Osterman, Panagiotis Theodorou, Rita Radzevičiūtė, Pascal Schnitker, Robert Paxton. Full text   

24. Urbanisation is associated with shifts in bumblebee body size with cascading effects on pollination   

Evolutionary Applications (2021), 14: 53– 68

Panagiotis Theodorou, Lucie Baltz , Robert J. Paxton, Antonella Soro. Full text   

23. Plant-pollinator networks in savannas of Burkina Faso, West Africa   

Diversity (2021), 13(1)

Katharina Stein, Drissa Coulibaly, Larba Hubert Balima, DethardtGötze, Karl Eduard Linsenmair, Stefan Porembski, Kathrin Stenchly, Panagiotis Theodorou. Full text   

22. A two-part modelling approach reveals a positive effect of pollinator biodiversity in boosting the pollination of apple flowers    

Agricutlure Ecosystems and the Environment (2021), 306, 107197

Rita Radzevičiūtė, Panagiotis Theodorou*, Martin Schlegel, Robert J. Paxton.Full text   

*corresponding author

2020 (5)

21. Urban fragmentation leads to lower floral diversity, with knock-on impacts on bee biodiversity   

Scientific Reports (2020), 10, 21756

Panagiotis Theodorou, Sarah Herbst, Belinda Kahnt, Patricia Landaverde-González, Lucie Baltz, Julia Osterman, Robert Paxton.Full text   

20. Disentangling  the effects of local resources, landscape and climatic seasonality on  bee biodiversity and plant-pollinator networks in tropical highlands   

Oecologia (2020), 194, 333-344

Escobedo-Kenefic Natalia, Landaverde-González Patricia, Panagiotis Theodorou*, Cardona Edson, Dardon María José, Martínez Oscar, López, Jessica, Domínguez César. Full text   

*corresponding author

19. Urban areas as hotspots for bees and pollination but not a panacea for all insects   

Nature Communications (2020), 11(1), 1-13

Panagiotis Theodorou,  Rita Radzevičiūte, Guillaume Lentendu, Belinda Kahnt, Martin Husemann,  Christoph Bleidorn, Josef Settele, Oliver Schweiger, Ivo Grosse, Tesfaye  Wubet, Tomás E. Murray, Robert J. Paxton. Full text   

18. Population genetics of the European rabbit along a rural-to-urban gradient   

Scientific Reports (2020), 10, 2448

Madlen Ziege, Panagiotis Theodorou, Hannah Jüngling, Stefan Merker, Martin Plath, Bruno Streit, and Hannes Lerp. Full text   

17. Propolis consumption reduces Nosema ceranae infection of European honey bees (Apis mellifera)   

Insects (2020), 11(2), 124

Alessandra Mura, Michelina Pusceddu, Panagiotis Theodorou, Alberto Angioni, Ignazio Floris, Robert Paxton, Alberto Satta. Full text   

2019 (4)

16. Should  I stay or should I go? Pollinator shifts rather than cospeciation  dominate the evolutionary history of South African Rediviva bees and  their Diascia host plants   

Molecular Ecology (2019), 28:4118– 4133

Belinda Kahnt, Wesley N. Hattingh, Panagiotis Theodorou, Nicolas Wieseke, Kelsey L. Glennon, Timo van der Niet, Robert Paxton, Glynis V. Goodman-Cron. Full text   

15. The  two prevalent genotypes of an emerging infectious disease,Deformed wing  virus, cause equally low pupal mortality and equally high wing  deformities in host honey bees   

Viruses (2019), 11(2)

Anja Tehel, Quynh Vu, Diane Bigot, Andreas Gogol-Döring, Peter Koch, Christina Jenkins, Vincent Doublet, Panagiotis Theodorou, Robert Paxton. Full text   

14. A roadmap for urban evolutionary ecology   

Evolutionary Applications (2019), 12:384-398

L.  Ruth Rivkin, James S. Santangelo, Marina Alberti, Myla F. J. Aronson,  Charlotte W. de Keyzer , Sarah E. Diamond, Marie-Josée Fortin, Lauren J.  Frazee, Amanda J. Gorton, Andrew P. Hendry, Yang Liu, Jonathan Losos,  J. Scott MacIvor, Ryan A. Martin, Mark McDonnell, Lindsay S. Miles,  Jason Munshi-South, Robert Ness, Amy Newman, Mason Stothart, Panagiotis Theodorou, Ken A. Thompson, Brian C. Verrelli, Andrew Whitehead, Kristin M. Winchell, Marc T. J. Johnson Full text   

13. Resin foraging dynamics in Varroa destructor infested hives. A case of medication of kin?    

Insect Science (2019), 26, 297-310

M. Pusceddu, G. Piluzza, Panagiotis Theodorou, F. Buffa, L. Ruiu, S. Bullitta, I. Floris, A. Satta. Full text   

2018 (4)

12.    Small and genetically highly structured populations in a long-legged bee, Rediviva longimanus, as inferred by pooled RAD-seq   

BMC Evolutionary Biology (2018), 8:196

Belinda Kahnt, Panagiotis Theodorou, Antonella Soro, Hilke Hollens, Michael Kuhlmann, Anton Pauw, Robert J. Paxton. Full text   

11. The effects of raw propolis on Varroa-infested honey bee (Apis mellifera) workers   

Parasitology Research (2018), 117, 3527-3535.

