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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)

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) 

Recently completed projects 

URBEESTRESS: disentangling the importance of stressors on the biodiversity of wild bees in Brussels Capital Region (Belgium) (2017-2022))

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 Agroecology & Conservation Ecology (BING-F-430, with Prof. G. Mahy), Agroecological Innovations & Food Production (BING-F-431), as well as an 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). 

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 European Bee Course is back on tracks since 2023, 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.J., Weekers, T., Leclercq, N., De Greef, S., Hainaut, H., Molenberg, J. M., Martin Prevel, Y., Janssens, X., Noel, G., Pauly, A., Roberts, S. P. M., & Marshall, L. (2020). Insect biomass is not a consistent proxy for biodiversity metrics in wild bees. Ecological indicators, 107132

- Vereecken, N.J., Weekers, T., Marshall, L., D'Haeseleer, J., Cuypers, M., Pauly, A., Pasau, B., Leclercq, N., Tshibungu Nkulu, A., Molenberg, J. M., & De Greef, S. (2021). Five years of citizen science and standardised field surveys in an informal urban green space reveal a threatened Eden for wild bees in Brussels, Belgium. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 14(6), 868-876.

- Noiset, P., Cabirol, N., Rojas-Oropeza, M., Warrit, N., Nkoba, K., & Vereecken, N.J. (2022). Honey compositional convergence and the parallel domestication of social bees. Scientific Reports, 12(1).

- Weekers, T., Marshall, L., Leclercq, N., Wood, T. J., Cejas, D., Drepper, B., Hutchinson, L. L., Michez, D., Molenberg, J. M., Smagghe, G. G., Vandamme, P., & Vereecken, N.J. (2022). Dominance of honey bees is negatively associated with wild bee diversity in commercial apple orchards regardless of management practices. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 323, 107697.

- Leclercq, N., Marshall, L., Caruso, G., Schiel, K., Weekers, T., Carvalheiro, L. G., Dathe, H., Kuhlmann, M., Michez, D., Potts, S. G., Rasmont, P., Roberts, S. P. M., Smagghe, G. G., Vandamme, P., & Vereecken, N.J. (2023). European bee diversity: Taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns. Journal of Biogeography, 50(7), 1244-1256.

All publications are available upon request or through ResearchGate

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