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Dakota Marie Spear


I completed my BA in Biology at Pomona College in Claremont, California, USA. I am here at Cambridge to earn my Masters in Zoology as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. I am interested in the effects of habitat change on biodiversity and ecosystem function, and the development of more effective conservation strategies. During my undergraduate degree, I researched the effects of urbanization in Los Angeles on arthropod and reptile communities. For my Masters, I am studying the impact of understory management strategies in oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia on spider diversity and predation. Spiders are critical to agricultural ecosystems, yet little is known about their role in oil palm agriculture. 

Research Group

Insect Ecology Group:
M.Phil student

Research Interests

Environmental change



Citizen science


  • Insect Ecology

Key Publications

Spear, D.M., Silverman, S., & Forrest, J.R.K.  2016. Asteraceae pollen provisions protect Osmia mason bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) from brood parasitism. American Naturalist, 187(6). 

Staubus, W.J., Boyd, E.S., Adams, T.A., Spear, D.M., Dipman, M.M., & Meyer, W.M. 2015. Ant communities in native sage scrub, non-native grassland, and suburban habitats in Los Angeles County, USA: conservation implications. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19(4): 669 – 680.