Mr Callum Martin

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My research focuses on the impacts of parasitic infection on bumblebee learning, behaviour and pollination efficiency. I am also interested in the efficacy of commercial bumblebee colonies at providing additional pollination services in commercial crop systems.

The pollination service bumblebees provide is both ecologically and economically important. It is ecologically important for the successful reproduction of wild flowers, which themselves support huge amounts of biodiversity, and economically important for increasing the production of many crop types. However, the reported decline of many bumblebee populations is putting this service under threat. Parasitism, along with several other factors, is thought to be a key driver in observed bumblebee declines.

Parasitism could be affecting the pollination services bumblebees are proving in two ways. Firstly, by directly reducing the population of bees through reduced fitness and mortality. Secondly, through parasite induced behavioural changes in the bumblebee host. Any observed behavioural alterations could not only have important implications for both wild flower and crop pollination, but also for the fitness of infected colonies and the spread of the parasite.

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