Beth is a Research Fellow working on pollinator research at Prof. Dave Goulson’s lab at the University of Sussex. She has been studying how solitary bees are affected by exposure neonicotinoid pesticides. The majority of research on neonics has so far focused on just two species of bee, the domesticated honeybee (Apis mellifera) and the Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) that is reared for its pollination services by the food industry. There are however over 250 species of bee in the UK and the majority of these, around 225 species, are solitary bees. They provide us with vital pollination services for crops and wild plants but have received little attention from the regulatory bodies which test the safety of pesticides applied to our food.
Beth’s is currently working with urban growers on a citizen science project – Team PollinATE – looking at the importance of pollinators for urban food production in the UK and India. A fifth of the world’s food is grown in urban areas, but we know very little about how it is produced. She is working with growers to understand:
- Which insects pollinate crops grown in urban areas
- How much food small urban growing spaces can provide
- Which are the most common pests and how they can be controlled
Beth has been doing outreach work in schools to raise awareness of her work and she helped found the The Buzz Club, a citizen science club set up to involve people in research, finding out more about pollinators and what can be done to help them.
Beth is a passionate advocate of an interdisciplinary approach to learning and of communicating the benefits of careers in science. We worked with Beth to raise awareness about her research and to create work for the Lost & Found exhibitions.
We’re supporting her work through our Ecology Cards