Michelina Pusceddu; Ignazio Floris; Alessandra Mura; Panagiotis Theodorou; Giorgia Cirotto; Giovanna Piluzza; Simonetta Bullitta; Angioni Alberto; Alberto Satta. Full text   

10. Genome-wide SNP scan suggests adaptation to urbanization in an important pollinator, the red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius L.)   

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2018), 285, 20172806.

Panagiotis Theodorou, Rita Radzevičiūte, Belinda Kahnt, Antonella Soro, Ivo Grosse, Robert J. Paxton. Author URL   

9. Hopper parasitoids do not significantly benefit from non-crop habitats in rice production landscapes   

Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment (2018), 254, 224-232.

Christina Sann, Panagiotis Theodorou, Kong Luen Heong, Sylvia Villareal, Josef Settele, Stefan Vidal, Catrin Westphal. Full text   

2017 (4)

8. Replication of honey bee RNA viruses across multiple bee species in apple orchards of Georgia, Germany and Kyrgyzstan   

Journal of Invertebrate Pathology (2017),146, 12-23

Rita Radzevičiūtė, Panagiotis Theodorou, Martin Husemann, George Japoshvili, Giorgi Kirkitadze, Aigul Zhusupbaeva, Robert Paxton Full text   

7. Sweat  bees on hot chillies: provision of pollination services by native bees  in traditional slash-and-burn agriculture in the Yucatan Peninsula of  tropical Mexico   

Journal of Applied Ecology (2017), 54, 1814-1824.

Patricia Landaverde-González, J. Javier Quezada-Euán, Panagiotis Theodorou, Tomás E. Murray, Ricardo Ayala, José Humberto Moo-Valle, Martin Husemann, Rémy Vandame, and Robert J. Paxton Full text.   

6. The structure of flower-visitor networks in relation to pollination across an agricultural to urban gradient   

Functional Ecology (2017), 31, 838-847

Panagiotis Theodorou, Karoline Albig, Rita Radzevičiūtė, Josef Settele, Oliver Schweiger, Tomás E. Murray, Robert J. Paxton. Full text.   

5. The population genetics of two orchid bees suggests high Ne, high dispersal, low diploid male production and only an effect of island isolation in lowering genetic diversity   

Conservation Genetics (2017), 18, 607-619

Antonella Soro, J. Javier G. Quezada-Euan, Panagiotis Theodorou, Robin F. A. Moritz, Robert J. Paxton Full text.   

2016 (1)

4. Pollination services enhanced with urbanisation despite increasing pollinator parasitism   

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2016), 283, 20160561.

Panagiotis Theodorou, Rita Radzevičiūtė, Josef Settele, Oliver Schweiger, Tomás E. Murray, Robert J. Paxton. Full text.   

2015 (1)

3. A sting in the spit: widespread cross-infection of multiple RNA viruses across wild and managed bees   

Journal of Animal Ecology (2015), 84, 615-624

McMahon, D. P.; Fuerst, Matthias A.; Caspar, Jessica; Theodorou, Panagiotis; Brown, Mark J F; Paxton, Robert J. Full text.    

2013 (1)

2. Habitat complexity affects how young of the year Atlantic cod Gadus morhua perceive predation threat from older conspecifics   

Journal of Fish Biology (2013), 82, 2141-2146

Theodorou, P. , Snorrason, S. S. and Ólafsdóttir, G. Á. Full text.   

2012 (1)

1. Reaching the limit: constrained behavioural flexibility of juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) at current costal temperatures   

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology (2012), 413, 192-197

Theodorou, P. , Ólafsdóttir, G.Á. and Snorrason, S.S., Full text.   


Urban Eco Evo network associate

iDiv assoiate member

European Society for Evolutionary Biology

Genetics Society

British Ecological Society

Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ)

Other scientific activities

Member of the Topic Board of the scientific journal Insects    


  • DFG (German Research Foundation)
  • Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR)
  • Molecular Ecology
  • Functional Ecology
  • BMC Ecology
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Biological Conservation
  • Ecological Applications
  • Sustainability
  • Journal of Insect Conservation
  • Landscape and Urban Planning
  • Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
  • Oecologia
  • Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
  • Insects