Quantifying the impact of pesticide exposure through soil on bumblebees

About the project or challenge area

Wild bees are vital pollinators of both crops and wildflowers, and so widely documented pollinator declines threaten both food security and wild ecosystems. Bee declines are being driven by a multitude of different anthropogenic stressors including exposure to pesticides. While pesticide risk assessments are designed to protect bees from the unwanted consequences of pesticide use, they are largely reliant on toxicity assessments with honeybees. Most wild bee species are either ground or cavity nesting, and in both cases will routinely come into contact with soil contaminated with pesticides. Importantly, honeybees nest in hives and are not exposed to soil and so this potentially important exposure route is not considered in pesticide risk assessments.

In this project we will determine the impact of exposure to pesticides through soil on ground nesting bumblebees.

Why choose this project?

The project will be largely laboratory based but there are opportunities for field research at Fenswood farm. The student will be encouraged to pursue their own interests within the above framework, but the group has experience in conducting assessments on bumblebee behaviour, physiology and fitness. The main aim of the project is to provide quantitative, field-realistic estimates of the potential impact of exposure to pesticides through soil on bumblebees.

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 Sciences. Email Harry.Siviter@bristol.ac.uk.

Honeybees Co-Supervisor

Your co-supervisor for this project will be Dr Christoph Grueter, Snr. Lecturer in the School of Biological Science, email:c.grueter@bristol.ac.uk

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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