Baptiste Schmid


Protea Cynaroides

Protea Laurifolia


Protea Mundii 

Protea Nitida

Cape Sugarbird

Protea Punctata

Protea Lorifolia


Baptiste Schmid

Ph.D. student


Research and current projects

Research interests
I am fascinated by the complex interactions among ecosystem entities and evolutionary forces. Global warming and other human impacts on ecosystems call for a better understanding of the resilience of ecosystem functions in the face of such rapid environmental changes. For this purpose, the study of spatial interactions between plants and animals, in particularly the study of pollination, is of great interest. I am also strongly interested in research on animal endocrinology, as hormones are thought to act as a link between the environment and the genome.

PhD thesis
Spatial determinants of animal pollination and plant fecundity in South African Fynbos: the Protea-bird system

Several Protea species of the South-African Fynos are thought to be principally pollinated by a bird, the Cape sugarbird (Promerops cafer). The interaction between neighboring plant individuals affect the resource availability which in turn influence the nectar production. During my PhD, I will test the effects of the floral morphology and nectar availability on the movement and foraging behavior of the Cape sugarbird (1). Further, I will test the efficiency of the Cape sugarbird as pollen vector for several Protea species (2). Finally, I will examine how the variation in the fecundity of the studied Protea species is influenced by the floral traits, nectar landscapes and pollen deposition of the Cape sugarbird (3)
I am working under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese and Dr. Matthias Schleuning. The project is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Frank Schurr, Henning Nottebrock and Dr. Jörn Pagel at the University of Potsdam, with Prof. Dr. Karen Elser at the University of Stellenbosch, and with Dr. Anthony G. Rebelo and Dr. Phoebe Barnard at the South African National Biodiversity Institute in Cape Town.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (SCHU 2259/3-1 and SCHL 1934/1-1) and is supported by the research funding programme "LOEWE – Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz" of Hesse's Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts.


Schmid B., Nottebrock H., Esler K. J., Pauw A., Böhning-Gaese K., Schurr F., Schleuning M. (2012) Effects of species traits on Protea-pollinator interactions. Poster presentation, 42nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ) in Lüneburg (Germany), 10 – 14 September 2012

Schmid B., Nottebrock H., Esler K. J., Pauw A., Böhning-Gaese K., Schurr F., Schleuning M. (2012) Sugarbushes and Sugarbirds: a delicate win-win relationship in South African fynbos? Oral presentation, Fynbos Forum in Cape St-Francis (South Africa), 17 – 19 July 2012

Schmid B., Nottebrock H., Pagel J., Esler K. J., Böhning-Gaese K., Schleuning M., Schurr F. (2011) The Protea-Bird Project: Spatial determinants of animal pollination and plant fecundity in South African Fynbos. Poster presentation, Fynbos Forum in Still Bay (South Africa), 31 May – 3 June 2011

Peer-reviewed publications
Schmid B., Tam-Dafond L., Jenni-Eiermann S., Arlettaz R., Schaub M., Jenni L. (2013). Modulation of the adrenocortical response to acute stress with respect to brood value, reproductive success and survival in the Eurasian hoopoe. Oecologia, DOI 10.1007/s00442-013-2598-7

Schmid B., Chastel O., Jenni L. (2011). The prolactin response to an acute stressor in relation to parental care and corticosterone in a short-lived bird, the Eurasian hoopoe. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 174, 22-29.

Phone: +49 (0)69 7542 1889

University of Potsdam
University of Stellenbosch
South African National Biodiversity Institute

Other links
Schweizerische Vogelwarte

Protea Compacta  Protea Compacta  Protea Repens