PhD subject: “Honey bee ecology – Identifying early-warning indicators of colony collapse”
My PhD project aims to develop and use information and telecommunication technologies (ICT) as automatic monitoring of honey bee colony dynamics in order to (1) understand mechanisms underlying winter mortality risk and to (2) identify early-warning indicators that could help beekeepers limiting colony losses and related economic deficits. I carry out field experiments (combining traditional field observations with automated systems using low-cost sensors developed within the project to track bee colony dynamics in continue and in real time) in various sites distributed along a gradient in landscape complexity (agriculture, urban and semi-natural) and a climat gradient (France, Germany, Greece). Field data will be associated with mechanistic models to assess the risk of colony mortality and to identify early-warning indicators.
The final goals are (i) to improve knowledge on honey bee ecology (ii) to analyse the effect of environmental pressures on bee mortalities, and (iii) to derivate decision-support tools for beekeepers to sustain their professional activities.
My PhD project is part of a European Era-Net ICT-AGRI-FOOD project in close collaborations with the University of Würzburg – Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology (Germany) and the Hellenic Agricultural Organization « DEMETER » – Department of Apiculture (Greece).