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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.



29. Santangelo, J. S., Ness, R. W., Cohan, B., Fitzpatrick, C. R., Innes, S.     G., Koch, S.,….Theodorou P… Johnson, M. T. J. (2022). Global urban environmental change drives adaptation in white clover.    Science, 375(6586), 1275–1281.      href="   "> Author URL     


28. Kidner J, Theodorou P, Engler JO, et al. 2021. A     brief history and popularity of methods and tools used to estimate     micro‐evolutionary forces. Ecol Evol.      href="   "> Author URL     

27. Osterman J, Theodorou P, Radzevičiūtė R, et al. 2021. Apple pollination is ensured bywildbees when honey bees are drawn away from orchards by a mass co-flowering crop, oilseed rape.    Agric Ecosyst Environ 315: 107383.      href="   " > Author URL     

26. Stein, K., Coulibaly, D., Balima, L. H., Goetze, D., Linsenmair, K. E.,     Porembski, S., … Theodorou, P. (2020). Plant-Pollinator Networks in Savannas of Burkina Faso, West Africa. Diversity, 13(1), 1. href="   ">Author URL

25. Panagiotis Theodorou , Lucie Baltz, Robert J. Paxton, Antonella Soro (2020). Urbanisation is     associated with shifts in bumblebee body size, with cascading effects on     pollination Evolutionary Applications,      href="   "> Author URL     

24. Rita Radzevičiūtė, Panagiotis Theodorou*, Martin Schlegel,     Robert J. Paxton (2020). A two-part modelling approach reveals a positive     effect of pollinator biodiversity in boosting the pollination of apple     flowers. Agriculture Ecosystems and the Environment,      href="   " > Author URL     

* Corresponding author


23. Theodorou, P., Herbst, S.-C., Kahnt, B., Landaverde-González, P., Baltz, L. M., Osterman,     J., & Paxton, R. J. (2020). Urban fragmentation leads to lower floral     diversity, with knock-on impacts on bee biodiversity. Scientific Reports 2020 10:1, 10(1), 1–11.     href="   ">Author URL

22. Escobedo-Kenefic Natalia, Landaverde-González Patricia,    Panagiotis Theodorou, Cardona Edson, Dardon María José,     Martínez Oscar, López, Jessica, Domínguez César (2020). Disentangling the     effects of local resources, landscape and climatic seasonality on bee     biodiversity and plant-pollinator networks in tropical highlands Oecologia,      href="   " > Author URL     

21. 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 (2020).Urban areas as hotspots for bees and pollination but not a panacea for all insectsNature Communications, 11(1), 1-13     href="   ">Author URL

20. Madlen Ziege, Panagiotis Theodorou, Hannah     Jüngling, Stefan Merker, Martin Plath, Bruno Streit, and Hannes Lerp     (2020). Population genetics of the European rabbit along a rural-to-urban gradient Scientific Reports, 2448     href="   ">Author URL

19. Alessandra Mura, Michelina Pusceddu, Panagiotis Theodorou,     Alberto Angioni, Ignazio Floris, Robert Paxton, Alberto Satta. Propolis     consumption reduces Nosema ceranae infection of European honey bees (Apis mellifera) Insects, 11(2), 124 href="   ">Author URL


18. M. Pusceddu, G. Piluzza, Panagiotis Theodorou, F.     Buffa, L. Ruiu, S. Bullitta, I. Floris, A. Satta (2019). Resin foraging dynamics in Varroa destructor infested hives. A case of medication of kin?    Insect Science, 26, 297-310.      href="   "> Author URL     

17. Belinda Kahnt, Wesley N. Hattingh,    Panagiotis Theodorou, Nicolas Wieseke, Kelsey L.     Glennon, Timo van der Niet, Robert Paxton, Glynis V. Goodman-Cron. 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 (2019). Molecular Ecology.      href="   "> Author URL     

16. Anja Tehel, Quynh Vu, Diane Bigot, Andreas Gogol-Döring, Peter Koch, Christina Jenkins, Vincent Doublet,    Panagiotis Theodorou, Robert Paxton     (2019). 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, 11(2).     href="   ">Author URL


15 . Belinda Kahnt, Panagiotis Theodorou, Antonella     Soro, Hilke Hollens, Michael Kuhlmann, Anton Pauw, Robert J. Paxton (2018). Small and genetically highly structured populations in a long-legged bee,Rediviva longimanus, as inferred by pooled RAD-seq.    BMC Evolutionary Biology.      href="   " > Author URL     

14. 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 (2018). A roadmap for urban evolutionary ecology.    Evolutionary Applications. href="   "> Author URL      .

