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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

 Elizabeth Collison

Elizabeth Collison

PhD student



Hatherly Building, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PS, UK


My broad interests include environmental biology and ecology and the interactions between anthropogenic activity and natural ecosystems. My undergraduate Final Honours School project studied the potential effects of changing soil moisture conditions on the ecosystem functioning of woodlice and millipedes via a series of mesocosm experiments. In summer 2011, I was awarded a Northern Hemisphere Summer Scholarship at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where I spent six weeks working alongside Dr. Rochelle Constantine on the Hauraki Gulf Bryde’s Whale photo-identification catalogue, as part of a study of ship collisions on whales. I also assisted Dr. Joanne Peace with fieldwork to monitor reptiles and invertebrates in several of the university’s forest reserves.


2008-2011 BA Hons Biological Sciences, University of Oxford (Lady Margaret Hall)

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Research interests

Project Title:

The potential role of pesticides in bee declines: Interactions between neonicotenoids and bee disease


Dr. James Cresswell, Prof. Charles Tyler, Dr. Helen Thompson (Fera)

Funding Body:


Project Description:

Neonicotenoid pesticides are applied as seed dressings and taken up systemically by the plant, therefore targeting only those insects directly feeding on the plant tissue. However, beneficial pollinators may also consume these neonicotenoids if they are present at trace levels within the nectar and pollen of the crop plants. My research will study the sublethal effects of dietary neonicotenoids on both honey bees and bumble bees. I hope to specifically study the effects of these pesticides on bee immunocompetence and consider the role of interactions between neonicotenoids and bee disease in current bee declines. I am working in collaboration with the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), spending time based at the University of Exeter and at Fera’s National Bee Unit at Sand Hutton, York.

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