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The role of species-combination pollination systems in crop production, crop stress responses and fruit/vegetable quality

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Arnold
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The production of many key crops involved in nutrition security (especially as a source of vitamins) benefits strongly from insect pollination, e.g. many fruit and legumes. There is increasing evidence that pollination efficacy depends not just upon many visits by one pollinator species, but by visitation from complementary pollinator species, e.g. bumblebees and hoverflies, or small and large bees. The reasons for this require further research, and it is still necessary to build a full picture of how this translates to benefits for growers and consumers.
Providing multiple pollinators to a field requires either introduction of managed pollinators of at least two species (with relatively few species commercially available), or deployment in combination with supporting wild pollinators via habitat management. Optimising pollination of crops via improved pollinator species richness can result in more desirable shape and ripening qualities, potential improved shelf life and nutritional parameters, but may be influenced by variables such as crop stress.
This multidisciplinary project will explore the benefits and implementation of multiple-species pollination for UK crops (e.g. strawberry, apple), and also the possible benefits for African food security (on insect-pollinated crops such as legumes and cucurbits). In particular, it has scope to address questions of:
- comparing fruit quality, ripening and shelf life parameters of fruit receiving different levels and diversity of pollination
- heterospecific pollinator interactions on plants suffering biotic and abiotic stressors such as drought and pest pressure
- how con- and heterospecific interactions among wild and managed pollinators influence multiple-species pollination in field and lab tests, and the impact on fruit yield and quality
- habitat management interventions in the UK and Africa that will support species-rich pollinator communities to support multiple-species pollination
- the potential nutritional benefits for low-income African smallholders in terms of better insect-pollinated crop quality and lower wastage (via reduced spoilage)

For further information please contact the supervisor: Dr Sarah Arnold [Email Address Removed]

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):
Year 1: £15,009 Year 2: In line with UKRI rate Year 3: In line with UKRI rate
In addition, the successful candidate will receive a waiver for tuition fees for the duration of their three-year scholarship. Students may be liable for tuition fees after this period.

Scholarships are available for three years, full-time study from the date scholars first register as an MPhil/PhD student with the university. Applicants must meet the programme entry requirements.

For additional information about the scholarship please go to:

Please read this information before making an application. Applications need to be made online via No other form of application will be considered.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.
• In the first part of the application select the following: Agriculture, Health and Environment (MPhil/PhD)

• Scholarship Reference Number (Ref) – included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying

• a CV including 2 referees *

• academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments need to be in PDF format.

The closing date for applications is midnight (UTC) on 10 November 2019.
The scholarship must commence before 6th January 2020.

Related Subjects

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.50

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