I: What’s your name, surname and role?
F: My name is Fani Hatjina and i’m a biologist and i have a phd on bees , especially on pollination and the behavior of the bees and i’m working in an institute of research for honeybees
I: Could you tell us tweet style, what your research field is?
F: My research field is honeybees, this can tell all or half.Generally it means honeybees and so it means that it’s not other types of bees or insects. When we’re talking about apiculture we’re talking about a huge field and you have different directions like genetics, behavior, physiology . In my case my pdh was on ecology and pollination efficiency. My work is focusing in three directions : the effect of pesticides on bees and their behavior, preservation and improvement of the local honeybees stocks of genetic materials in my country and the last is the health of the bees.
I: When did you start to develop this passion for this research area?
F: I knew nothing about honeybees and I mean them in particular. I knew about wasps and bees of course, and as a kid I was stung a lot ! After i finished my university degree I was interested in doing something further. I wanted to put my hands in something new that helps people and to Explore!
One of the subjects that came up at that time was beekeeping and I thought “Wow, this is very interesting!”. it took some time, I started following some seminars and I decided to do a PhD and with that I was given a direction in life.
I: When you were a kid, what did you dream of becoming once grown up?
F: I wanted to become an architect. I love architecture, i love buildings and i used to make a lot of drawings of buildings, but it didn’t happen! If you want to know what i want to do after i’m done being a biologist i want to be a gardener and i would also like to work in apiturism. In a way connecting bees, nature and tourism.
I: Tell us a research area that is the most interesting according to you
F: As a researcher I would say ecotoxicology. A direction in science where you study and measure variables and parameters that influence the variables of the environment that can have a toxic effect on the organism you are researching.
I: According to you, what’s the main threat against bees and pollinators in general nowadays?
F: The main trend is to protect the pollinators and they all face a very big problem. The environment doesn’t have the same quality that it had before and it also doesn’t provide the same amount of food so pollinators have a difficult time surviving. Not only that, climate change, the use of pesticides and pollution also make survival very difficult. Everything is linked, like a chain and if some of these parts break or are destroyed, the whole equilibrium is destroyed.
I: If you had a budget of 1M€, how would you use it to protect pollinators?
F: With that sum you can go crazy! You can invest in technology . Precision apiculture equipment, monitoring tools. But I think the first thing I would do is try to convince people, citizens to plant more trees and cover almost everything with them. To make the earth green.
The second thing I would do would be investing in companies that could produce ecological medicine for the bees, for animals and also for plants. Companies nowadays produce more synthetic and their ecological options are very limited. And then i would try to establish areas that can really attract people to apitourism ad give them knowledge and increase their awareness of the environment!
I: According to you, which scientific discoveries within your field could realistically be made in 5-10 years which could make a difference in protecting pollinators?
F: Nowadays it’s into fashion to look into the molecular level of diseases in the molecular level. It’s what we call the Omix direction. This direction and the knowledge it can bring can help a lot and maybe even bring resistance to diseases and maybe pollution.If this happens it will give a big boost to sustainability of beekeeping as a profession but also help sustain the population of other pollinators.
I: What’s your favorite insect?
F: I’m working with honeybees but my favorite insect is the bumblebee. They are so fascinating and they are so noisy when they go to the flowers. I don’t know why but some friends were calling me Bobina because I was working with bees. It’s very cute, fat, hairy and it can be beautiful for the kids to watch it fly around!