Sustainable Pollination Services for UK Crops




UK Insect Pollinator Initiative Projects

The UK Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI) is a joint venture between five organisations and funded under the auspices of Living with Environmental Change, a partnership between 22 public sector organisations that fund, carry out and use environmental research.

The IPI is funded jointly by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), The Scottish Government and The Wellcome Trust. These five organisations share the common agreement that there is an urgent need for action for innovative research on insect pollinators and the Initative is supporting projects that aim to research the causes and consequences of threats to insect pollinators, and subsequently inform future mitigation strategies. For more information see the Insect Pollinators Initiative website.

In 2010, nine projects were announced that examine different aspects of the issue. The Crop Pollination project is just one of these, and information about all nine projects are given below. Click on the project title to open a pdf of its promotional leaflet.

1. Sustainable pollination services for UK crops (PDF 238KB)

Led by , University of Leeds.

A project that aims to determine which wild and managed pollinators contribute to crop pollination, and whether a lack of pollinators will affect crop productivity in the UK.

2. Linking agriculture and land use change to pollinator populations (PDF 164KB)

Led by , University of Leeds.

A project that aims to examine the most likely causes of declines on both pollinators and wildflowers. It will use historical datasets and national data to examine the importance of land use change and the structure of the British landscape to determine whether pollinator declines are driving flower losses or vice versa.

3. Modelling systems for managing bee disease: the epidemiology of European foulbrood (PDF 251KB)

Led by , FERA.

This project uses data on European foolbrood (EFB), a disease affecting managed honey bee populations, to model the spread and behaviour of the disease, with the broad aim of developing a system that will help to improve how we tackle this and other pathogens.

Follow this link to the BeeBase website

4. Investigating the impact of habitat structure on queen and worker bumblebees in the field (PDF 215KB)

Led by , CEH.

Using a new high-tech DNA approach, Dr. Carvell and colleagues will aim to unravel why bumblebees are in decline, focussing on how habitats are used by nest-searching queens and foraging workers.

5. An investigation into the synergistic impact of sublethal exposure to industrial chemicals on the learning capacity and performance of bees (PDF 203KB)

Led by , University of Dundee.

The researchers in this project will use radio tagging and the study of bee brain cells to determine whether agro-chemicals are affecting the foraging, navigation and communication in honey bees and bumblebees.

6. Urban pollinators: ecology and conservation (PDF 205KB)

Led by , University of Bristol.

The three main questions of this study in the importance to pollinators of urban areas are: where is the pollinator biodiversity in the UK (urban areas, farmland or nature reserves), where are the pollinator biodiversity hotspots in cities and how can we improve their abundance.

Follow these links to the University of Bristol Urban Pollinators page and the Urban Pollinators Blog

7. Impact and mitigation of emergent diseases on major UK pollinators (PDF 159KB)

Led by , Queens University Belfast.

Dr. Paxton and colleagues will research some of the most serious diseases affecting honeybees and bumblebees, using a range of techniques to assess the current and future risks to the UK's major pollinators and find new ways of controlling them.

Follow this link to the project website

8. Unravelling the impact of the mite Varroa destructor on the interaction between the honeybee and its viruses (PDF 194KB)

Led by , University of Warwick.

In this project, Dr. Ryabov and colleagues aim to enhance our understanding of the response of honeybees to viral infections transmitted by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor in order to enable selection and breeding for viral resistance.

9. Can bees meet their nutritional needs in the current UK landscape? (PDF 196KB)

Led by , Newcastle University.

This project aims to establish the nutritional needs of honeybees and bumblebees, and to relate them to how they forage for food. This will enable the researchers to identify important floral resources to pollinators, informing land managers involved in improving foraging habitat and the development of quality artificial food sources.

For more information about the funding organisations, click on the links on the home page, or visit the IPI website developed by CEH here.

© 2018 University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AR.  Content on this site is maintained by