How does exposure to multiple anthropogenic stressors influence bumblebee behaviour?

About the project or challenge area

Bumblebees can visit thousands of flowers a day in an everchanging floral market place. They have to learn how to locate, identify and handle rewarding flowers, and consequently their foraging efficiency improves with time. However, exposure to certain anthropogenic stressors (e.g. pesticides, pathogens, etc) can influence bee cognition, which can have downstream consequences for their foraging ability. What is more, bees are likely to be simultaneously exposed to multiple stressors, which may result in negative synergistic interactions.

In this project we will investigate how exposure to multiple anthropogenic stressors (e.g. pesticides, poor nutrition, climate change) influences bumblebee behaviour. The project can be either laboratory or field based and the student will be encouraged to drive the specific research question they are interested in. For example, does simultaneous exposure to poor nutrition and pesticides influence bee learning? Are bees exposed to higher temperatures and pesticides less likely to find their nest? The project would suit a candidate interested in both animal behaviour and conservation. All the training required will be carried out by the PI.

Why choose this project?

This is a pre-defined project that could be conducted by the student but the supervisor is also keen for the student to develop their own idea within the framework above.

About you

No prior experience is required for this project but a desire to develop skills in experimental design, statistical analysis and report writing are essential.

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Admissions Statement (PDF, 188kB)Please note that this is an advertised project, which means you only have to complete Section A of the Research Statement

This project is not funded, for further details please use this link.

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.

Biological Science Supervisor

Your supervisor for this project will be Dr Harry Siviter, Lecturer in the School of Biological Science, email

Honeybees Co-Supervisor

Your Co-Supervisor for this project will be Dr Christoph Grueter, Snr. Lecturer in the School of Biological Science,

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Environmental Change theme is a vibrant community of researchers who integrate expertise across multiple disciplines to provide the evidence base and solutions to tackle the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Find out more about the Environmental Change research theme.

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