Research interests

  • Disease ecology
  • Bee viruses
  • Pollinator health
  • Invasive species






Scientific projects

I am an ecologist interested in host-pathogen communities. My research combines field studies with molecular tools and ecological modelling. Currently, I study how the introduction of a virus vector affects disease transmission in bee communities.

Pollinator health declines and associated drivers such as pathogens have sparked concerns about declining biodiversity and threats to food security. Many pathogens that affect bee communities are multi-host RNA viruses. In honey bees, the global spread of a parasitic mite that vectors viruses has driven the emergence of a viral epidemic. As honey bees share floral resources with other species, such as bumble bees, flowers can mediate viral transmission and facilitate viral spill-over from honey bees into wild bee communities. I study how a novel transmission route through a vector affects virus epidemiology and evolution by comparing island bee communities that have been invaded by the mite with communities that are free of this vector.

I did my PhD with Phil Lester at Victoria University of Wellington where I studied the effect of invasive Argentine ants on viral disease in honey bees. I have a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Münster. My Master's research, which I did in collaboration with Victoria University focused on the effect of genetic diversity on fitness in invasive wasps.



Felden A, Dobelmann J, Baty JW, McCormick J, Haywood J and Lester PJ (2022). Can immune gene silencing via dsRNA feeding promote pathogenic viruses to control the globally invasive Argentine ant? Ecological Applications, Oct 4:e2755. doi: 10.1002/eap.2755.


Remnant EJ, Baty JW, Bulgarella M, Dobelmann J, Quinn O, Gruber MAM, Lester PJ. A  (2021) A Diverse Viral Community from Predatory Wasps in Their Native and Invaded Range, with a New Virus Infectious to Honey Bees. Viruses 13(8): 1431. doi: 10.3390/v13081431.


Dobelmann J, Felden A & Lester PJ (2020). Genetic strain diversity of multi-host RNA viruses that infect a wide range of pollinators and associates is shaped by geographic origins. Viruses, 12(3): 358.

Baty JW, Bulgarella M, Dobelmann J, Felden A & Lester PJ (2020). Viruses and their effects in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News, 30: 213-228.

Felden A, Baty JW, Bulgarella M, Brown R, Dobelmann J, Gruber MAM, Quinn O & Lester PJ (2020). Viral and fungal pathogens associated with Pneumolaelaps niutirani (Acari: Laelapidae), a mite found in diseased nests of Vespula wasps. Insectes Sociaux, 6(49): 83-93.


Dobelmann J, Alexander A, Baty JW, Gemmell NJ, Gruber MAM, Quinn O, Wenseleers T & Lester PJ (2019). The association between mitochondrial genetic variation and reduced colony fitness in an invasive wasp. Molecular Ecology, 28(14): 3324-3338.

Gruber MAM, Quinn O, Baty JW, Dobelmann J, Haywood J, Wenseleers T & Lester PJ (2019). Fitness and microbial networks of the common wasp, Vespula vulgaris (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), in its native and introduced ranges. Ecological Entomology, 44(4): 512-523.


Brenton-Rule EC, Dobelmann J, Baty JW, Brown RL, Dvorak L, Grangier J, ... & Lester PJ (2018). The origins of global invasions of the German wasp (Vespula germanica) and its infection with four honey bee viruses. Biological Invasions, 20(12): 3445-3460.


Dobelmann J, Loope KJ, Wilson‐Rankin E, Quinn O, Baty JW, Gruber MAM & Lester PJ (2017). Fitness in invasive social wasps: the role of variation in viral load, immune response and paternity in predicting nest size and reproductive output. Oikos, 126(8): 1208-1218.


  • Dr. Jana Dobelmann
    Institute of Evolutionary Ecology
    and Conservation Genomics
    University of Ulm
    Albert-Einstein-Allee 11
    89081 Ulm
  • Email: jana.dobelmann ()