PhD - Crop pollination by wild pollinators | Ontario Agricultural College

PhD - Crop pollination by wild pollinators

Crop pollination by wild pollinators


The Raine lab at the University of Guelph has an exciting opportunity for a dynamic graduate student interested in PhD research on the value of wild pollinators to crop pollination. 

We depend on wild pollinators to support production of many of the foods we eat, particularly for fruit and vegetable crops. Demand for crop pollinators is increasing rapidly leading to real risks of reduced yields or crop quality if these ecosystem services are insufficient to meet demand. Managed honeybee stocks cannot keep pace with increasing pollinator demands, so we must find ways to sustain and enhance the free services provided by wild pollinators in our agricultural landscapes to support crop production. This project will assess the current status of pollination services for several economically important crops in Ontario (e.g. apple, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and cucurbits). The graduate student will determine which flower visiting insect species are consistently the most important pollinators of each crop, and assess the potential for pollination deficits both now and into the future. We will work to develop a toolkit to support farmers and producers in assessing their pollination needs within their farm landscape. This will involve identifying key landscape features and habitat types important to support wild pollinator biodiversity to restore, sustain or enhance sustainable pollination services on these farms. 

The Raine lab is a dynamic and collegiate team of motivated scientists studying diverse research questions relating to the behaviour, ecology and conservation of insect pollinators ( as part of the School of Environmental Sciences. Successful candidates will have a chance to interact with other research groups (including the Honeybee Research Centre) and diverse faculty across campus. The University of Guelph was recently ranked in the top 50 institutions in the world for ecology, and has very strong links to agricultural and food research.

OAC Academic Unit: School of Environmental Sciences

Advisor Name: Dr. Nigel Raine

Number of positions available

1 PhD position

Desired background

The successful candidate will have:

  • A master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. behavioural or evolutionary ecology)
  • Excellent written skills evidenced by scientific journal papers, conference papers or technical reports
  • Willingness to work with bees and other insects
  • Strong interpersonal and communication (oral and written) skills
  • Valid driver’s licence (the project involves a significant field work component)

Desirable skills and experience:

  • Previous research experience of collecting ecological or behavioural data (particularly in the field) would be an asset. 
  • Demonstrable interest in science communication and/or extension.
  • Ideally the candidate would be able to start as soon as possible. 

Application Process 

Qualified candidates are encouraged to submit a (a) cover letter outlining their expertise, (b) a CV, (c) a copy of your academic transcript, (d) reprints of relevant papers, and (e) contact information for 3 referees to Dr. Nigel Raine ( with the subject line “PhD position in crop pollination by wild pollinators”. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and will continue until the position is filled.