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Prof. Nicolas J. Vereecken

Associate Professor — Chargé de Cours

Chair of Agroecology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)473 603 563


Profile & curriculum

MSc in Agricultural Sciences (1999-2004) (Gembloux AgroBioTech, ULiège)

FRIA PhD in Biological Sciences (2004-2008) (Université libre de Bruxelles & ETH Zürich)

FNRS Post-doctoral Research Associate (2008-2012) (Université libre de Bruxelles & University of Zürich)

Research interests

  • Agroecological innovations and the evolution of alternative agricultural production systems

  • Evaluating pollination deficits in crops, developing adaptation and mitigation solutions for sustainable production

  • Understanding the interrelationships between species richness, functional and phylogenetic diversity at different spatial and temporal scales

  • Urban biodiversity and urban green spaces management for biodiversity and human well-being

  • The multi-component nature of urban agriculture: food security, ecosystem services and beyond

Current research projects

Ongoing funded projects 

Biodiversity conservation in Burkina Faso with a focus on elephants, bees and shea butter production (2018-present)

URBEESTRESS: disentangling the importance of stressors on the biodiversity of wild bees in Brussels Capital Region (Belgium) (2017-present)

POLBEES: Evaluating the exposure risk for wild and domesticated bees to systemic pesticides and to nutritional stress via pollen (2017-present)

CLiPS: Climate change and its effect on pollination service with UGent and UMons (EOS project funded by the FNRS/FWO, 2018-2023)

ISeBAF: Insect Service and Biodiversity in Agroecological Farming (BELSPO/BRAIN 2.0 with MRAC Tervuren and RBINS Brussels, 2020-2024)

Afrotropical stingless bees: Comparative honey analyses, pollen sequencing and species distribution models with icipe (FNRS PDR, 2020-2024) 

WildBnB: Wild bees in Brussels, Atlas and monitoring with Natuurpunt, Natagora and RBINS Brussels (Bruxelles Environnement, 2019-2022)

Related topics of research 

Urban bees and their landscape: how landscape configuration drives the community structure of wild bees and hoverflies (2015-present)

Crop pollination by bees: assessing the importance of wild bees as alternative crop pollinators, and how to support pollination (2015-present) 

Functional diversity and diversified micro-farms: can micro-farms and agroforestry contribute to biodiversity conservation? (2015-present)

The biogeography of wild bees: with studies carried out in Singapore, Chile, DRCongo, etc. (2015-present)

The multi-faceted nature of urban agriculture: linking academia to urban agriculture through courses, research and more (2014-present)


I am involved in teaching programmes within the ULB for a range of undergraduate students in agricultural sciences and social sciences, but also at the national and international levels. 


Within the ULB, my teaching programme focuses on Research & Development in Agroecology (BING-F-430), Agroecological Innovations & Ecosystem Services (BING-F-431), as well as Introduction to Entomology (BING-F-4004). Together with Prof. Charles De Cannière, I also supervise 3 months of Internship in agronomic sciences (BING-F-534). I am also contributing to Prof. Marjolein Visser's Introduction to Agroecology (BING-F-305) at ULB.

Since 2016, I am actively involved in the International Master Programme on Agroecology together with colleagues from Paris-Saclay (France) and Gembloux AgroBioTech (ULiège). In parallel, I have also been actively involved as a teacher in the first European Bee Course led by Prof. Denis Michez (UMons, Belgium) within the framework of the EU COST "SUPER-B" initiative. The Bee Course is aimed at young researchers in Europe and neighbouring regions willing to improve their taxonomic and ecological skills on wild bees.

Five key publications

- Vereecken N, 2017Découvrir et protéger nos abeilles sauvages. Glénat Editions, Paris, France, 192p.

- Vereecken NJ, 2017. A phylogenetic approach to conservation prioritization for Europe's bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus). Biological Conservation 206: 21-30.

- Vanderplanck M, Vereecken NJ, Grumiau L, Esposito F, Lognay GC, Wattiez R & Michez D, 2017. The importance of pollen chemistry in evolutionary host shifts of bees. Scientific Reports 7: 43058

- Vereecken NJ, Wilson CA, Hötling S, Schulz S, Banketov S & Mardulyn P, 2012. Pre-adaptations and the evolution of pollination by sexual deception: Cope’s rule of specialisation revisited. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 279(1748): 4786-4794. 

- Vereecken NJ & Schiestl FP, 2008. The evolution of imperfect floral mimicry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 105(21): 7484–7488.

All publications are available upon request or through ResearchGate

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