CREATING A SCIENCE-DRIVEN SOLUTION TO IMPROVE THE YIELD OF COMMERCIAL BEEKEEPING
We typically think of the phrase “ripped from the headlines” when referring to movies or books, but for Dr. Fiona Edwards Murphy, the news of the moment ended up informing her Ph.D. research and, ultimately, a business. “During university, I got involved with the embedded systems network and fell in love with wireless sensor networks and the Internet of Things,” recalls Edwards Murphy, who completed her undergraduate degree in electrical and electronic engineering at University College Cork, Ireland. “I wanted to pursue a Ph.D., but there wasn’t a topic that set my world on fire. At the time—2012 and 2013—I saw how everyone was panicking about colony collapse disorder, and I wondered if anyone had looked into putting sensors into beehives. A little bit of research showed there had been some work in the area but nothing extensive, so I decided to focus my Ph.D. there.”
Colony collapse disorder is exactly what it sounds like: the collapse of honeybee colonies. Bees are the only insect pollinators that humans can manage on a commercial scale and are used to pollinate a variety of crops that contribute a huge portion of the nutritious part of our diet, such as almonds, avocados, and blueberries. According to Edwards Murphy, honeybees provide around US$174 billion of pollination to the world each year, so loss of the insects or of beekeepers, who leave the industry because of difficulties managing their colonies and maintaining profitability, creates a significant challenge to our well-being.
Read more about it on IEEE Xplore Digital Library.