Malena, Sibaja Leyton

PhD Student


PhD Subject: “Using citizen sciences to monitor pollinator health in developing countries”

In recent decades, research in conservation biology and ecosystem services has increasingly relied on citizen science programs. These allow the compilation, on a large spatio-temporal scale, of data on the abundance and/or diversity of species as well as on human activities and human-nature interactions. These citizen science programs can now rely on new technologies for collecting and sharing information, and for analyzing large data sets, which are in full development. New ways are therefore being open to increase transparency between actors in order to promote changes in practices and innovations that preserve and enhance these common goods.
Global concerns about honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony mortality have encouraged the development of citizen science programs to monitor colony losses in recent years. However, several regions around the world are missing among the existing international programs, particularly Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. In response to these gaps, the Latin American consortium SOLATINA has developed its own bee monitoring program in the region since 2016. A unified questionnaire on bee colony losses has been adapted to the climatic conditions of the region and includes other types of beekeeping activities, such as meliponiculture.
The objective of this thesis project is twofold: (1) to investigate potential biotic and abiotic influences on honey bee colony mortality and management practices of producers in Latin America through the continuation of the citizen science program and the processing of data collected in the region; (2) to develop a similar program in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This PhD is funded by the IRD’s PhD grant program called ARTS.