Christian Pirk

Christian Pirk was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2019. As a fellow, Christian Pirk contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

Year elected

Professor Pirk heads the Social Insects Research Group in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria. Born in Berlin, Germany, he studied Biology and Mathematics at the Technical University Berlin before starting his PhD at Rhodes University. His research focuses on the behavioural and chemical ecology of social insects, in particular honeybees. He is involved in international networks with an interest in pollinator and honeybee health; collaborating with colleagues in Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Christian is Vice-president of the Entomological society of Southern Africa, serves on the Management committee of the international COLOSS network and is a council member of International Society of Chemical Ecology. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles, 5 book chapters and a monograph on honeybees. Christian has reviewed for over 40 peer review journals and organisations such as Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (German Research Foundation), EU-COST Association and the South African National Research Foundation. He provides an excellent research base for students interested in behaviour, chemical ecology, mathematical modelling, nutrition and social insects and has supervised more than 40 postgraduates. To date, 19 BSc (Hons), 17 MSc and 13 PhD students have completed their degrees under his supervision. All BSc. (Hons) students continued to undertake further postgraduate studies either at the University of Pretoria or at another tertiary institution and have published or will publish their results in international peer-reviewed journals. Christian currently involved in the supervision of 4 MSc and 10 PhD students, five of them are linked to the ARPPIS (African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Science) at ICIPE, Kenya, and mentoring two Post-Doctoral fellows. Christian serves on editorial boards for the Journal of Insect Behaviour and Scientific Reports and is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.