• Honeybees (partly marked) on the edge of a brood frame
Chair of Behavioral Physiology & Sociobiology

Thamm, Markus

Dr. Markus Thamm

Research group leader
Zoology II / Thamm lab
Universität Würzburg
Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg
Building: B1 (Biozentrum)
Room: D113
Link: Thamm lab
Portrait of Dr. Markus Thamm

A honey bee colony (Apis mellifera) consists of several thousand individuals, the majority of which are worker bees. Worker bees are responsible for important tasks in the colony (cleaning, brood rearing, foraging, etc.). For this purpose, worker bees have an enormous behavioural spectrum and great behavioural plasticity.
For example, a honey bee colony is able to regulate the climatic conditions in the hive very precisely. They can produce heat or actively contribute to cooling. On the one hand, this is necessary because the honey bee brood is very sensitive to the slightest fluctuations. On the other hand, honey bees are able to live in very different climatic zones or actively survive cold winters.
Our research focuses on the molecular and physiological mechanisms that enable certain behaviours and their plasticity in the first place. A particular focus is on the aminergic system. The methods we combine in our investigations cover a wide range of different fields, with molecular biology, neurochemical analysis and behavioural pharmacology being of particular importance.


  • Walking bumblebees see faster. Rother, Lisa; Müller, Robin; Kirschenmann, Erwin; Foster, James J.; Kaya-Zeeb, Sinan; Thamm, Markus; Pfeiffer, Keram. In Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 290, p. 20230460. 2023.
  • Intrasexual cuticular hydrocarbon dimorphism in a wasp sheds light on hydrocarbon biosynthesis genes in Hymenoptera. Moris, Victoria C.; Podsiadlowski, Lars; Martin, Sebastian; Oeyen, Jan Philip; Donath, Alexander; Petersen, Malte; Wilbrandt, Jeanne; Misof, Bernhard; Liedtke, Daniel; Thamm, Markus; Scheiner, Ricarda; Schmitt, Thomas; Niehuis, Oliver. In Communicatons Biology, 6(147). 2023.
  • Robustness of the honeybee neuro-muscular octopaminergic system in the face of cold stress. Kaya-Zeeb, Sinan; Delac, Saskia; Wolf, Lena; Marante, Ana Luiza; Scherf-Clavel, Oliver; Thamm, Markus. In Frontiers in Physiology, 13. Frontiers Media {SA}, 2022.
  • Octopamine drives honeybee thermogenesis. Kaya-Zeeb, Sinan; Engelmayer, Lorenz; Straßburger, Mara; Bayer, Jasmin; Bähre, Heike; Seifert, Roland; Scherf-Clavel, Oliver; Thamm, Markus. In eLife, 11, p. e74334. eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd, 2022.
  • Characterization of the 5-HT1A receptor of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) and involvement of serotonin in phototactic behavior.. Thamm, Markus; Balfanz, Sabine; Scheiner, Ricarda; Baumann, Arnd; Blenau, Wolfgang. In Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 67(14), pp. 2467–2479. 2010.