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School of Geography

Jennifer Lowery Jennifer Lowery

Contact details

School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK



Project title

The fate and toxicity of neonicotinoids in river ecosystems

Project overview

Neonicotinoids are a novel and highly popular type of insecticide commonly used in agriculture. They were originally believed to have minimal impact on non-target organisms but recent research on the collapse of bee colonies worldwide has shown that this may not be the case.

Additionally, regulatory ecotoxicological studies tend to focus on just one chemical or one species, but organisms are often exposed to multiple chemicals in rivers simultaneously. Studies also tend to focus purely on direct toxicity, and don’t account for toxicity that may be caused indirectly via changes to the community structure and food web processes.

Therefore, my project aims to analyse how neonicotinoids interact in mixtures with other common agricultural chemicals, and to see what effects they may cause at a community level in aquatic ecosystems.


  1. Investigate whether changes in temperature alter the degradation and resulting toxicity of neonicotinoids to aquatic organisms.
  2. Determine whether neonicotinoids interact synergistically or antagonistically with a range of common agricultural chemicals.
  3. Conduct chronic outdoor mesocosm studies on aquatic communities to determine if/how neonicotinoids alter species composition and abundance.
  4. Calculate predicted concentrations of neonicotinoids using EU regulatory models and compare these results to concentrations and endpoints generated during this study.



  • University Research Scholarship

Short Curriculum Vitae


  • MSc Environmental Science and Management (Distinction), University of York (2012 – 2013)
  • BSc Hons Environmental Science (First), Newcastle University (2008 – 2012)

Work experience

I’ve worked for the past few years as an Environmental Fate Modeller at Enviresearch, Newcastle Upon Tyne and JSC International, Harrogate. My role was primarily to aid in the production of environmental risk assessments for plant protection products (PPP) by using a suite of models to calculate the predicted concentrations of these chemicals in different environmental compartments.  I also wrote technical reports and dossier sections as required to support the PPP registration, and liaised with European Member States to conduct country-specific analyses.