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Interacting threats placing insect pollinators under pressure (multi-stressor projects)

Understanding which of the many factors that threaten insect pollinator populations are presenting the highest risk(s) is challenging, as it is unlikely that any given stress factor is experienced in isolation. Indeed, most stressors are experienced almost simultaneously, such as factors associated with agricultural practices alongside climate change.


To fill this evidence gap we have been conducting multi-stressor lab and semi-field experiments to quantify independent/additive, antagonistic, and synergistic contributions. Furthermore, advances in genomic sequencing have provided us the opportunity to detect which factors have been placing populations under strong selective pressures.  

Our research in this area has primarily studied bumblebees and involved:

1) Nutrition x pesticide experiments where we measure impacts on colony development

2) Temperature x pesticide experiments where we measure impacts on individual body temperature and flight, and colony temperature

3) Detecting selective signatures in wild bumblebee genomes

Learning from these results we can start to map how such potential risks are distributed to better understand 'stress exposure landscapes' and thus provide valuable information for ecological applications.


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