Horizon 2020 is funding the Pan-European Assessment, Monitoring and Mitigation of Stressors on the Health of Bees, or PoshBee, a project that aims to understand how a range of bee species are impacted by various environmental pressures. The project also aims to develop innovative tools to protect bees from negative impacts.
The project will span five years and involves 42 European partners, seven beekeeping associations, eight farming organisations, four companies and 23 research organizations.
Pollination experts from Trinity will lead the project, most notably former Trinity zoologist Professor Mark Brown at Royal Holloway University of London, and Professor in Botany in the School of Natural Sciences, Professor Jane Stout.
Professor Stout will direct the development and implementation of a system that will be used by researchers across Europe to study the real levels of exposure that bees have to chemical, nutritional, and pathogen stressors. In Ireland, this work will be carried out in collaboration with Teagasc and the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations (FIBKA).
Prof Stout highlighted the importance of working with different organisations, saying: “We will be working with farmers and beekeepers across Europe to establish a baseline of what’s stressing bees in agricultural ecosystems.”
Prof Stout also commented on the project’s goals, saying: “It’s thought that a combination of pressures, including agrochemicals, disease and loss of floral resources, which provide bees with their nutrition, is contributing to bee decline. We are aiming to quantify this in the field, in order to try to establish exposure hazards, and ultimately develop tools, screening protocols, and practice- and policy-relevant outputs to local, national, European, and global stakeholders.”