Reading: Postdoc Pollination Ecology

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Human Resources

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Pollination ecology)

Employing unit: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development

Start date: 10 January 2011 (or soon after) Closing date: 19 November 2010 Interview date: 6 & 7 December 2010 Reference number: RS10052

Post type: full-time, fixed-term Pay grade: 6 Payscale: £27,319 – £31,671 per annum Salary notes: Fixed term for three years

We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated Postdoctoral Researcher to coordinate large-scale field experiments assessing the impacts of landscape composition and pollinator diversity on crop pollination services.

The position will be part of a multi-partner BBSRC project which requires skills in field ecology, statistical modelling and ability to lead teams of Research Assistants.

You will have:

• • • •

A PhD and relevant research experience in insect or plant ecology. A proven ability to coordinate field teams in multi-site field experiments. The skills to collate and analyse large datasets. Track record of publishing in high impact journals.

Knowledge and/or experience of field methodologies for pollination experiments would be an advantage.

Informal contact details Contact role: Principal Investigator Contact name: Dr Simon G. Potts Contact phone: +44 (0)118 378 6154 Contact email:

Formal contact details

Alternative informal contact details Contact role: Research Fellow Contact name: Stuart Roberts Contact phone: +44(0)118 378 6525 Contact email:

To formally apply please visit or contact Human Resources, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 217, Reading RG6 6AH. Telephone +44(0)118 378 6771 (voicemail)

Visual Identity Team Section name

Human Resources

Job Description – RS10052

Post Title: Grade: Faculty/Department: Reports to: Responsible for:


Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Pollination ecology) Grade 6 Life Sciences / School of Agriculture, Policy and Development Dr Simon G. Potts n/a

The post will be as a Postdoctoral Researcher working on a BBSRC funded project assessing the impacts of landscape composition and pollinator diversity on crop pollination.

Sustainable pollination services for UK crops - Project summary:

Insect pollination, mostly by bees, benefits 84% of EU crops with total annual economic value of ~£120 billion globally and ~£440 million in the UK. Despite this importance, there is a severe lack of basic information on how diversity and abundance of pollinating insects contribute to seed/fruit yield and quality and how climate change will affect pollination service need and provision.

This project aims to provide a scientific underpinning of the current state, future potential and main factors influencing the provision of UK crop pollination services. We aim to:

(1) determine which wild and managed pollinators contribute to pollination of insect- dependent crops (e.g. most fruit trees, berries, oilseed rape, field beans) and whether at present lack of wild pollinators limits agricultural production (in four focal crops: apples, strawberries, field beans and oilseed rape)

(2) use this information to predict crop pollination deficits at the landscape scale (using habitat suitability modelling).

(3) determine whether and how climate change will affect UK crop distributions and the need for pollination services towards 2050 (using process-based and climate-envelope models).

(4) use the outcomes of the above to design and test mitigation strategies against crop pollination deficits (i.e. improve availability of managed pollinators, provide food or nest resources for wild pollinators).

The outcomes of the project will provide scientific support for crop pollinator management and support UK farmer decisions on cropping and pollinator management and facilitate the UK's move towards more sustainable agriculture.

Main duties and responsibilities

The main responsibilities and duties to be undertaken will be:

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Leading a team of field ecologists to measure pollination services in a variety of landscapes in a number of commercial crops; Overseeing flight cage experiments to experimentally manipulate the composition of pollinators on crop plants;

Collating and analysing field data ready for publication; Supervising research assistants and technicians; Dissemination of results through peer-reviewed publications, project reports and conference presentations.

Supervision received

The post will report directly to the project Principal Investigator, Dr Simon G. Potts, and will receive general guidance and training from him and the other Principal Investigator Dr Koos Biesmeijer (Leeds University). The postholder must be self-motivated and able to work independently and on their own initiative, and as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Supervision given

The post will include co-supervision of at several field assistants and technicians.


The post will be in regular contact with other project partners, particularly researchers from University of Leeds and the Food and Environment Research Agency. The post will also be required to liaise with stakeholders including farmers, Defra and Natural England.

Terms and conditions

This is a full-time position. There are no specified hours of work, but you will be required to work such hours as are necessary to carry out the duties associated with the post. Occasional flexibility to work weekends in order to participate in project meetings and conferences will be required.

This document outlines the duties required for the time being of the post to indicate the level of responsibility. It is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list and the line manager may vary duties from time to time which do not change the general character of the job or the level of responsibility entailed.

Date assessed:

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Human Resources

Person Specification – RS10052

Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

School/Department: School of Agriculture,

Policy and Development;

Centre for Agri-Environmental Research




Skills Required

Experience of large- scale ecological field experiments Statistical modelling Excellent written and oral communication skills

Excellent IT skills

Knowledge of pollination ecology methodologies Insect identification ‘R’ statistics


PhD in insect or plant ecology


Crop pollination

Landscape ecology

Relevant Experience

Track record of publishing in high impact journals Previous supervision of field assistants and technical staff


Ability to work in large multi-disciplinary projects Able to communicate results (verbally and written) to academic and non-academic groups

Ability to co-ordinate field teams in multi-site field experiments

Ability to establish working relationships with stakeholders including farmers, academics, government agencies and NGOs


Availability and willingness to travel regularly to meetings in UK and Europe

Completed by: Dr Simon G. Potts Date:5/10/2010

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