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Agrochemical impacts on bumblebees - developing and using LD-50 to test the impact of a range of key Agrochemicals

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Brown
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The role of agrochemicals in causing insect declines, and particularly bee declines, remains contentious. However, research on the impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees has led to their recent banning for agricultural use across Europe. The regulation of agrochemicals relies on a range of impact tests, with a key test being the use of LD-50 experiments. However, while there are ~20,000 species of bee, most LD-50 approaches have used honey bees as a proxy for the broader bee assemblage. This project will focus on developing and using LD-50 and related approaches to test the impact of a range of key agrochemicals, both singly and together, on bumble bees.
This studentship is part of the PoshBee project - a recently funded EU H2020 Consortium to study Bee Health and Sustainable Pollination. As such, the student will interact with a range of partners, from companies to conservation charities, and will be expected to collaborate across the consortium. Direct supervision for this studentship will be provided by Professor Mark J F Brown at Royal Holloway University of London, a leading expert in the impacts of agrochemicals and pathogens on bees.
The ideal applicant for this project will have a strong background in ecotoxicology and entomology. They should be dynamic, driven, and enthusiastic about the research area. They will be expected to work closely with a second PhD student, as well as being able to work independently. At Royal Holloway they will be part of the Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour, a thriving and dynamic research group.

Applicants are expected to have or be in receipt of a minimum of a 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in biology prior to the start of a project. For further information, please contact Professor Mark Brown ([Email Address Removed]).

Please send your 2-page CV and 1-page cover letter (detailing why you would like this position and why you are appropriate for it) to [Email Address Removed]. Interviews are scheduled for 30 July-4 August 2018, so if you have not heard from us before then, please assume you have not been successful on this occasion. The project will begin in September 2018.

Research pages

Funding Notes

This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme unde grant agreement No. 773921


Siviter H, Koricheva J, Brown MJF, Leadbeater E (2018) Quantifying the impact of pesticides on learning and memory in bees. Journal of Applied Ecology in press
Baron GL, Jansen VAA, Brown MJF*, Raine NE* (2017) Pesticide reduces bumblebee colony initiation and increases probability of population extinction. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1:1308-1316
Baron GL, Raine NE, Brown MJF (2017) General and species-specific impacts of a neonicotinoid insecticide on the ovary development and feeding of wild bumblebee queens. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20170123
Brown MJF et al. (2016) A horizon scan of future threats and opportunities for pollinators and pollination. PeerJ 4:e2249
Baron G, Raine NE, Brown MJF (2014) Impact of chronic exposure to a pyrethroid pesticide on bumblebees and interactions with a trypanosome parasite. Journal of Applied Ecology 51:460-469

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

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