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Department of Zoology


I am a third year PhD student at the University of East Anglia based in the Zoology department at Cambridge. My PhD aims to assess how road verges impact bumblebees. Habitat loss and fragmentation is a major driver in the decline of bumblebee populations, and road verges are often proposed as a key habitat for bumblebees. They can provide bumblebees with food, nesting sites, and improve the connectivity between ecological sites. It has also been suggested that surrounding farmland can benefit from increased pollination as a result of road verges.

There are 4 primary research questions I hope to address: (1) Does the distance from the edge of a busy road impact the overall development of a colony?, (2) Do bumblebees nest in road verges?, (3) What metal pollutants are found in the forage rewards of flowers along verges and how do bees respond to these?, and (4) What is the capacity of road verges for bumblebee conservation in the UK?

The project is working in collaboration with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Highways England. It is funded by NERC EnvEast DTP.


Key publications: 

Phillips, B.B., Wallace, C., Roberts, B.R., Whitehouse, A.T., Gaston, K.J., Bullock, J.M., Dicks, L.V. and Osborne, J.L. (2020). Enhancing road verges to aid pollinator conservation: A review. Biological Conservation, p.108687. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108687

Whitehorn, P.R., Wallace, C., and Vallejo-Marin, M. (2017). Neonicotinoid pesticide limits improvement in buzz-pollination behaviour by bumblebees. Scientific reports, 7(1), 1-8. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-14660-x