Key Research Interests

I am an applied ecologist focused on sustainable management of agricultural landscapes.

Managing ecosystem services on commercial farms

I work on how farmers can benefit from ecosystem services in realistic commercial contexts, and how to use scientific evidence in policy and practice. I have developed methods to compile and synthesize ecological evidence and make it useful for decision-making. I use rigorous approaches to gather expert judgement, for rapid, transparent assessment of evidence, and build user-friendly models to support farm management decisions (see for example, the new Cool Farm Biodiversity Tool). I work with organisations that manage the environment, in Government, the charitable sector and the food and farming industry. All my work is focused on insect pollinator conservation and ecosystem services in farmland, but the methods are widely applicable.

Pollinator conservation and use of the landscape by wild bees

Wild pollinators are important to crop production and wild plant reproduction, and most of this pollination service is carried out by a relatively small number of common, widespread bee species. To preserve this ecological function, and optimise it for agriculture, we need landscapes that support common wild pollinators in the long term, by providing the food and nesting resources they need at the appropriate scale.

I use a combination of laboratory experiments, field ecology, genetics and remote sensing to understand how wild bees use landscapes and respond to land management.

I also work on pollinator conservation from policy and agronomic perspectives. What actions are cost-effective and feasible, to support and conserve common and declining wild pollinators? How do these actions fit within a program of ecological intensification, to enhance or maintain intensive production within a thriving agricultural ecosystem? How can growers using managed pollinators minimise impacts on wild pollinator populations?

 

Research Group Membership

Dr Miriam Grace develops and characterises methods used at the science-policy interface, funded by the Eklipse and ReNature projects. 

Dr Liam Crowther works on pollination and biodiversity on fruit farms in the Brazilian caatinga, funded by the SUFICA project.

Sarah Barnsley (PhD student) works on managing pollinators in farmland, in partnership with Hutchinsons Ltd.

Claire Wallace (PhD student) works on use of road verges in bumblebee conservation, in partnership with Highways England, Costain and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Imogen Ryan (PhD student) works on pollination of soft fruit crops, in partnership with BerryWorld.

Eleanor Kent (PhD student) works on pollination of soft fruit crops, in partnership with BerryWorld.

Natalia Zielonka (PhD student) work on the ecosystem services provided by birds in tropical fruit production systems, as part of the SUFICA project. 

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