Hannah Feltham

PhD Research Student

MSc International Development:Environment and Development, University of Manchester (2010)
BSc Geography and Biology, University of Liverpool (2009)

Supervisor: Professor Dave Goulson (University of Sussex)

Start Date: 1st October 2010
fax: +(44) 1786 467843
email: Hannah Feltham

Research Project

Factors Influencing Pollination Limitation and Yield

My research is looking at the pollination services provided by bumblebees and other pollinators, with particular focus on the soft fruit industry.  By volume over a third of global crops are dependent on pollination, with 84% of European crops being at least partially dependent on animal pollination of some kind.  

Bumblebees because of their size and ‘furry’ bodies are particularly good pollinators yet there is concern over their declining population.  A farmer growing insect-pollinated crops has three options:

a) Do nothing and hope that there are enough wild pollinators;

 b) Buy in commercial bee nests; or

 c) Boost wild pollinator populations through providing additional resources for pollinator’s e.g wildflower strips.

It is important to understand both the economic and environmental the costs and benefits associated with each of these choices in order to allow farmers can make the most informed decisions about how to manage the pollination of their crops.

The main aims of this study are to examine some of the factors that might currently influence pollination limitation at soft fruit farms in Scotland and to explore what strategies can be used to better manage both wild and commercial bees in order to maximise yields and increase diversity.

1.  How important are wild pollinator to the production of soft fruits?

2.  How do landscape factors influence the abundance and diversity of pollinators visiting crops?

3. Can the number of pollinators on crops be increased by sowing wildflower strips nearby?

4.  What impacts do field realistic doses of commonly used pesticides have on bumblebee foraging behaviour and colony success?

5.  How frequent is wax moth predation of bumblebee nests, and can wax moth predation of commercial bumblebee nests be reduced?

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