Masters projects available
We are currently offering MSc projects that focus on a particularly timely and important area: the evaluation of novel pesticides that will most likely fill the gap left by the recent ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in Europe. These projects are advertised as part of the RHUL MSc in Biological Sciences Research. To apply, please a) read about the MSc programme here b) contact me and c) apply here
Project title: Next-generation pesticides: evaluating the impacts of post-neonicotinoid insecticides on bumblebee colonies
An enormous body of evidence documenting negative impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides on wild and managed bees has led to a Europe-wide ban on the use of these substances in outdoor agricultural settings. Potential replacement agrochemicals have already entered the market, and we have recently shown that Sulfoxaflor- a next-generation pesticide now registered in 81 countries, including within the EU- may have comparably negative effects on bumblebee reproductive success. There may be means to mitigate these effects, for example through exposure timings, but the extensive data required to identify these measures does not yet exist. The aim of this project is to start building this critical, and potentially high-impact, evidence base. The student will work with live bumblebee colonies in the field (our parkland campus), carrying out intensive fieldwork over the spring and early summer period, to evaluate identify high- and low-risk exposure periods and routes for bumblebee colonies. This project has the potential to provide an important and timely contribution to pollinator conservation, and students who have a strong interest in current conservation issues and fieldwork are particularly encouraged to apply.
Useful reading: Siviter H et al (2018) Sulfoxaflor exposure reduces bumblebee colony reproductive success. Nature 561:109-112