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My main area of research is on the effects of environmental change (climate and habitat management) on insect populations (phenology, voltinism, abundance, diversity) specialising in Lepidopteran ecology and more generally pollinating insects. I have also worked on the distribution of plants in urban habitats in the context of alien species invasions and currently oversee non-native insect records through an alert email system set up to detect the arrival of new species to the UK as part of the GB Non-native Species Information Portal (GB NNSIP).
A major role of my current position is to oversee the data collation, validation and analysis for the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (www.ukbms.org). I am responsible for disseminating the annual results (Annual recorders meetings and Annual reports) from this long-term and UK wide dataset and am heavily involved in producing the government Biodiversity Indicators (http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-1824).
Using data from the UKBMS I have been researching butterfly phenology to determine the effects of climate warming, and as part of the CEH led SPACE projects, how butterflies compare with other taxa, different trophic levels and different ecosystems. I have also been involved in a number of other projects using my expertise in Lepidoptera, including: research into habitat management and the effects of habitat fragmentation on the population dynamics of endangered butterflies, the effectiveness of different agri-environment schemes in promoting Lepidopteran diversity (including work on hedgerow and margin management) and the importance of habitat diversity in biodiversity conservation. I am also leading a field component assessing pollinator abundances in Wales as part of Welsh Government funded work to assess the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes as part of the large collaborative Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Project (https://gmep.wales/).
Heavily involved in public outreach I have run numerous moth and butterfly events locally and cooridnate and operate regular lepidoptera surveys. This includes several local UK BMS butterfly transects and regular monthly moth surveys at a number of local wildlife trust and University owned sites. I also oversee the operation and identification of a Rothamsted Insect survey light trap at CEH and help identify specimens from other traps in the network to help maintain this important long-term dataset. I have a strong interest in trying to promote and restore wild habitats to urban and farmed landscapes, advising wildlife management on CEH grounds and at local schools and gardens.
I am primarily an Ecologist specialising in Lepidoptera. My main role at CEH is the collation, analysis and reporting on the United Kingdom Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS) but I am also involved in numerous other projects such as investigating the effects of agri-environment schemes on insect biodiversity and investigating the habitat requirements of Marsh Fritillary populations on DTE Salisbury Plain. I have a particular interest in butterfly phenology and moth ecology, as well as wildlife management more generally with an active role in managing site grounds.
Experiences to date:
2008-present: (Ecologist at CEH)
- Collation, analysis and reporting of UKBMS
- Butterfly phenology using UKBMS data
- The effects of different AE schemes on Lepidopteran diversity
- Habitat requirements and appropriate management of Marsh Fritillary populations on chalk grassland in southern England
- The effects of disturbance and land-use on pollinator communities
- Effective methods to survey pollinators communities
- Drivers of changes in national moth populations
2007-2008: Post-doctoral Ecologist at CEH Monks Wood - investigating the role of urban environments and alien plant species on the floristic diversity of the UK and New Zealand.
2005-2007: Research assistant on a number of projects including: Changes in pollinator communites across Europe (University of Leeds) and Distribution shifts in the southern range limit of UK butterflies (University of York)
2001-2005: PhD in Behavioural Ecology (University of Leeds): investigating behavioural responses of prey and predators in fish communities in Trinidad.
1997-2000: BSc Hons in Marine and Freshwater Biology (University of Wales, Aberyswyth).
2005: PhD Prey choice behaviour in three major Trinidadian piscivores. University of Leeds
2000: BSc (First class Hons.) Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of Wales, Aberystwyth