The charismatic honeybee is one of the most well-known of the UK’s 250 bee species. The honeybee is unrivalled in honey production, but wild bees are known to be more effective pollinators of many of our fruiting crops.
All of our bees make a unique contribution towards the functioning of our ecosystems, but they are struggling in the face of agricultural intensification, increased pesticide-use and the loss of floral and nesting resources. There is a growing public awareness about the importance of pollinator conservation and many are taking up amateur beekeeping in a bid to save the bees. Though well-intentioned, there is a growing body of evidence showing that in resource-limited environments honeybees can out-compete wild bees, lowering their reproductive success and exasperating their declines.
This project will use large-scale field experiments to evaluate levels of competition between honeybees and wild pollinators across rural Cambridgeshire. It will consider how competition influences plant-pollinator interaction networks and assess whether effects filter down to changes in the reproductive success or population size of wild pollinator species.
Ultimately the project aims to identify the habitat conditions that are necessary to minimise competition between managed and wild bees and to provide guidelines about the floral requirements needed for both to thrive.
Candidates should have experience of carrying out independent ecological research and conducting statistical and spatial analyses.
Where you'll study: Cambridge
Funding: This project is self-funded.
Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.
Next steps: If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Biology PhD. In the section of the application form entitled 'Outline research proposal', please quote the above title and include a research proposal.