The effects of stress on functioning and dynamics of bee colonies

Theme: Biodiversity, Ecology & Conservation

Primary Supervisor:

Vincent Jansen

School of Biological Sciences, RHUL

Vincent Jansen's Profile Picture

Secondary Supervisor:

Mark Brown

School of Biological Sciences, RHUL

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Project Description:

Natural pollinator populations are declining globally. However, the cause of these declines remains unresolved, with many potential candidates being proposed. In previous work we have shown how mild stress put on individual bees can cause colonies to fail. Stress reduces colony function, presumably through impacts on cooperative behaviour within the colony (through foraging, thermoregulation etc.), leading to colony failure.

This project allows you to investigate how colonies respond to stress and how this affects fitness for a range of stress levels and different sources of stress (disease, pesticides etc).

The project provides the opportunity to use both empirical work, using colonies of bumblebees, and theoretical work, through building models of colony dynamics. The experimental component can be used to parametrise and validate the mathematical models. Results will elucidate colony declines, and inform management strategies to mitigate them.

Policy Impact of Research:

This research will contribute to the formulation and implementation of policy decisions to mitigate pollinator decline, and the effects of bee diseases, landscape and pesticide use on pollinator decline.

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