Bumblebee Ecology and Conservation
I study the ecology, behaviour and conservation of bumblebees. I'm also interested in pollinators and pollination more generally, and particularly in the sustainable management of pollinators in agro-ecosystems. My group uses a broad range of approaches, from genetic studies (of inbreeding, population structure, and as a means of estimating nest density) to behavioural assays to large-scale field trials. In recent years we have become heavily involved in studies of the impacts of pesticides on bumblebees. We are also involved in various “Citizen Science” projects as a mechanism to involve large numbers of people in conservation and in science more generally, and also as a means for gathering large data sets. In 2003 I bought a farm in France on which to carry out large-scale habitat manipulation experiments.
My popular science book about bumblebees, A Sting in the Tale, has proved to be a great way to build popular interest in bees and their conservation. The sequel, A Buzz in the Meadow, was released in 2014 to lovely reviews - it describes my attempts to create a wildlife sanctuary in a corner of France.