Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie

Gemma N. Villagómez G.

Gemma Villagómez

Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology
Biocenter, University of Würzburg
Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg
Raum: C015

  • Stingless bees Biology
  • Tropical Biology
  • Biological rhythms
  • Chemical Ecology
  • Mathematical and Theoretical Biology

The main objective of my PhD is to understand species-specific differences in foraging patterns and resource intake of stingless bee colonies in a tropical ecosystem in Ecuador and Costa Rica. My specific objectives are:
1. Explore the species richness of floral sources visited (pollen and resin via DNA-metabarcoding) and resource intake (i.e. foraging activity, protein content of collected pollen, sugar concentration in collected nectar) of different stingless bee nests.
2. Explore species-specific nutritional preferences (protein and lipid content in pollen, sugar concentration in nectar), floral and resin sources visited by different stingless bees, as well as changes in bee-plant networks over the course of the day.
3. Explore preferences of stingless bees with regard to nectar chemistry using feeding choice and cafeteria experiments.
4. Improve a protocol to extract and quantify fatty acids in pollen samples.

Stingless bee resource collection and foraging activity

Science communication. Co-founder of “Deduci” (science communication and educational project). The project consists of 2 Facebook pages (@Deduci.info, @Ek.deduci) and 1 Instagram account (@ek.deduci) where diverse science content is posted in Spanish for non-academics.

  • 02/2019 - present: PhD candidate Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg.
  • 09/2016 – 10/2018: Master of Science in Biology, University of Würzburg.

Master’s Dissertation: "Effects of temperature and photoperiod on the seasonal timing of western honey bee colonies and two wild bulbous plants".

  • 09/2010 – 09/2015: Bachelor in Biology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México.

Bachelor’s Dissertation: "Importancia de los heterodímeros PER:CRY y CLOCK:BMAL1 en la oscilación circadiana molecular: un acercamiento matemático". (Importance of the heterodimers PER:CRY and CLOCK:BMAL1 in the molecular circadian oscillation: a mathematical approach)

  • Villagómez GN, Spaethe J., Leonhardt SD. "Sweet, salty, or savory: nutrient composition affects nectar foraging choices in the stingless bee Trigona fulviventris" (under review)
  • Villagómez GN., Keller A., Rasmussen C, Lozano P., Donoso DA., Blüthgen N., Leonhardt SD. "Food and defense – The effect of resin collection on stingless bee foraging" (under preparation)
  • Villagómez GN.,Brachvogel RC., Kárpáti Z., Leonhardt SD., Schmitt T., Ruedenauer FA. (2023) "A common protocol for reliable comparison of pollen fatty acid profiles: highlighting pitfalls and proposing a methodology for ecological research". Front. Ecol. Evol. 11:1141832. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2023.1141832
  • Villagomez GN, Nürnberger F, Requier F, Schiele S, Steffan-Dewenter I. (2021) "Effects of temperature and photoperiod on the seasonal timing of Western honey bee colonies and an early spring flowering plant" . Ecol Evol.; 11: 7834– 7849. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7616