Hauke Koch

Early Career Research Fellow, Ann Sowerby Fellow in Pollinator Health


Job title: 
Early Career Research Fellow, Ann Sowerby Fellow in Pollinator Health
Natural Capital and Plant Health
Foreign languages: 
German, basic Spanish


The pollen and nectar diet of pollinators contains a rich diversity of plant metabolites. So far, the impact of plant secondary compounds on pollinator health remains however poorly understood. As the Ann Sowerby Fellow in Pollinator Health at Kew, I am investigating the chemical diversity of pollen and nectar in important bee foraging plants of the UK, and the effect of selected compounds on microbial parasites of bees. I am especially interested in experimentally testing the interactions between secondary plant compounds, parasites, and the specific bacterial gut microbiome of bees. Ultimately, an improved understanding of beneficial or detrimental effects of native or invasive flowering plants on bee health will help to better support pollinator populations in the UK. Given the growing concerns about pollinator decline caused by habitat destruction, pesticides, and global spread of pathogens, this research is particularly urgent.


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, USA 2013-2015
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University, USA, 2012-2013
  • PhD, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2012
  • MSc, Imperial College/Natural History Museum London, UK, 2007
  • Undergraduate Studies, University of Rostock, Germany, 2003-2006


Selected publications: 

Kwong, W. K., Engel, P., Koch, H., & Moran, N. A. (2014). Genomics and host specialization of honey bee and bumble bee gut symbionts.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 11509-11514.Available online

McArt, S. H., Koch, H., Irwin, R. E., & Adler, L. S. (2014). Arranging the bouquet of disease: floral traits and the transmission of plant and animal pathogens. Ecology Letters 17: 624-636. Available online

Koch, H., Abrol, D. P., Li, J., & Schmid‐Hempel, P. (2013). Diversity and evolutionary patterns of bacterial gut associates of corbiculate bees. Molecular Ecology 22: 2028-2044. Available online

Koch, H., & Schmid‐Hempel, P. (2012). Gut microbiota instead of host genotype drive the specificity in the interaction of a natural host‐parasite system. Ecology Letters 15: 1095-1103. Available online

Koch, H., & Schmid-Hempel, P. (2011). Socially transmitted gut microbiota protect bumble bees against an intestinal parasite. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108: 19288-19292. Available online

Further information