Graduate Student Opportunities at Raine Pollinator Lab - Universtity of Guelph, Canada

Are you interested in the behaviour, ecology and conservation of pollinators and looking to take on the challenge of an MSc or PhD? Professor Nigel Raine is looking for enthusiastic, committed, and hard working students to join his lab in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph.

Research topics for prospective graduate students include:

1. Assessing the impacts of a range of environmental stress factors on native bees, their colonies and populations. Stress factors could include pesticide exposure, parasites and poor nutrition – both individually and in combination (e.g. Baron et al. 2014; Gill et al. 2012; Stanley et al. 2015). The potential impacts of environmental stressors on native bees are comparatively unknown, and understanding effects on behaviour and ecology of these essential pollinators could have significant ramifications for agricultural production and maintenance of wild plant biodiversity.

2. Establishing pollinator habitat and monitoring pollinators. Opportunities could include working with farmers to design, establish and monitor demonstration plantings to support wild pollinators in agricultural landscapes, assessing the efficacy of pollinator seed mixes, the production of practical aids to support a wide range of stakeholders interested in creating and managing habitat for pollinator conservation, and involvement in a wider pollinator biodiversity monitoring program for Ontario. These projects aim to assess the current status and trends of wild pollinator biodiversity, and support sustainable ways to improve pollinator health, in the province.

3. Investigating how variation in learning and memory can affect foraging performance and reproduction of bees in the landscape (e.g. Raine & Chittka 2008). Learning and memory play a key role for bees when searching their environment and choosing which flowers to visit (e.g. Lihoreau et al. 2012; Evans & Raine 2014). Understanding how variation in cognitive traits might be adapted to different ecological conditions, and may affect how pollinators respond to environmental change, are important ongoing research questions in the Raine lab.

Professor Raine moved to Canada in 2014 to take up the prestigious Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation at the University of Guelph. Prospective candidates would be applying to join a dynamic and growing research team working on a wide range of pollinator and pollination topics in the lab and field. Successful candidates would also be part of the renowned Ontario Agricultural College, founded in 1874, and with a thriving graduate research community.

There are a number of funded studentships currently available to join the Raine lab. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Professor Raine after researching outputs from his team (see references below) and thinking about research questions that really interest them. Applications will be assessed as they arrive and continue until positions are filled. If interested in applying, please email your c.v. (including contact information for references), a short statement of research interests, and a 1-page covering letter to

Representative Publications include:

Baron GL, Raine NE, Brown MJF (2014). Impact of chronic exposure to a pyrethroid pesticide on bumblebees and interactions with a trypanosome parasite. Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 460-469.

Evans LJ, Raine NE (2014). Foraging errors play a role in resource exploration by bumble bees (Bombus terrrestris). Journal of Comparative Physiology A 200: 475-484.

Gill RJ, Ramos-Rodriguez O, Raine NE (2012). Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees. Nature 491: 105-108.

Lihoreau M, Raine NE, Reynolds AM, Stelzer RJ, Lim KS, Smith AD, Osborne JL, Chittka L (2012). Radar tracking and motion-sensitive cameras on flowers reveal the development of pollinator multi-destination routes over large spatial scales. PLoS Biology 10: e1001392.

Raine NE, Chittka L (2008). The correlation of learning speed and natural foraging success in bumble-bees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 275: 803-808.

Stanley DA, Garratt MPD, Wickens JB, Wickens VJ, Potts SG, Raine NE (2015). Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure impairs crop pollination services provided by bumblebees. Nature 528: 548-550.

A full list of publications can be found here:

Professor Nigel Raine
Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation
School of Environmental Sciences
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario
Canada N1G 2W1

Tel: ++1 519 824-4120 ext. 52103

Twitter: @NigelERaine