Job description related to the PhD position on NEOPOLL
Affiliation, working environment and supervision
The candidate will be situated at CEES and AQUA, Department of Biosciences (IBV) at the University of Oslo, and will mainly be supervised by Anders Nielsen (CEES) and Katrine Borgå (AQUA). The project also includes close collaboration with researchers from AQUA (Merete Grung), the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) (Bert van Bavel), the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research at the University of Reading, UK (Michael Garratt) and from NUI Gallway IR (Dara Stanley). During the PhD period, the candidate will be expected to spend some time at the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research in Reading, conducting experiments in pollinator exclusion cages under the supervision of M. Garratt. This partner institution is a leading institute for research on plant-pollinator interactions in general and crop pollination in particular. M. Garratt has extensive experience in conducting experiments to answer question related to effects of external drivers (here neonicotinoid exposure) on crop pollinators and pollination. A research stay here will provide valuable additional experience and training for the candidate, as well as an opportunity to obtain an extended international network. It is also expected that the candidate will participate in the development of laboratory procedures for analysing thiamethoxan exposure from nectar and pollen and pesticide accumulation in bumblebee honey, larvae and workers at NIVA (in Oslo).
The PhD project will use three different approaches to assess how thiamethoxan and temperature may affect bumblebees and the ecosystem service they provide. First, it will use laboratory experiments to monitor individual learning, search behaviour and flower handling under different pesticide exposure levels. These experiments will be conducted under different climate conditions (temperatures) to see whether the negative effects of the pesticide changes with temperature. Second, it will use a semi-field experiment focusing on population dynamics (individual foraging behaviour, survival and colony development). The bumblebees will be chronically exposed to different pesticide doses while allowed to forage outdoors in natural vegetation. The number of larvae and workers produced and amount of resources gathered (nectar and pollen), will be monitored to quantify negative effects on colony development. Third, it will use another semi-field experiment to understand how exposure to thiamethoxan through plants grown from treated seeds affect bumblebee foraging (number of visits per flower). Crop yield (fruit- and seed set and seed quality (weight)) will also be assessed to quantify the indirect effects of thiamethoxan on pollination service. In addition, it will develop laboratory procedures for analysing thiamethoxan exposure from nectar and pollen and pesticide accumulation in bumblebee honey, larvae and workers.