Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie

Benjamin Kaluza

Phd student

Telephone: +49 (0)931 31-88050
Fax:             +49 (0)931 31-84352
e-Mail: benjamin.kaluza@uni-wuerzburg.de

Room C015

University of Würzburg
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology
Biocenter - Am Hubland

97074 Würzburg, Germany

Research Interests
  • Plant-pollinator interactions

  • Foraging behaviour

  • Conservation practices and socio-economic implications

  • Island biogeography

  • Ornithology

Importance of resource diversity for stingless bees in Australia (DFG Project)

Principal investigator: Sara Leonhardt

Biodiversity is known to be crucial for ecosystem functioning and stability. Moreover, species rich systems provide a diversity of resources to be exploited, with diversity on one level (e.g., primary producers/resources) strongly affecting other levels (e.g., consumers). But how resource diversity affects other species/ higher trophic levels that depend on these resources has been poorly investigated. We attempt to unravel the mechanisms by which resource diversity affects eusocial stingless bees. Stingless bees collect both floral resources (pollen and nectar) for nutrition, but also other plant materials (e.g., plant resins) for nest construction, nest defense and to build up their chemical body and nest profiles. They collect all these resources from various plant species available. We investigate whether this broad resource collection is by chance or adaptive and whether as well as how bees collecting in diverse ecosystems (e.g., rainforests, suburban habitats) gain a fitness advantage over bees collecting in less diverse habitats or even monocultures (e.g., timber plantations, eucalypt forests).
In collaboration with: Helen Wallace, Tim Heard

Curriculum Vitae


  • 02/2011 – 11/2016 binational PhD, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia & Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany. Project: Resource use of stingless bees (Meliponini)
  • 10/2005 – 02/2010 Studies in Biology (Dipl. biol. univ.), Julius-Maximilians University Würzburg. Major in Tropical Biology & Animal Ecology, Minors in Behavioural Physiology and Vegetation Ecology.

    Thesis: Functional linkage of bird traits and environmental constraints along an elevational gradient

  • 10/2003 – 10/2005 Undergraduate studies in Biology, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg.

Field Research and Conservation Work:

  • 02/2011 – 04/2014 Field work in Queensland, Australia. Study of resource use of stingless (Meliponini), behavioural assays and fitness response across different landscapes
  • 03-07/2008 & 03-07/2010 Consulting in Ornithology, Karlstadt, Germany. Surveys of bird’s breeding distribution and conservation expertise
  • 03/2009 – 07/2009 Field work in the National Park Bavarian Forest, Germany. Study of bird communities along altitude gradients
  • 08/2006 – 10/2006 Field work in the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre, Brunei Darussalam. Study of host-parasite interactions on rainforest frogs
  • 07/2002 - 04/2003 Civilian Service as conservation officer in the Nature Reserve Haseldorfer Marsch, Germany. Periodic bird surveys and conservation reports

Kaluza BF, Wallace H, Keller A, Heard TA, Jeffers B, Drescher N, Blüthgen N and Leonhardt SD (2017): Generalist social bees maximize diversity intake in plant species-rich and resource-abundant environments. Ecosphere 8(3): e01758-n/a. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.1758

Leonhardt SD, Kaluza BF, Wallace H & Heard TA (2016): Resources or landmarks: which factors drive homing success in Tetragonula carbonaria foraging in natural and disturbed landscapes? Journal of Comparative Physiology A  202(9): 701-708. doi:10.1007/s00359-016-1100-5

Kaluza BF, Wallace HM, Heard TA, Klein AM & Leonhardt SD (2016): Urban gardens promote bee foraging over natural habitats and plantations. Ecology and Evolution  6(5): 1304-1316. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1941

Kaluza BF, Wallace HM, Heard TA & Leonhardt SD (2015): Plant resource diversity promotes foraging and colony fitness in a tropical social bee. Talk at the 52nd Annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), Honolulu, USA.

Kaluza BF, Wallace HM, Heard TA & Leonhardt SD (2014): How Landscape Related Resource Diversity Boosts Bee Fitness. Talk at the 11th Hymenopterologen-Tagung, Stuttgart, Germany.

Kaluza BF, Wallace HM, Heard TA & Leonhardt SD (2014): Landscape Related Resource Diversity Boosts Bee Fitness. Talk at the 107th Annual meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG), Göttingen, Germany.

Kaluza BF, Wallace HM, Heard TA & Leonhardt SD (2014): Diversity Matters: How Landscape Related Resource Diversity Boosts Bee Fitness. Talk at the 51st Annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), Cairns, Australia.

Kaluza BF, Wallace HM, Heard TA, Klein AM, Nagler J & Leonhardt SD (2012): Resource use of stingless bees. Talk at the 42nd Annual meeting of the German Ecological Society (GFÖ), Lüneburg, Germany.

Kaluza BF, Wallace HM, Heard TA, Klein AM & Leonhardt SD (2012): How do social bees respond to differences in resource diversity of landscapes? Poster at the 5th European Conference of Apidology (EurBee), Halle, Germany.

Kaluza B (2010): Funktionale Beziehungen von Vogelmerkmalen und Habitatstruktur entlang eines Mittelgebirgsgradienten. Diploma Thesis at the Faculty of Biology, Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg, Germany.

Grafe TU, Mohd Saat HB, Hagen N, Kaluza B, Hj Berudin ZB & Abdul Wahab MAB (2008): Acoustic localisation of frog hosts by blood-sucking flies Corethrella Coquillet (Diptera: Corethrellidae) in Borneo. Australian Journal of Entomology, 47: 350–354.


Lehrstuhl für Zoologie III (Tierökologie)
Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg

Tel.: +49 931 31-84350
Fax: +49 931 31-84352

Suche Ansprechpartner

Hubland Süd, Geb. B1 Hubland Nord, Geb. 32 Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2 Fabrikschleichach Hubland Süd, Geb. B3 Campus Medizin