Impacts of pesticide exposure on bees
A large part of our research has been to investigate how exposure to sublethal concentrations of pesticides (typically encountered in the wild) affects bees. We study effects at multiple biological levels of organisation, from gene function to bee physiology, behaviour and foraging performance and how together this translates to impacts on colony development and fitness.
Using bumblebees and a focal study system, our projects have included looking at the effects of pesticide exposure on:
1) Gene expression
2) Brain development
3) Body temperature
4) Locomotory behaviours, including flight
5) Learning behaviours
5) Foraging performance & choices
6) Colony development & fitness
This work has influenced how organisations such as the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) consider pesticide risk.