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Temporary Field Assistant for pollination during cherry blossom period in Herefordshire and Staffordshire

The flowering period of cherry is around two weeks, starting approximately in mid-April

During this time, surveys will be carried out every day (depending on weather conditions) to maximise the pollination observations. Flexibility in working hours is therefore required. All pollinators (including bees and hoverflies) visiting cherry flowers and wildflowers will be recorded. When necessary, species will be caught using insect nets for further identification. You will be expected to keep accurate records when recording species.

Bagging experiments will be undertaken to measure the dependence of cherry production on pollinators. The role with therefore also include bagging cherry branches with mesh bags to exclude insect pollinators. The number of flowers on cherry trees will also be counted to determine flower density. 

Field sites are based in Herefordshire and Staffordshire (approximately 30 miles from the University of Worcester). Transport will be provided from Worcester to the field sites each day, at around 8:30am. 

Agreed expenses and a rate of £8.08 per hour plus £1.13 an hour holiday pay for a 9-hour day will be paid. 

If you require more information or you have any questions please feel free to contact Zeus Mateos via email:

Selection Process:

 If invited for interview, you will be requested to identify some key insect pollinators of cherries and wildflower species that have been sown in the seed mix at each site.

Closing date: Thursday 30 Mar 2017

Reference number: ISE1703 - 3214

Job details

Job details

£8.08 an hour, plus £1.13 an hour holiday pay
Part time (aproximately 9 hours a day for 15 days - Monday to Sunday)
As agreed - anticipated to be mid April 2017 (see below)
Temporary until end of April (end of cherry flowering time)
Responsible to
Project Lead
Responsible for
Interview date
To be confirmed

Institute of Science and the Environment

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Pollinators provide a vital pollination service to many crop species, including cherries, which are highly dependent on pollinators for fruit development. Cherry production in the UK is increasing due to land use intensification and the adoption of modern orchard systems. Land use change has been directly linked with declines in pollinators and the services they provide. Consequently, there is an imbalance between the pollination services required to support crop production and what can be provided by the surrounding landscape. In order to address this, growers rely on the use of managed pollinators including honeybees and bumblebees. However, wild pollinators, including solitary bees may provide a more effective pollination service resulting in a better fruit set and fruit quality of sweet cherry.

This project will investigate the effects of providing suitable habitat for pollinators by introducing strips of wildflowers in the alleyways between the rows of cherry trees. The abundance and species richness of pollinators will be determined as well as pollination efficiency by comparing two treatments: 

1) open pollination, where flowers are exposed to insect pollinators, 

2) wind pollination, where cherry flowers are bagged to exclude insect pollinators

Main duties

Main duties

1. To carry out transect surveys catching pollinators with an insect net. The specimens caught will have to be transferred to a plastic vials.

2. To record accurately where the pollinators were seen and/or captured (i.e. the section within a treatment plot, orchard block, etc.), also whether the pollinator was foraging on cherry flowers or wildflowers. 

3. To record the activity of the pollinating insect (in flight, foraging, at rest, etc.) 

4. To bag different branches to keep the flowers isolated from insect pollinators. 

5. To count the number of cherry blossoms on different marked branches. 

6. To measure humidity and temperature in the polytunnels with a Kestrel weather meter. 

7.To determine the number of fruit set according to treatment. 

*Maintain personal and professional development to meet the changing demands of the job; participate in appropriate training activities and encourage and support staff in their development and training. 

*Take steps to ensure and enhance personal health, safety and well being and that of other staff and students. 

*Carry out these duties in a manner that promotes equality of opportunity and supports diversity and inclusion, and takes into account the University's commitment to environmentally sustainable ways of working.

Person specification

Person specification

Please provide evidence of how you meet each of the essential criteria.

Essential Criteria 

1. Degree in Biology/Entomology/Ecology (completed or pending). 

2. Basic ID skills in relation to invertebrates. 

3. Ability to identify some British flowering plant species.

4. Flexibility in relation to working time ie the variable pattern of working hours and start date of the role. 

5. Accuracy in recording field data. 

6. Ability to work independently. 

7. Committed, motivated and enthusiastic about the focus for the project. 

Desirable Criteria  

1. Experience of identifying British pollinators. 

2. Experience of ecological surveys.

Applications from Non EEA Workers:
Prospective applicants are advised to ensure that they are eligible to work in the UK without restriction. 

Prospective applicants in points-based system immigration routes should assess their circumstances against the published criteria, which are set out on the GOV.UK website at

Visit  for more information on how you can use a qualification from outside the UK to meet the requirements of the immigration rules. 

Unspent convictions, cautions and bind-overs
The University is strongly committed to the fair treatment of its staff and potential staff, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibility for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background. 

In line with the University's policy on the Recruitment of People with a Criminal Record, shortlisted candidates are required to provide information of any unspent convictions, cautions and bind-overs. Applicants are advised to seek independent advice if there is any doubt about the status of a previous conviction, caution or bind-over. Disclosures will only be considered at the point when an offer of employment is made. The existence of a criminal record will not in itself prevent you from gaining employment. 

This is a description of the job as it is presently constituted. This job description is intended to enable a flexible approach to be offered working across the University as required. It is subject to review and amendment in the light of changing needs of the University and to provide appropriate development opportunities. Members of staff are expected to participate fully in discussions about changing requirements and it is the University's aim to reach agreement to reasonable change. If agreement is not possible, it reserves the right to require changes to the job description after consultation with the individual concerned.

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