13. Michelina Pusceddu; Ignazio Floris;     Alessandra Mura; Panagiotis Theodorou; Giorgia     Cirotto; Giovanna Piluzza; Simonetta Bullitta; Angioni Alberto; Alberto Satta (2018). The effects of raw propolis on Varroa-infested honey bee (    Apis mellifera) workers. Parasitology Research.      href="   "> Author URL      .

12. Panagiotis Theodorou , Rita Radzevičiūte, Belinda Kahnt, Antonella Soro, Ivo Grosse, Robert J.     Paxton (2018). 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, 285,     20172806.      href="   "> Author URL      .

11. Christina Sann, Panagiotis Theodorou, Kong Luen     Heong, Sylvia Villareal, Josef Settele, Stefan Vidal, Catrin Westphal     (2018). Hopper parasitoids do not significantly benefit from non-crop habitats in rice production landscapes.    Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 254, 224-232.      href="   " > Author URL.     


10. M. Pusceddu, G. Piluzza, Panagiotis Theodorou, F.     Buffa, L. Ruiu, S. Bullitta, I. Floris, A. Satta (2017). Resin foraging dynamics in Varroa destructor infested hives. A case of medication of kin?    Insect Science. dio: 10.1111/1744-7917.12515.      href="   " > Author URL.     

9. Rita Radzevičiūtė,    Panagiotis Theodorou, Martin Husemann,     George Japoshvili, Giorgi Kirkitadze, Aigul Zhusupbaeva, Robert Paxton     (2017). Replication of honey bee RNA viruses across multiple bee species in apple orchards of Georgia, Germany and Kyrgyzstan.    Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 146, 12-23. doi      href="   ">        

8. 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 (2017). 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.      href="   " > doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12860        

7. Panagiotis Theodorou , Karoine Albig, Rita Radzevičiūtė, Josef Settele, Oliver Schweiger, Tomás     E. Murray, Robert J. Paxton (2017). The structure of flower-visitor     networks in relation to pollination across an agricultural to urban     gradient. Functional Ecology.      href="   " > doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12803     


6. Antonella Soro, J. Javier G. Quezada-Euan, Panagiotis Theodorou,     Robin F. A. Moritz, Robert J. Paxton (2016). 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.      href="   " > doi:10.1007/s10592-016-0912-8        

5. Panagiotis Theodorou and Antonella Soro (2016). Linear mixed-effects models to control for the     variability of microsatellite loci when comparing genetic diversity.      href="   ">         (Vignettes for Population Genetics in R     href="   ">   )

4. Panagiotis Theodorou , Rita Radzevičiūtė, Josef Settele, Oliver Schweiger, Tomás E. Murray,     Robert J. Paxton (2016): Pollination services enhanced with urbanisation despite increasing pollination parasitism.    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. href="   "> doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0561      [Press coverage in      href="   ">      and in      href="   " >      ] and in      href="   " > Science for Environmental Policy (European commission)     


3. McMahon, D. P.; Fuerst, Matthias A.; Caspar, Jessica;    Theodorou, Panagiotis; Brown, Mark J F; Paxton,     Robert J. (2015). A sting in the spit: widespread cross-infection of multiple RNA viruses across wild and managed bees.    Journal of Animal Ecology.      href="   " > doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12345      [Press coverage      href="   "> ScienceDaily      ]


2. Theodorou, P. , Snorrason, S. S. and Ólafsdóttir, G. Á. (2013). Habitat complexity     affects how young of the year Atlantic cod Gadus morhua perceive     predation threat from older conspecifics. Journal of Fish Biology.     doi: 10.1111/jfb.12140


1. Theodorou, P. , Ólafsdóttir, G.Á. and Snorrason, S.S., (2012). Reaching the limit: constrained behavioural flexibility of juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) at current costal temperatures.    Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, 413 , 192-197. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2011.12.009.


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