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Name of scholarship/program

Keeping the bees buzzing in farms: increasing effectiveness and longevity of pollen and nectar mixtures for agricultural environmental stewardship schemes

Important description
The Environmental Stewardship schemes encourage the planting of pollen and nectar seed mixes within the agricultural landscape to promote healthy populations of beneficial insect species, in particular pollinators (Natural England, 2010). While this approach has been generally successful at increasing numbers of beneficial insects on farms (e.g. Blake et al. 2011), the performance of seed mixtures can be extremely variable across locations and years. Recent studies in natural systems have shown that increasing within species genetic diversity in plants can increase resilience and performance of multi-species communities (Booth & Grime 2003; Hughes et al. 2008), and determine the outcome of plant-insect interactions (Whitham 2006; Tétard-Jones 2007). This project aims to improve reliability and performance of pollinator seed mixtures by incorporating multiple varieties of a key pollinator species (red clover) and assessing plant-plant and plant-pollinator interactions. The project will involve establishing glasshouse and small plot experiments and the assessment of plant traits and pollinator visits. We will also use molecular techniques to establish population genetic structure of red clovers in commercially available and utilized mixtures. The aim is to collect data that can be used in the development of individual based network models to inform us about the emergent properties of plant-pollinator communities.

Eligibility and other criteria
If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work with this supervisor will be considered.

Application deadline
*Applications accepted all year round

Additional information, and important URL
To apply online see: www.ls.manchester.ac.uk/phdprogrammes

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