Dr. Paul Siefert

Research assistant

Institut für Bienenkunde,
Polytechnische Gesellschaft
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main,
FB Biowissenschaften
Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2
61440 Oberursel


+49-(0)6171-212 78
+49-(0)6171-257 69

Scientific interest

Risk evaluations for agricultural chemicals are necessary to preserve healthy populations of honey bee colonies. Field studies on whole colonies cannot detect behavioural impacts, while lab studies don’t allow conclusions on potential colony impacts.  The solution, non-disturbing long-term recordings of within-hive behaviour, were hitherto missing. I developed a video registration method that enables within-cell analysis in honey bee (Apis mellifera) observation hives to conduct impact analyses of chemicals, pests and other stressors on worker behaviour and development using our machine learning algorithm.

The cholinergic system is a popular target of insecticides, because the pharmacology of insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) differs substantially from their vertebrate counterparts. Besides its effects on behavior, it becomes increasingly evident that neonicotinoids affect developmental processes in bees that appear to be independent of neuronal AChRs. Brood food (royal jelly, worker jelly or drone jelly) produced in the hypopharyngeal glands of nurse bees contains millimolar concentrations of ACh, which is required for proper larval development. I investigate the underlying modes of actions of acetylcholine in honeybee development.


Grünewald, B. & Siefert, P. Acetylcholine and its receptors in honeybees: Involvement in development and impairments by neonicotinoids. Insects 10, 420 (2019). https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4450/10/12/420

Siefert, P., Hota, R., Ramesh, V. & Grünewald, B. Chronic within-hive video recordings detect altered nursing behaviour and retarded larval development of neonicotinoid treated honey bees. Sci. Rep. 10, 8727 (2020). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-65425-y

Siefert P, Buling N, Grünewald B. Honey bee behaviours within the hive: Insights from long-term video analysis. PLoS ONE 16(3): e0247323 (2021). https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0247323


Selected talks


Tagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Bienenforschung e.V. (Celle)Impacts of clothianidin and thiacloprid on brood care and larval development of Apis mellifera 


Arthropod Neuroscience Network Spring Meeting (Altleiningen)Neonicotinoid effects at field realistic concentrations on brood development and worker behavior


EurBee 8 (Ghent)Neonicotinoid effects at field realistic concentrations on brood development and worker behavior


Deutscher Berufs- und Erwerbsimkerbund (Donaueschingen)Die Bienenentwicklung unter der Lupe: Videos und Verhaltensanalysen aus dem Bienenvolk

Curriculum vitae

since 2018

Research assistant at the Bee Research Institute of the Polytechnische Gesellschaft, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main


Doctoral degree , PhD, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main

2014 - 2018

Doctoral research study at the Bee Research Institute

2012 / 2013

Stay abroad, Work & Travel in New Zealand


Diploma thesis „Cholinergic influence on the rat's auditory attetion“, Bernhard Gaese / Kössl workgroup

2007 / 2008

Stay abroad & practical work in Australia, Schleucher / Prinzinger workgroup

2005 - 2011

Studies in biology at the Goethe-University Frankfurt. Degree: Diploma